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The digital marketing industry is known for its giant vocabulary of buzzwords (I’m sure we’ve been guilty of using some of them, too, since we’re part of the industry). Marketers are constantly talking about synergy, growth hacking, and snackable content, but do these words actually hold any weight? Honestly, no. If anything, it makes marketers sound like they’re trying too hard.

If you’re a buzzword offender, here are a few good reasons why you should stop.

Buzzwords Make You Sound Like You’re Compensating

When you’re trying to explain your company’s services to potential clients, the last thing you want to do is squawk at them in buzzwords. Not only are digital marketing concepts described in buzzwords difficult to understand from a client’s perspective, but they can also make you sound like you’re compensating for a lack of know-how.

For example, check out these two statements:

  • “We produce viral content and growth hack client websites because we’re customer-centric marketers.”
  • “We create website content that targets a client’s consumers, from their interests to common phrases they use in online searches, to help the client be found in search engine results.”

Although the first statement might convince some potential clients to sign on with your company simply because of the “flashy” buzzwords, plenty of potential clients will smell a rat. In fact, they’d probably ask you to explain what all of that means—and if you can’t prove your skills and experience without reverting to buzzwords, you’ve all but told them that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Think of it like someone who has hundreds of books in their home, yet they’ve never read one. Sure, it makes them look smart, but it doesn’t prove they are.

The second statement is much clearer and introduces both the process and intended result for the client. Not to mention, it speaks to the client on their level—and if they’re looking for content marketing services, this is actually a great example of your ability to reach different audiences.

Buzzwords Don’t Always Last

Many buzzwords follow trends, which means they don’t have the staying power marketers wish they did. And even if certain buzzwords press on, some lose or even change their meaning over time. Because of this, it’s not a good idea to make buzzwords part of your daily vocabulary.

If you’re trying to sell a potential client on why they should hire you, or if you’re trying to gain a following as a leader within the digital marketing industry, the quickest way to date yourself and seem less credible is to use old jargon.

Take, for example, this list of marketing buzzwords from 2008 and direct your attention to #15: “Site Stickiness.” It’s a buzzword that refers to the amount of time a site visitor spends on your website. Interestingly, today, that’s the same definition for the web metric “time on site.” If you were to use “site stickiness” today instead of “time on site,” you’d seem out of touch with the industry (and you’d have to explain what “site stickiness” is because it’s not self-explanatory).

The fact that “site stickiness” doesn’t exist now shows how fast these marketing terms die. When you work in an industry that changes almost every day, you don’t have time to waste on words that could completely disappear or change tomorrow.

Buzzwords Are Used By Everyone

Does your company promote your work as “growth hacking” to be different from your competitors? Well, millions of other companies also use “growth hacking” to describe their work.

In our industry, individuality reigns. Being able to stand out gives you the opportunity to showcase your work without being confused for another business or professional. But if you’re going to use every tired buzzword in the marketing buzzword dictionary, well, eventually, you’re going to start looking and talking exactly like countless other digital marketing agencies and professionals.

It’s hard to be different in a competitive industry, but adopting buzzwords that everyone else uses isn’t the way to separate yourself. Instead, focus on separating yourself through your work.

As a final note, please don’t fall for “BUZZWORDS TO USE IN 2015” posts. Sure, keep the words they mention in mind, but only to know who does or doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

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