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Marketing buzzwords 2014

Posted by Randy Mitchell on September 18, 2014

I love foreign films, but I’m not a big fan of subtitles. They’re sort of the necessary evil that accompanies an evening of Kurosawa, Fellini or Bergman.

But even I admit that there is one place where subtitles would be very useful. We need them to help us translate marketing meetings.

Here’s an example. The account supervisor wants to put a project in perspective with a “word cloud,” the interactive developer thinks that suggestion is “janky” and the poor analytics person simply wants to know, “What’s the ask?”

What is everyone actually talking about? Let’s find out with a few favorite marketing buzzwords. Some are relatively new, others are classics, but they have all crept into our common marketing vernacular.


“Word cloud”
Sounds like it means: A thick verbal fog that blankets the city in hazy nouns and verbs.

Actually means: A graphic composed of terms that help illustrate a premise. Taken as a whole, these seemingly disparate words are designed to provide a contextual framework around a nebulous topic.

Usage: “Let’s use the white board to make a word cloud for this product launch.”


“Organic search”
Sounds like it means: Trying to find the freshest Brussels sprouts in a commune just outside of Tacoma.

Actually means: Search engine page results that appear due of their relevance to a term that has been entered.

Usage: “Users on Google can’t always tell the difference between organic and non-organic listings.”

Our take: The world of SEO is constantly evolving. Over the past three years, Google has adjusted its search parameters at least three times with the development of the Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithms. Who can keep up? You can when you read our blog article Content marketing: Not your ordinary web page.


Big data”
Sounds like it means: Supersized information. The extra-large fries version of data.

Actually means: A far-reaching and complex conglomeration of information in multiple formats across an enterprise.

Usage: “We need to operationalize big data to capitalize on emerging market opportunities.”


Sounds like it means: Happy hour. Meet, talk, laugh and unwind.

Actually means: Sharing an idea, presentation or concept within a firm. Getting more people involved so every stakeholder can offer his or her input.

Usage: “The ideas look great to me. Let me socialize them with the team.”


Sounds like it means: That one really weird kid on “The Little Rascals” who grew up to be a futon salesman in Utah.

Actually means: Something that’s broken or bad. Janky could manifest itself in a poor idea, ineffective resource, untrustworthy practice or inappropriate action.

Usage: “I tried uploading the video, but the server connection is janky.”


Sounds like it means: A rare form of marsupial that’s adept at stealing smartphones from American tourists.

Actually means: A type of keyword. Long-tail keywords are terms that are combined together for greater relevancy and a higher search ranking.

Usage: “We need to incorporate some more long-tail keywords into this blog post.”

Our take: Long-tail keywords are essential to search, and keyword analysis is vital to all successful content marketing campaigns. Learn more in our blog article, Content marketing’s impact on SEO.


“What’s the ask?”
Sounds like it means: A line from a Dr. Seuss book. “Before any task, Marvin said, ‘What’s the ask?’”

Actually means: What is the client requesting? A truly basic but important question before commencing any phase of a project.

Usage: “Before we discuss options, we need to clarify what’s the ask?”


Sounds like it means: The favorite party game at any drug rehab facility.

Actually means: A form of a metadata tag for social media. A hashtag is created by a number symbol prefix (#) to a word or phrase with no spaces in it.

Usage: “Campaign for #productname generates major buzz.”


“Take it offline”
Sounds like it means: Dialogue from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” “Hal has become dangerous. Let’s take it offline.”

Actually means: Everyone in the meeting does not need to be involved in this particular discussion. Let’s regroup on this topic with fewer people.

Usage: “We still need to review the schedule. But let’s take it offline.”


Sounds like it means: Remember Janky? Wonky is his slacker cousin from California. He’s not a bad guy, but you really can’t count on him.

Actually means: Unreliable. Something that is unsteady, insecure or does not function correctly.

Usage: “This flash drive is wonky. Let’s use another one.”
First 90 Days CMO Kit

I hope you enjoyed our efforts to socialize some of our favorite buzzwords. We tried to make a word cloud out of them but it turned out wonky. Or maybe it was janky. I’m not sure anymore.
If you have some more marketing buzzwords you want to share, please leave a comment below and let us know about it.

Topics: CMO

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