16 Marketing Terms to Ban Today


B2B Demand Generation | 16 Marketing Terms to Dump Now + Bonus

A good friend, Paul Dunay, who writes the popular blog Buzz Marketing for TechnologyWrong Indeed once told me that B2B marketers are in an “Arms Race around Content.” This means that companies are one-upping each other on content.

One of the keys to great b2b lead generation content is to make it engaging for your reader. This means to use terms readers use – not terms your industry uses. But what words are the worst?

The great book, Content Rules by Ann Handley and CC Chapman, had a superb list of words used in BtoB marketing that need to go away. The use of these words is egregious in technology. They drive me nuts!

I share this list below, as well as a bonus list of common mistakes.

  1. Impactful
    nonsense word. Try influential or powerful instead.
  2. Leverage
    a noun morphed into a verb. Try influence, enhance, rely on or just use.
  3. Learnings
    a word for an idea that somehow became plural. Makes no sense.
  4. Synergy
    A snazzy word that means nothing. Try cooperation, or help, or join.
  5. Revolutionary
    A stairway to the Moon. Overkill. Kill it.
  6. E-mail Blasts
    Are you a spammer? Only spammers blast prospective customers. (Unfortunately, the marketing automation software we use has a menu titled “Email Blasts.” I cringe every time I see it.)
  7. Proactive
    The opposite of reactive. It’s pompous and should not be used. Try active, anticipate, forestall or foresee.
  8. Drill down
    A sin of software firms. Try in-depth or detailed.
  9. 30,000 Feet
    A high level overview. Doesn’t that sound better?
  10. Incenting/incentising
    This smelly one belongs to sales. Try encourage.
  11. Almost any word that ends in -ize
    monetize, socialize, etc. As the book says, it sounds like it comes from a robot.
  12. Solution
    This is the word used when you cannot explain your product.
  13. Users
    Dehumanizing word that strips people of their identity. Why not people, customers, friends?
  14. Any word applied to technology, such as
    ping for follow-up
    bandwidth for capacity
    Offline for not working
    Use words that describe what people do
  15. Overused words
    Granular
    Robust
    Strategic
  16. Mashed together words of any kind
    Buy-in, mission-critical, value-add, face-time, win-win, low-hanging – can you say bore-ring?

Remember, you are talking to human beings, not robots. Write as if you are meeting on old friend for drinks. The way you talk to her is the way you should talk to prospective buyers.

Your Bonus

Here’s a bonus for you English majors. Common writing mistakes from GlobalCopyWrite. Contact Sarah Michell at http://www.globalcopywriting.com

Public Service Announcement
As a service to anyone interested in evading the ire attached to the usage of these words, I’m providing a list. Use them at your peril. The overriding sentiment about non-word usage is it demonstrates lack of intelligence, education or attention to detail. If these words are appearing in your normal business communications and marketing collateral, my advice is to get rid of them and do it quickly.

The Top Offenders
Two words were submitted repeatedly. Obliterate them from your vocabulary.

  • incentivise
  • agreeance

Other non-words peeving the pets
In no particular order:

  • supposably
  • ideation
  • positivity
  • onboarding
  • de-train
  • de-plane
  • onforward
  • verbally facilitate
  • unpacking (as in “unpacking the issues”)
  • disaggregations
  • misunderestimated
  • conversating
  • embiggened
  • learnings
  • irregardless
  • anonymize
  • operationalize
  • Westralia

Errors in Usage
Plenty of people complained about real words being used at the wrong time or in the wrong context.

  • enormousness vs. enormity
  • thankyou vs. thank you
  • round vs. around
  • penultimate vs. ultimate
  • hone vs. home
  • momentary vs. momentarily
  • phenomena vs. phenomenon

The evergreens in this category:

  • lose vs. loose
  • chose vs. choose
  • there vs. they’re vs. their
  • its vs. it’s
    On contractions, just say them out loud. For instance, on it’s, say “it is” Or on they’re, say “they are” Does that fit in your sentence? If not, use the ones without the apostrophe.

What do you think? We love comments and people who share.

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Jeff Ogden (@fearlesscomp) is the President of the B2B lead generation consultancy Find New Customers. Find New Customers helps companies dramatically improve revenue results by transforming the way they attract, engage and win new customers. Contact Find New Customers by calling (516) 495-9350 or sending an email to sales at findnewcustomers.com.

“If more companies listened to (Find New Customers) a lot more would be sold.” Dan McDade, Pointclear.

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