Buzzword Bingo!


Buzzword ButtonIn a previous life, I used to work for a National organization focused on serving youth. I had one supervisor in particular who never met a buzzword she didn’t like. It became a humorous game amongst the staff to keep count of the buzzwords and place friendly wagers on how many of these buzzwords would be used during the meeting, with the loser picking up the first round of drinks after the meeting. To be honest, I’m not convinced that this supervisor didn’t do it just to make sure we were paying attention. I mean, how many times do you need to use the word synergy?
After I left the organization, I did everything I could to avoid using buzzwords. No longer would I ‘think outside the box’, I would approach a problem from a different perspective. I was no longer seeking synergy, I was out to build a cohesive team, and so on.
As the years went by and I transitioned into life on the for-profit side of the fence, I still hear a lot of buzzwords. However, I am surprised at how many of some modern buzzwords are either misunderstood or simply ignored because they are used so often. When it comes to your marketing, there are a few that you may have blown off that you probably should be paying attention to.


What it’s not – Gathering customers in a circle and reading them the latest John Grisham novel.

What it is – Storytelling is telling your story to your customers. Video is a great way to do this, and it really helps connect your customers to your brand – especially if part of that story is coming from other customers.


What it’s not – Inviting your customers to visit you on a particular day or event.

What it is – creating alternative content such as blog posts, social media posts, videos and more that drive traffic to your website from various sources. Let’s say, for example you have a furniture store. You aren’t running an ad that talks about your sales (you should probably be doing that too – but that’s not what inbound is), you may write a blog about how the right chair can bring together a room, or other interior design tips that draw in the user and then direct them to your website through your content.

Data-Driven Content

What it’s not – a college thesis-looking report analyzing your customers and their interactions with your website compared to your competitors.

What it is – a way to utilize the information you already have about your customers to engage them further. As an example, let’s say you have a large product line. You know that Bob is already buying product A. Bob has signed up for your email, and told you what notifications he wants to receive. You can track what activity Bob does through your content, and you know Bob also shows some interest in Product C, so you can target ads and content for Product C to Bob to increase the likelihood he will purchase that additional product.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

What it’s not – Making sure your website is listed on Google

What it is – Search Engine Optimization is ensuring that your website is hitting on key factors that search engine algorithms are looking for when determining their rankings (or the order in which the results are displayed). The higher your ranking, the closer to the top you will be displayed, resulting in more traffic to your website. While there are a number of factors such as being mobile-friendly (not a mobile version, but a responsive one), having a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and more, content is still the biggest determining factor in how you will rank in search engines.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to buzzwords. You undoubtedly have them in your industry. They are usually there for a reason. For example, look at ‘think outside the box’. While the most fashionable and trendy of the buzzwords, the logic behind this is to get you to think differently than you have or than your competition, which is a good thing.