February 5th, 2009
Be Careful with Buzzwords
I’ve been working on a Keynote deck for the past week or so about reaching people in a post-advertising world. We all acknowledge that we are in this world, but it seems like we’re less willing to define what that means. One of the things that I see holding us back is the fact that so many people are relying on buzzwords and adverspeak to come up with new ideas. “Make that viral.” Uh-huh…yeah, coming right up. “We need to create a community.” Um, why?!?
In a very informal poll, I asked my Twitter friends which buzzwords they feel are overused. The results were not that shocking but definitely informative. Viral topped the list, followed closely by widget, community and authenticity. I was surprised that people didn’t seem to have much of an issue with location-based or cross-platform. But hey, today’s vocabulary is tomorrow’s adverspeak.
As I set about trying to find examples to dissect the meaning of these buzzwords, I realized the biggest reason theyve lost their meaning is that people think of them as tactics. Buzzwords are rarely strategic. They achieve a very specific goal but don’t necessarily move a large idea forward.
Heres a better process:
- Look closely at the business needs and the opportunities
- Come up with a strategy that meets those needs and takes advantage of those opportunities
- Determine a tactic that fulfills the strategy
- Identify the best way to execute the tactic
Great post about things like “weasel words.”
Something to Think About:
I’ll come back to the individual buzzwords in subsequent posts. But for now, can we agree to use them only after determining a smart strategy?