It is always on my mind, there is too much jargon out there – in the business world in general, but also in the social media and marketing world. People want to fit in and seem ‘in the know’ with their boss, colleagues and clients in work situations which fuels the use of words that really, are ridiculous when you think about it.
My personal goal every day, is to participate in meetings, give presentations and teach without using these catch phrases. Why? Because unless you are completely immersed in the industry (i.e. buying your own PR) people do not understand what these phrases really mean.
Marketers, challenge yourself to go a day without saying these catch phrases and industry jargon.
Join the conversation
The average business owner or part time entrepreneur understands that social media is sticking around and that they need to learn more about it – but when we tell them ‘they’re talking about you already’ and you need to ‘join the conversation’ it only causes paranoia. Who’s talking about me? Oh my god, what are they saying?
Instead, show them. I regularly check in to stores, restaurants and businesses using Foursquare, and often the owner is curious. I show them their venue listing and any tips that have been added by customers and they are fascinated this goes on when they are not aware – this shows in a meaningful way ‘the conversation is already happening’. And by learning and understanding a social media tool like Foursquare, they will be able to ‘join the conversation’ without you ever saying the phrase.
I know this is a favourite in many industries, but really, hasn’t it been dragged through the mud enough already? Engage your customers, engaging content, client engagement, I was completed engaged. Ugh. How about; pay attention, be interesting, be memorable, have a genuine interest in your customers, reward loyal supporters and fix problems?
In the marketing industry I find this is the toughest one not to give in to. People wait to hear it, want you to say it. Be strong!
The concept behind this is fantastic and critical to word of mouth marketing, but the term is so overused, it is literally taking the authentic out of authentic. Be yourself when posting on social media sites, don’t try too hard to sound smart or ‘in the know’. Let some personality show through in your postings. Be human, we all make mistakes that everyone can see – accept it, point it out, correct it and move on. Have a sense of humour and don’t take anything too personally.
Other business jargon that is annoying
30,000 feet – as in ‘a 30,000 foot view of the project’. Please, just say overview. Please.
Parking lot – the place where ideas not in the ‘scope’ of the meeting go to die
Offline – we have something too cool to talk about in this meeting, so, let’s take it to the hallway and say it is ‘offline’
Viral – flu season? No, we want that video you are working on to ‘go viral’, don’t you just pay extra for that?
Organic – I like my fruit and veggies to be organic and I only consume pesticide-free marketing campaigns
Same page – or even better, let’s get everyone singing from the same song sheet
Jargon blues blaster
Here is your mission – take a made-up term, use it constantly in a work environment, and see how long it takes for one other person to use the term in the correct context. Now that’s fun. Your term – ‘snap to grid’. As in ‘finally our concept was able to snap to grid with the client’s vision’. Hilarious.
Go forth and let me know how it works out for you.