Are your marketing buzzwords hot or not?

23 October 2012

There is a tendency to use buzzwords when gathering around the board room table from Dubai to New York, but when you use crowdfund, freemium, big data, gamification, transmedia, ecosystem, mission critical, blue-sky thinking, and win/ win, are you signalling you are ahead of the pack, or is your terminology due for an overhaul?

paris hilton dubai
Are you the barometer of what's hot or not in Dubai ?

Or does the linguistic landscape of sales buzzwords leave you asking: “why can’t they just talk in plain language?” Whether you like them or not, buzzwords are used in the workplace and you do need to know what they mean and whether to use them or avoid them.


SaaS – Software as a Service is software and data accessed through a web browser, rather than being stored locally.

Transmedia – A narrative told through interconnected content delivered across different mediums.

Freemium – free software, games, that has a premium element for advanced features and functionality.

Big Data – highly complex, huge data sets (ranging from a few terabytes to petabytes) requiring specialised data management tools.

Osmosis Marketing – Using blogging, Twitter and other social media vehicles rather than traditional marketing to make a brand successful.

Digital Nomads – People who use wireless technology so they don’t need an office.

Crowdfund – sites such as Kickstarter where anyone can invest in your idea.

Gamification – A way of making boring tasks, like filling in questionnaires, more like a game.

Social Looping – growing the social interconnectivity of yourself, your business, brand or product.

Digital Curation – although primarily used in academia, businesses are beginning to curate data by preserving and making accessible important digital assets.

Sense check – when a project outsider looks at marketing collateral to ensure it actually makes sense to a normal person.

Content marketing – using content on websites and social media vehicles to market a brand, product or service.


Ecosystem – a buzzword banned in many marketing agencies, the ecosystem is the environment that a particular brand exists in.

Blue Sky thinking – same as out of the box, usually impractical ideas and heavily overused.

Next Generation – simple… means you’ve improved an existing product.

Innovation – unless you have genuinely invented something new, don’t use innovation, innovative, or innovating.

Win/Win – although there is a need to find a mutually beneficial point in negotiations, it isn’t always possible. So be mindful of the situation so as not to look like a buzzword addict, rather than an honest salesperson.

Result-orientated, customer orientated – well, aren’t all businesses results and customer orientated?

Brand Equity – customer perception of your brand gives it a certain value.

World Class – not unless you really, really are world class should you use this term.

Solutioning – It means to create a solution, and if you want to say create a solution, then say that, not solutioning.

Authentic – overuse has turned this, ironically, into a subtle clue that something is fake.

Undeniably, marketing buzzwords will always exist, new ones replacing the old at regular intervals. But, if you overuse buzzwords in your marketing material you will alienate the very people you are trying to reach out to. Plain, simple language will win most people over. Save the buzzwords for when they will really create an impact, and make sure you know as many as possible for the time your colleague in Dubai suggests a discreet game of buzzword bingo at the next industry seminar you attend.

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