Calling all sellers! Prepare to disrupt (yes, that’s one of them) your digestive tract with marketing cliches that will make you vomit. These marketing terms are polluting creative minds everywhere, and there might even be scientific evidence linking these cringe-worthy slogans to Millennials’ intense feelings of “I don’t want a desk job.” It is certainly possible. However, for everyone else, can we make a pact?
As fellow marketers and creative professionals, please kindly retire (or extinguish) these irritating phrases so we can all move beyond this “noise” that saturates our industry. You are with me?!
First, let’s be clear. “Interrupt” is really more of a business term. Describes a market condition that occurs when an existing market collapses and a new one emerges. It’s actually very similar to “Disruptive Innovation,” which occurs when a new market comes to fruition entirely. Uber could be a great example of both, depending on how you look at it.
However, when this “Wall Street” phrase ended up percolating all over Madison Avenue, “disturbance” and “disturbing” became overused, watered-down terms that essentially started to mean nothing.
Certainly, “creative disruption” could have a place, as it refers to exposing the flaws in the business model and promoting big changes in consumer behavior (in the creative sense). However, I can’t help but wonder if some agency account manager just throws out “disruptive” terms just to win a big account. Now then. Interrupt what? Isn’t it our job as marketers to change consumer habits and get noticed?
2. Growth hack
Okay, I realize that “hack” is supposed to mean “encode” in this sense (not reduce), but this phrase seems like an oxymoron to me!
Popularized by Sean Ellis and other technology experts in the early 2000s, the term was intended to describe non-traditional ways of achieving growth through experimental marketing strategies and emerging technologies. READ: This is also a glorified way of describing underpaid “bootstrappers” (oh, but with fairness, of course!) trying to unlock the key to “mass culture” (yawn).
Perhaps growth hacking was a relevant and meaningful term 15 years ago, but not today. Most marketers are expected to (magically) grow with technological brilliance and creativity because it’s our job. Sound like a lot of pressure? Well, welcome to marketing.
oh no no If her ears haven’t already been tagged by this irritating term (in what seems like “slow motion”), she stands for “Social-Local-Mobile” as if it’s some cool concept or secret to being relevant. So please don’t use this slogan. Ever.
4. Actionable information
Actionable? As opposed to “Well, we learned something today and we’re not going to do anything about it.”
I mean, am I missing something? Where do you look for “actionable insights”? Is this something people need in addition to regular knowledge? For example, if I’m comparing landing page performance on The Marketing Manager and see one campaign outperforming the other, I think I know what action to take. You?
5. Seamless integration
If you work in the tech industry, I bet you’re emphatically nodding “yes.” This terrible term is as common and meaningless as your vendor saying “we have an API” when asked “does your product do (xyz)?”.
In fact, let’s add some puzzle pieces to visually convey (because we’re idiots) that our software seamlessly integrates (throw up) with boredom and clichés. After all, we need to “scream” that every piece of our boring app actually works when it interacts with some other random technology.
And while this style of tech marketing seems terribly common (rather ubiquitous), to me, it feels pretty ironic. After all, I’m pretty sure the puzzle pieces have noticeable jagged edges. It is not like this?
Also, there is no such thing as a “perfect” integration. It takes work and maintenance to make two tools “talk” to each other, and you (the consumer) pay for it. There you go.
6. Turnkey (and everything “turnkey” in general)
Let’s be honest. If someone offers you a “turnkey”, “out of the box” solution, does it make you open your wallet? Personally, he turns me into a glazed zombie. Why? Because even if something is difficult, a brand will never admit it or sell you the “turnkey” solution (rigor mortis).
Now, of course, I understand that this term was once synonymous with “effortless.” However, since then it has become a useless adjective used by lazy marketers to describe a blah, blah, blah to blah, blah, blah. Having said that, I propose that we lock up this useless adjective (pun intended).
In fact, as long as we’re stuck on cliché door analogies, can we stop saying [anything]door to describe a conspiracy theory? It may not be reasonable, but I would love for people to coin something new. After all, the key (cringe) to creative marketing is to explain concepts in a meaningful way. That’s why “turnkey” is no longer descriptive; tell me WHY something is so simple, in an attractive and concise way. Does this sound difficult? Well, it is. That’s why creative people have jobs.
7. Content is king
Yawn. “Content is king” and “(whatever) is queen” sounds like one big gay party, but everyone is really bored with it.
It is no mystery. Live sports and fan favorites like “The Walking Dead” keep cable TV in business. After all, those cable bills are expensive! Perhaps that is why this irritating and embarrassing phrase just won’t die; decision makers in the media universe are ignoring the fact that modern consumers are stingy with their time. How else can we explain this endless sea of boring content?
Maybe I’m wrong, but here’s my understanding for modern consumers (which have ADD built in)
AWESOME content = I will only tolerate ads if they can’t be blocked. And if I really hate ads, I will PAY to have them blocked, so please stop forcing these painful pre-rolls and what looks like 10 minute commercial blocks to me.
BORING Content = I hate you for wasting my time, aka “get out of my inbox” syndrome by emphatically clicking on “spam”.
Assuming the media gods don’t agree with me, I think this painful phrase will live on.
Talking about “content is crap,” marketers come up with stupid terms like “advertainment” to make it sound like they’re solving a big cultural problem, but they’re not.
“Advertainment” is essentially just an annoying way of explaining “branded content,” product placement, or fantastical marketing in disguise. I get the concept, but here’s the rub: If you call your own work “entertainment,” you sound like a pompous fop.
Don’t get me wrong: Some marketers have managed to make advertising highly entertaining, including Red Bull with its adrenaline-junkie videos and AMC with its Walking Dead and Mad Men apps (also known as “gamification,” which could theoretically be on this list). ).
However, does “advertainment” really solve a problem? I guess so, but can we please not call it that?
In all seriousness, though, if you’re a salesperson who somehow figured out how to move product around without upsetting people, congratulations. This is an achievement. I’m serious.
9. Ecosystem (to describe it all)
Are we a bunch of ants trapped in a science classroom diorama demonstrating seamless integration (see term 5 above)? Silicon Valley seems to think so.
We hear this word a lot, especially when some “thought leader” (yawn, could also be on this list) isn’t prepared to answer a tough question in a meeting.
“Well, you see [insert CEO name here]our next step in changing consumer behavior patterns is to move the social conversation into the Internet of Things ecosystem,” said the slightly hungover marketing executive recovering from last night’s vendor spree.
Look. We’ve all been there, but the use of the word “ecosystem” is starting to feel out of control. In a way, everything can be said to be an ecosystem, including the Chia Pet they sell at Walmart. See what I mean? Germination. Photosynthesis. Whatever. And it all brings me back to where I started: my seventh grade science class.
10. Content to snack on
Doesn’t this sentence make you want to vomit? Personally, I find it nauseating, but here’s some “food for thought”: The term “content consumption” is actually the mothership concept that spawned this ugly duckling buzzword. All it means is that time-hungry consumers prefer concise headlines, bullet points, easy-to-read lists (unlike mine), and pretty much the opposite of heavy, homogeneous-looking text. Make sense.
Yet isn’t it amazing how unappetizing this hackneyed phrase sounds? In fact, I almost threw up (in a good way) when Grant Higginson of Welby Consulting tweeted it to us during our “Tweet the most annoying marketing buzzword to win a drone” contest. Needless to say, he won.