The 2015 Marketing Buzz-Meter Kicks into Gear

We’re only a few weeks into 2015, and already the marketing buzz-meter is operating at full force.

amplificationThe latest marketing buzz phrases are always interesting because, while they surely relate to trends and tactics that are taking on greater importance, they can also be short-hand references that “everyone” uses but “no one” really understands.

Consider one popular buzz-phrase example from 2014:  “Big Data.”

I don’t think I’ve heard the same definition of what “big data” is from any two people.  Yet it’s a term that was bandied about throughout the entire year.

No doubt, “big data” will continue to be a popular buzz phrase in 2015 as well.  But you can be sure it’ll be joined by a number of others.  As Natasha Smith, editor of Direct Marketing News magazine reports, get ready to hear many of mentions of these buzz terms as well this year:

Dark Social:

This references online content, information or traffic that’s hard to measure because it occurs in messaging apps, chat and e-mail communications.  Purportedly first coined by Atlantic magazine, it’s a term whose very name conjures up all sorts of mysterious and vaguely sinister connotations about behaviors that are at work below the surface – thereby making it an irresistible phrase for some people to use.

Viewability:

This term is becoming increasingly popular due to people’s concerns that much of what makes up “viewed” online content turns out to be hardly that.  For instance, there’s a difference between a simple video impression (merely an open) and a “viewable” one (opened and staying open for at least a few seconds).

More than likely, over the coming year the Interactive Advertising Bureau and other “great experts” will be debating over what actually constitutes a “viewable” impression.  All the while, you can be sure that marketers will be referencing the term with abandon.

Attention Metrics:

Dovetailing “viewability” is the idea that traditional online marketing metrics such as unique visitors, clickthroughs, and page views are too shallow in that they don’t really measure the true consumption of content.

Enter the buzz term “attention metrics.”  No doubt, marketers will be all over this one in 2015 as they focus more on the time and attention people are spending with content, not merely the fact that some form of engagement happened.

The Internet of Things:

This term started appearing on the radar screen in 2014 but is really coming into its own now.  It even has its own Wikipedia page entry.  While the commercialization of data-collecting devices such as wearable sensors and sensors embedded in appliances and other electronics is an undeniably significant development, this term has to be one of the most pretentious-sounding phrases ever coined.

… Which makes it an irresistible entry in the buzz-meter lexicon, of course.

Conscious Capitalism:

Rounding out the 2015 list – at least for now – is a buzz phrase that captures the essence of what every socially aware marketer wishes his or her company to be.  “Conscious capitalism” refers to companies and brands that are purportedly socially responsible and “in sync” with the needs of the community and the world.

This is considered important because so much survey research shows that people respond positively to companies that “do well by doing good.”

what's all the buzz aboutExpect many people to embrace this approach – and the accompanying buzz phrase – because it sounds so perfect.

[Never mind that things often come crashing down to earth if and when consumers are asked to pay more for the “socially responsible” products and services, or to make unpleasant or unexpected adjustments to their routine in the event.]

Do you have any other examples of marketing buzz terms that you think are poised for stardom (or notoriety) in 2015?  Please share your thoughts with other readers here.

Marketing clichés are all around us.

no buzzwordsMarketing can be many things.  But marketing without originality isn’t much of anything.

That’s why there’s a desire among marketers to avoid clichés and buzz terminology in sales and marketing content whenever possible.

Still, it’s easy to fall into the cliché trap – and it happens to the best of us.

This is particularly true when the “next new thing” in business comes along every few months and people grasp for shorthand ways to communicate those concepts.

[There:  Perhaps “next new thing” qualifies as a marketing cliché itself!]

Brian Morrissey
Brian Morrissey

Recently, communications specialist and editor-in-chief of vertical media company Digiday, Brian Morrissey, came up with a list of 25 marketing clichés which he feels should be avoided if at all possible.

I’ve gone through Morrissey’s list and have selected ten that I think are particularly baneful – especially in the world of B-to-B marketing.  See if you agree:

Putting the customer at the center.  Isn’t it obvious that companies and brands would be committed to this?  And if not … where was the customer located before?

Having an “authentic” conversation with customers.  Inauthenticity isn’t cool.  Inauthenticity is also what we’ve been trying to avoid for years – or should have been.  There’s really no news in this statement, is there?

We fail fast.  Perhaps it comes from reading too many issues of Fast Company … but what companies do you know that want to slowly jettison a failed strategy?

Blue-sky thinking.  The “sky’s the limit” when it comes to “out-of-the-box thinking.”  Ugh.

Nab the low-hanging fruit.  This cliché has been around so long, there can’t be any low-hanging fruit left!

Dipping our toe in the water.  Trying to put a positive spin on a lack of depth or heft isn’t fooling anyone.

Open the kimono.  Any buzz phrase that conjures mental imageries of a flasher can’t be what we want to communicate.

Curated experiences.  A fancy way of admitting that content isn’t ours.  Besides, the term “curator” hardly sounds contemporary.  Instead, it connotes images of museums, galleries and other places that deal with the dusty past.

Surprising and delighting our customers.  Morrissey contends that this whopper makes brands come off like clowns … and that clowns are silly, scary or creepy – take your pick.

Tentpole idea.  Continuing with the clown analogy, no doubt … but whether it’s a circus or a tent revival, the mental imagery this elicits isn’t particularly apropos.

… And these are just ten terms on Morrissey’s list of 25 marketing clichés.

What about you?  Do you have any buzz phrases that you find particularly annoying – perhaps “thought leadership” or maybe “exceeding our customers’ expectations”?

Please share your nominations with other readers here.