media update’s Christine Beukes reveals why marketing jargon might not be the way to go.

Every year, marketers hop aboard the buzzword train to figure out which words to include in their adverts or campaigns. Now, just to be clear, when we say ‘jargon’, we’re mainly talking about trendy terms that fall out of season — not clever turns of phrase that are often unique to the industry.

Although buzzword terminology can attract a larger audience, often it does the opposite (aka, you’re losing them, friend).

Marketing jargon can not only confuse potential consumers but, when used incorrectly, also make you sound as if you have no idea what you’re talking about. And you obviously don’t want that!

Here’s why marketers need to lay off the jargon:

Jargon is confusing

Imagine yourself in a situation where you are trying to understand a new industry just by listening to someone discuss it. For the fun of it, let’s say you’re at your first AI (artificial intelligence) conference. Every now and again you hear terms like ‘deep learning’ and ‘algorithm’ — would these words mean anything to you?

“Jargon: any technical language we do not understand.”— Mason Cooley, American wit

These words are going over your head. And that’s exactly how your audience feels. As a marketer, it’s your job to make the difficult terminology surrounding your products and services appeal to the consumer — and you’re not going to be able to do that if your content is full of words they don’t comprehend.

The best way to attract new customers is by using clear language that is easy to understand. Even when including words like ‘optimise’, you have to ensure that it actually matches up with what you’re trying to sell.  

For instance, if you’re selling a particular product that’s going to actually make your consumers’ lives easier by saving them time, you could say that your product optimises that particular activity. Why? Because ‘optimise’ means to ‘make the best use of’ something.  

And let’s face it, you can’t optimise just anything. Not everything is the best way to do something, so stop using that word in literally all your content.

It makes you exclusive … in a bad way

Sometimes, being part of the herd can be a bad thing. Especially when only your crowd understands what your brand messages are saying.

When using jargon, you’re excluding certain audiences. This limits your consumer base, as you’ll have the same people coming back to your page but never any new ones. You’ll struggle to attract new business this way.

Think of it like being at a social event and jumping into the middle of someone else’s conversation, where they’re referring to people you have never even met. Still keen to stick around? Probably not; you’re feeling lost and confused, and worst of all, alienated. That’s exactly how your customers feel.

And you want all consumers to comprehend your messaging, right? Of course you do! And the best way to do this is by making use of terms that all consumers, and potential consumers, will be able to understand your brand’s messages.

Buzzwords make us lazy, discredits our ideas, and alienates those we’re talking with. All things we as marketers work so hard not to do,” says Liana Buenaventura, writer for BetterMarketing.

It can make you sound ignorant

You know that one person that only uses big words to make themselves sound smarter than everyone else in the room? You know the one! They usually come across as condescending, and generally, not very popular. And truth is, people would be more attracted to this person if they could just be themselves.

This is basically your brand when you’re just throwing in jargon for the sake of it. We can see it now: You’ve just read up on the top marketing buzzwords you need to know this year, and you’re eager to throw some in your content and campaigns. Don’t. If you use one word incorrectly, someone is bound to pick up on it, and you’re just going to sound ignorant.

There’s nothing wrong with being true to your brand’s voice and sticking to the language that you and your audience have come to know and love. Consumers love brands that act human and that can just be themselves.

If you do want to use buzzwords, do your research first. See how the word is being used and find creative ways to use it in your content in a way that makes sense and won’t fly over their heads.

Just for fun, we rounded up a list of buzzwords and had our team come up with some interesting definitions based on hearing them for the first time:
  • Contentification: “Content here, content there, content everywhere! When content is coming out of your ears.”
  • Marketing stack: “Is this like a storeroom full of old dusty marketing materials all stacked together?”
  • Low-hanging fruit: “What comes to mind is a bit crude. Easy pickings? Not sure how they would use it in marketing though.”
  • People-based marketing: “I thought marketing was already people-based? I am confused.”
  • Move-the-needle: “*sings* You spin me right round, baby, right round like a record baby, right round round round.”
Are there any marketing buzzwords that have got you hot in the collar? Let us know in the comment section below.

Fumana ulwazi oluthe vetshe ngokuthi urhume kwincwadana yethu yeendaba.

If your brand is in a bit of a rut, then it might be time to shake things up with a makeover. You can learn all about The importance of the rebrand here.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy