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Steve Isenberg

Deciphering the World of Marketing Buzzwords

Posted on: August 21, 2019

By: Steve Isenberg


“Content marketing is more than a buzzword. It is the hottest trend in marketing because it is the biggest gap between what buyers want and brands produce.”  — Michael Brenner

Buzzwords in marketing. A frivolous trend? A necessary evil? Or might they be a valuable tool in the marketer’s arsenal? One could answer yes, yes, and yes, as arguably each of these labels can be matched to a specific scenario.

“The original point of a buzzword is to make things easier to understand,” says Ben M. Roberts, Head of Marketing at Constructaquote.com. “To give a common phrase that encompasses everything to do with the term.”

But the waters get muddied when buzzwords become overly complicated or worse, slip into a misleading mode that allows for a cover-up of what’s going on.

Buzzwords in marketing appear to be an especially hot ticket item. But before we dive deeper into marketing-specific buzzwords, let’s answer the question—

What exactly IS a “buzzword”?

“Buzzword is an informal term for a fashionable word or phrase that’s often used more to impress or persuade than to inform,” explains Richard Nordquist, former English and Rhetoric professor, noting such additional labels for these words are buzz term, buzz phrase, vogue word, or fashion word.

The dictionary definition from Random House Webster’s Unabridged second edition defines buzzword as “a word or phrase, often sounding authoritative or technical, that is a vogue term in a particular profession, field of study, popular culture, etc.”

Now, back to buzzwords in the marketing industry and a few of the need-to-know buzz terms for 2019.

  • Relevance Score

As defined by Lauren Snyder, Content Marketing Coordinator, “Your Facebook relevance score is based on the quality and engagement of your ads. This is extremely important for your business as your relevance score determines your cost-per-click and how often the ad is shown on Facebook.”

  • Ephemeral Content

This type of content comes typically in the form of pictures or videos and is only available for a short time. Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook stories are all popular examples of ephemeral content. Hint, hint.

  • Employee Advocacy

The practice of having employees advocate on behalf of their organization.

“For years, brands have been trying to figure out how to get the word out about their companies,” notes Lauren Durfy, Inbound Marketing Manager at PostBeyond. “Ads? Paid reviews? Content marketing? All of those can be important tactics, but one reigns supreme among everything else: employee advocacy.”

  • Thought Leadership

You know, the folks who stand out because they’re informed; who share new and innovative ideas and information; who become the “go-to” sources for reliable info. Essentially, thought leaders are influencers.

Whether they’ve outlived their usefulness, become cliché, or have veered too far from their original meaning, marketing insiders insist that it’s time to strike some buzzwords from our collective vocabularies in 2019.

“Bothersome buzzwords are entering the mainstream lexicon across all industries. But in marketing they can be especially irritating, in large part because marketers are so often fueled by creativity and uniqueness,” advises Sean Callahan, Senior Manager, Content Marketing at LinkedIn.

Callahan and his cohorts compiled a list of thirty-two overused buzzwords from the world of marketing. In “March Madness” mode, they fashioned a “Marketing Madness” bracket that pitted the chosen words against each other. Based on their own internal, unscientific polling, they determined the final contenders and ultimately, the “winner.”

“Disruption” beat out “growth hacks” to be crowned the winner both because of its excessive volume (in digital marketing and the tech world in general) and also its betrayal of the very concept it represents.

“We put together this bracket mainly as a way to have a couple laughs and poke fun at ourselves,” admits Callahan. “But there is also a very legitimate rationale for being conscious of our inclination to fall back on the same old clichéd jargon.”

Callahan points to an excerpt from Adam L. Stanley’s piece at CIO last year:

“The problem with business jargon, which most of us use ad nauseam, is that it’s not merely annoying, it carries the real potential to block progress. Those nifty little words and phrases may make us sound ingenious within our respective tribes (and own minds), but they can also narrow our thinking to the point where we start cramming our strategies and plans into the same universally-defined small boxes. So, just when we believe we’re thinking “outside of the box,” we’re not!”

The bottom line? Be both informed about and wary of the marketing industry’s buzzword’s saturation.

Then, go a step further and allow ASJ Partners to help you think “outside of the box” with our comprehensive marketing solutions for the staffing industry. Because our team prioritizes staying on top of the ever-changing marketing industry, we can be your go-to source for defining and utilizing the industry’s buzzwords. Give our team a call today, to check out what a partnership with ASJ can do for you


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