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An A-Z of horrible communications terms

The world of marketing and communications is full of clichés, which is why a lot of marketing people spend time trying to come up with new and exciting concepts to keep their audience interested.

The result of this is that new words are created to describe these new concepts or theories on what seems like a daily basis. It is then when crimes against the English language occurs.

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I’ve compiled some of the most nonsensical, inane and cringe-worthy examples here, but please feel free to vent your spleen with anymore in the comments below.

Let’s play buzzword bingo!

A is for – “Automagically”

This terrible hybrid was invented by digital marketing types who are trying to describe what happens when someone accesses something, a web page for example, and before your very eyes, the content is all laid out for you based on your own personal preferences automatically and magically. Yuck.

C is for “Curation”

In an attempt to sound clever or helpful, this word, which was formerly only used in the context of a museum, appears when marketers heap lots of different content or resources together for you so it’s all in one place, in an attempt to make your experience more personal. Helpful huh?

D is for “Drill down”

The worst thing about this one is, often there is no better way of saying what this means. Drilling down occurs when you are getting to the fundamentals of something e.g. “We need to drill down to highlight the key areas.”

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E is for “Enablement”

This word basically means nothing, which is why I hate it.

F is for “Full circle”

Going full circle means reversing a decision or going back to the drawing board – except that it doesn’t. Think about it, if you’ve gone round in a circle, you’re back where you started. What you mean to say is that you’ve changed your mind. Wrong.

G is for “getting granular”

Apart from sounding far too graphic, “getting granular” just makes very little sense. This phrase is used when someone is trying to go into fine detail about a subject or product. No, just no.

I is for “Ideation”

A hybrid of “idea” and “creation” that sounds all kinds of wrong. Try saying it out loud, it’s such an effort for such a terrible sounding word.

J is for “Journey”

Especially annoying when used to get someone to buy in to an idea e.g. “I want to take you on a journey”. No thanks, I’ll stay here.

K is for “Key learnings”

“What are the key learnings from this?” I think you mean, what did we learn? There is no such word as “learnings”.

L is for “Low hanging fruit”

Used as a metaphor for an enticing offer or a “quick win”, low hanging fruit is the king of the marketing clichés and is a term you’d expect David Brent to say, yeah.

M is for “Meat in the sandwich”

This is used as a ridiculous metaphorical formula for writing content like web copy or presentations: “You start with a layer of bread, then you add some butter, then you put some meat in there, then you put the other layer of bread on top.” Boring.

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P is for “Pivot”

Usually used in the context of being flexible, the word pivot cannot be taken seriously due to that classic episode of Friends. PIVOT!

S is for “Snackable content”

This treat for the ears is used to describe small, bitesize chunks of content that you can ingest quickly, and is usually uttered alongside social media. Yum.

T is for “Transformative”

Describes something that is designed to change the way you look at something through an informative approach, but actually just sounds like a reject from the Decepticons.

W is for “Wow factor”

Possibly one of my most hated terms on the basis that it is usually a step backwards in terms of a brief. It’s a lazy way of saying nothing at all, and is frequently used by someone if they can’t describe what they want. This is usually accompanied by such classics as “make it pop” or “I’ll know what I want when I see it”.

Ok, not quite a full A-Z but you get the idea. Please let me know which words wind you up below!

About the author

This guest post is written by Alex Kellett, full-time marketer and buzzword hater. Follow him on Twitter at AlexKellett15.

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