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Top 12 Silly Marketing Buzzwords

Most buzzword are irritating, but these popular ones are absurd as well.

Most marketing buzzwords are vaguely irritating, but some of them are flat out ridiculous, if you spend a few seconds to really think about them.  Here are my twelve least favorites:

1. 360 Campaign

  • Example: "Our 360 campaign will have a worldwide focus."
  • Why it's silly: If you're moving in every direction at once (i.e. 360 degrees), you're actually going nowhere.

2. Win/Win Situation

  • Example: "This deal is a win/win situation."
  • Why it's silly: By definition, you can't win unless somebody else loses. It's like when everyone gets a trophy, nobody really wins.

3. Work/Life Balance

  • Example: "We need to achieve work/life balance at the office."
  • Why it's silly: You're alive while you're working, so therefore can't balance "work" against "life."

4. Bottom Line

  • Example: "The bottom line is, we must satisfy our customers."
  • Why it's silly:  In income statements, profit doesn't appear at the bottom. Usually it's something like "cash dividends declared per common share."

5. Immersive Experience

  • Example: "Our website will have an immersive experience."
  • Why it's silly: If the experience were truly immersive, it would be like being under water, in which case you'd either drown or get out.

6. Two-way Conversation

  • Example: "We want to have a two-way conversation with our customers."
  • Why it's silly: You can't have a one-way conversation.  If it's one-way, it's not a conversation.

7. Best-In-Breed

  • Example: "This is a best-in-breed application."
  • Why it's silly: Products and services don't breed, unless your company is in the livestock segment of agribusiness.

8. Thought Leader

  • Example: "We want to be a thought leader in our industry."
  • Why it's silly: Since it's impossible to know what other people are actually thinking, you can't lead their thoughts anywhere.

9. Big Data

  • Example: "Our decision support system uses big data."
  • Why it's silly: What, exactly, makes a particular set of data "big" as opposed to "small" or "medium-sized"?  Average length of the data record?

10. Holistic

  • Example: "We're taking a holistic approach to lead development."
  • Why it's silly: Let's all meditate on our mind-body awareness! Ommmmmmmm! Hey, can I have some of your granola?

11. Value Proposition

  • Example: "Our value proposition is to sell more for less."
  • Why it's silly: I don't know about you, but for me the word "proposition" suggests not professionalism but the world's oldest profession.

12. Bleeding Edge

  • Example: "Our new technology is the bleeding edge."
  • Why it's silly: (Cue music from the film Psycho.)  Screek, screek, screek, screek!

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Last updated: Oct 16, 2013


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

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