When you use marketing buzzwords, you sound like a moron
“Speak so that others may listen” has died in a fire
I’m going to preface this article by saying that some industry-standard terms are completely valid. When used appropriately and within specific context.
And some digital marketing agencies, companies, and freelancers employ them very well. They make key concepts easy to understand. You know who you are — we work together.
If you know how to wield the mighty pen of marketing terms and definitions, you know the power of words. And none of this is going to apply to you.
For the rest of you, please listen to my advice, and think about it.
It’s important to speak so that others may listen.
When you use marketing buzzwords for the sake of trying to sound competent, you sound like a complete hack.
And you probably are a hack.
Let’s be completely honest here. If you can’t explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, you probably don’t know what it is you are doing.
And it actually makes your job harder.
You can retain more clients by not vomiting random phrases and spinning data to look better than it is.
The biggest hurdle with marketing is selling a client on any package. Because many companies don’t understand that marketing and sales are two different things, but operate as a tandem unit.
That’s because you failed to explain to them the very importance of your job.
When clients easily know what they’re buying and how it benefits them, they are more likely to keep picking up what you’re putting down.
People like people behaving like people.
When push comes to shove — clients want results and answers. Not fluff.
I don’t put fluffernutter on peoples’ peanut butter sandwiches and call it Artisanal Cloud Server Disruptive Trending Decentralized Protein Sticky Content Bread, for example. Please stop doing that. It’s super annoying.
And people who actually execute the work you talk about executing — but never deliver — don’t like it.
To win clients, you need to grow trust. No one trusts a snake-oil salesman.
To grow trust, you need to be honest, transparent, understandable, and show competency. And be a human person and not a walking talking Forbes article.
When marketers shoot out of the gate with a crapload of buzzwords, this engenders in me an instant dismissal.
If you can’t explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, I have no interest in entertaining a conversation with you around something as flexible, variable, and sometimes unpredictable as marketing.
And that client you’re trying to upsell a content marketing package to? They want to know what the hell you’re using their money for.
Stop trying to pull a fast one on your clients. Please.
Incompetent Marketers prove they are incompetent by using big-boy words to seem better at their job than they really are.
If you know how to use industry standard terminology, I am not at all, talking about you.
I’m talking about the ‘green behind the ears’ newcomers. And the people that make the rest of us look bad.
I can spot you a mile away — smooth talkers. I’ve even hired some of you. And I’ve fired you faster than you can say Yare Yare Daze.
Incompetent Marketers make their data and their strategies hard to understand in the hopes that a client will be so so so smitten with their incredible verbage they’ll leap into a $7000 per-month content marketing retainer.
While these same incompetent marketers run off to the content mills to hire copywriters at 4 cents per word to deliver grammatically incorrect, dry, factually questionable blog articles that no one will ever want to read or share or interact with.
Then they reap the profits.
Don’t believe me?
I’ve seen some shit. Let me tell you.
When is it okay to use buzzwords then?
The term you’re looking for is industry-specific language, not buzzwords. Buzzwords are catchy, trendy, over-used, and most people use them incorrectly.
When marketing terminology illustrates and explains a complex idea in a better, easier to understand way, use it.
To better reach a potential client, use analogies native to their industry and who they are as a person.
This demonstrates competency. You’re able to take a complicated idea and distill it down to basic parts. It also demonstrates understanding of your client’s needs. You know enough about what they do to make comparisons to their field of work.
Also, don’t assume your clients are stupid because they aren’t.
Clients just don’t want to wade through buzzword salad to figure out how to increase their sales / exposure / whatever.
I’ve been lucky. I’m super up-front about what I do, why it works, how it’s worked for me, and how it can benefit those I work for. And betting on my honesty has reaped countless contracts.
My transparency has attracted clients who just want answers and solutions. And it’s attracted high-caliber agencies who want to employ what I know. Which is great.
Because it’s exhausting trying to pretend to be someone I’m not.
I’m not selling pebbles and calling it Unobtanium.
I’m selling opals packaged in Jem and the Holograms wrappers. And each time my clients are pleased. And each time they feel like they’re made a new ally — and dare I say it — friend.
It’s about time you stop selling buzzwords for the sake of sounding smarter than you are.
When you start acting like a person, clients will start treating you like a trusted resource and not a financial risk.
Special thanks to Renato P. dos Santos for his continued support!
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