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2015 Buzzwords and Jargon: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

[A Dialogue with Your Editors]

Molly: Buzzwords and business jargon — let’s face it, we’re all guilty of letting a few cringeworthy cliches fly from time to time. And, as the two main contributors to the Pardot blog, Jenna and I will be the first to confess: we have, on more than one occasion, found ourselves wincing out overused phrases like ‘marketing arsenal,’ ‘siloed tools,’ and ‘finding the bandwidth.’

But as we turn the page on a fresh new year, there’s no better time for marketers, and particularly content marketers, to take a quick look at some of the jargon in your marketing arsenal (getting it out of my system) and identify those that are unnecessary and those that are just downright wrong — as well as a few newcomers on the scene.

Jenna: That’s right, Molly. You don’t have to be a content ninja guru to be able to identify and banish common buzzwords from your vocabulary. Even if the buzzwords are only snackable, they’ve gotta go. Here are a few that we expect to hear a lot more of over the next year, from the good to the bad to the ugly. Earmuffs, everyone!

The Good

Molly: I should clarify here: buzzwords aren’t inherently bad — in fact, it’s a good idea to be aware of new (read: not-yet-meaningless) buzzwords, as they can be indicative of emerging industry trends, tactics, and priorities. Let’s talk about a few buzzwords that will be flung around meeting rooms in 2015.

‘Alignment’

Jenna: Ok, so it’s not exactly a newcomer, but there’s no doubt about it: the term ‘alignment’ (think: ‘sales-marketing alignment’) isn’t going anywhere soon. At this point I think it’s almost replaced the word ‘discuss’— I regularly hear phrases like ‘X and Y will be aligning on the subject of messaging before our next meeting.’

Molly: That’s a great point, I’ve heard the same thing. I definitely think businesses have begun to understand the importance of delivering a cohesive message to prospects and customers, across the entire sales process and beyond. It’s not just about sales-marketing alignment anymore, it’s about alignment across all departments.

‘A/B Testing’ & ‘Dynamic Content’

Jenna: These are two I’ve started to hear a lot more of as well. And it makes sense, your customers don’t all have the same needs, so why show them all the same marketing messages? Your website is one of your most powerful selling tools; I think we’ll start to see far more businesses tailoring the content on their websites depending on who’s looking at it.

A/B testing, furthermore, allows you to measure the success of these tailored messages in your emails, on landing pages, etc. — and who isn’t looking to put hard data behind their marketing initiatives at this point?

‘Customer-centric’

Molly: No explanation needed on this one. If your marketing and sales processes don’t revolve around the specific interests and needs of your customers, and maintain a focus on being helpful to them… well, best of luck in 2015.

The Bad

Jenna: I think we can add a number of those cliche business-speak phrases to this list: putting a pin in it, moving the needle, getting your ducks in a row — you get the gist. Sure, we may still hear those terms around conference tables, but they really have no place in content marketing or in marketing messages in general.

Molly: Right. It’s true, a lot of these terms often worm their way in when you’re writing about business solutions, but when they start to overwhelm your content, you’re going to lose your audience. You’re not impressing your reader with your knowledge of business jargon; we all hear it—scratch that—wade through it on a daily business, in an effort to extract underlying meaning in business conversations. Your content should get straight to the point.

Jenna: Right, choose human-speak for your content — not business-speak. Your readers are trying to quickly skim content to understand its applications to their situation, so keep language simple, straightforward, and benefits-focused.

Molly: And, if I could just add all food-related buzzwords to this list. No more ‘snackable,’ ‘low-calorie’ content references. Enticing your reader to get up to go scrounge up a snack in the middle of reading is another surefire way to lose your audience. Maybe that’s just me.

Jenna: Yup, that’s just you.

The Ugly

‘Eblast’

Molly: This term goes against every single trend we’re seeing in the marketing industry. As marketing content becomes increasingly personalized and helpful to customers, why on earth would you want to be blasting mass messages to your database? Trying to be relevant to everyone will likely end with your messages being relevant to no one.

Jenna: Right. The word itself is a turn-off, so have more respect for your marketing messages and consider alternative terms for one-to-many communications, such as ‘list email.’ And if you need any more persuasion to drop this dirty word from your vocabulary, Pardot’s own Skyler Holobach has a wonderful blog mini-series on the topic, starting with “The Worst Word Ever: Killing the Email “Blast” (Part 1).”

Molly: Well there you have it, folks. Just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to business and marketing jargon, but it should be a good jumping-off point for 2015. So go ahead, get all of those overused, essentially meaningless buzzwords out of your system.

I mean, don’t just drink the KoolAid, reassess the jargon in your marketing arsenal when you have the bandwidth, then circle back with your teammates and think outside the box to leverage some new, cutting-edge terminology in your ecosystem (whew, I’m done).

Jenna: Disruptive! Omnichannel! Laser-focused! Connectivity! Synergy! You’re right, Molly, I do feel better. Now let’s go cleanse those vocabularies!

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