Most marketing buzzwords are vaguely irritating, but some of them are flat out ridiculous, if you spend a few seconds to really think about them. Here are my twelve least favorites:
1. 360 Campaign
- Example: “Our 360 campaign will have a worldwide focus.”
- Why it’s silly: If you’re moving in every direction at once (i.e. 360 degrees), you’re actually going nowhere.
2. Win/Win Situation
- Example: “This deal is a win/win situation.”
- Why it’s silly: By definition, you can’t win unless somebody else loses. It’s like when everyone gets a trophy, nobody really wins.
3. Work/Life Balance
- Example: “We need to achieve work/life balance at the office.”
- Why it’s silly: You’re alive while you’re working, so therefore can’t balance “work” against “life.”
4. Bottom Line
- Example: “The bottom line is, we must satisfy our customers.”
- Why it’s silly: In income statements, profit doesn’t appear at the bottom. Usually it’s something like “cash dividends declared per common share.”
5. Immersive Experience
- Example: “Our website will have an immersive experience.”
- Why it’s silly: If the experience were truly immersive, it would be like being under water, in which case you’d either drown or get out.
6. Two-way Conversation
- Example: “We want to have a two-way conversation with our customers.”
- Why it’s silly: You can’t have a one-way conversation. If it’s one-way, it’s not a conversation.
- Example: “This is a best-in-breed application.”
- Why it’s silly: Products and services don’t breed, unless your company is in the livestock segment of agribusiness.
8. Thought Leader
- Example: “We want to be a thought leader in our industry.”
- Why it’s silly: Since it’s impossible to know what other people are actually thinking, you can’t lead their thoughts anywhere.
9. Big Data
- Example: “Our decision support system uses big data.”
- Why it’s silly: What, exactly, makes a particular set of data “big” as opposed to “small” or “medium-sized”? Average length of the data record?
- Example: “We’re taking a holistic approach to lead development.”
- Why it’s silly: Let’s all meditate on our mind-body awareness! Ommmmmmmm! Hey, can I have some of your granola?
11. Value Proposition
- Example: “Our value proposition is to sell more for less.”
- Why it’s silly: I don’t know about you, but for me the word “proposition” suggests not professionalism but the world’s oldest profession.
12. Bleeding Edge
- Example: “Our new technology is the bleeding edge.”
- Why it’s silly: (Cue music from the film Psycho.) Screek, screek, screek, screek!
About The Author //
GEOFFREY JAMES writes “Sales Source on Inc.com,” the world’s most-read sales-oriented blog. His new book, Business Without the Bullsh*t, will be published in early 2014