Ban the Strategic Buzzwords

We’ve all been there.  A meeting is called to discuss marketing strategy, and the result is a carefully crafted value proposition, brand promise or campaign strategy that is nothing more than a series of carefully connected buzzwords:

Our commitment to excellence provides exceptional value to our customers.

Our innovative product design and best-in-class sales team provide service and quality that exceed any customer’s need.

We are driven to provide the best customer service in the industry.

Trust and confidence built on a history of innovation.

Our people make the difference.

We do the right thing.

Who wouldn’t say they do the right thing?  What company doesn’t believe they are committed to excellence? How many organizations try to claim that their people are different and better than everyone else?   Are these referring to a bank, a car or a box of cereal?  These statements satisfy everyone but inspire no one.

To develop a more powerful marketing strategy, first understand what your customers truly want, and then articulate how you solve that problem or address that need better than anyone else.  If you ban the top 10 buzzwords from your strategy meetings, you are one step closer to a relevant and inspiring statement that will set you apart in the marketplace.

Here are my nominees for the top 10 marketing buzzwords.

  • Best-in-Class
  • Commitment
  • Customer-Focused
  • Expertise
  • Innovation
  • Integrity
  • People
  • Quality
  • Trust
  • Value

What buzzwords are on your list?



Filed under Branding, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Ban the Strategic Buzzwords

  1. Emily R.

    “Valuable value-added value propositions” really get to me. It’s amazing! They’re really one-of-a-kind! You haven’t seen anything like it anywhere! (There’s something really special here.)

    This is a very interesting topic. I think several of your top 10 are things we hope for when we interact with a brand in the first place – commitment, integrity, trust, *value*, quality.

    When buzzwords are the basics of your business – operating as truly customer driven, focused, innovative and de rigueur – your business speaks for itself.

  2. It’s important not overuse words or to use them in a trite, meaningless manner. But as a copywriter, I say it’s pretty hard to communicate points without some of these words. I challenge all marketers to come up with alternatives for such clear, concise words as “quality” and “value.” If you’re talking about tag lines, that’s one thing. But in body copy it’s pretty tough eliminate those words from the English language.

  3. kilgannonsays

    Good points Susan.

    The challenge is to use cliched and overused words as little as possible, especially when developing a “value proposition”. Telling the consumer a marketer provides “quality” or “value” isn’t a point of differentiation in their mind. Whereas “the highest-mileage SUV” or “the most puncture-resistant trash bag” does help the customer differentiate your product from the competitions.

  4. How about this one for your buzzwords list: “solutions provider.”

    As in: “We don’t provide products … we provide solutions.” Or similar such nonsense.

  5. This topic came up only days after I attended a focus group for a university-community partnership group that is in a re-branding process. We were given a dozen or so possible names and taglines to rate, and nearly all of your 10 words were prevalent. The one that I really dislike is “engagement.” It is especially inappropriate to use a current buzz word in the actual name of a business or organization–really shows short-sightedness and lack of creativity.

  6. Pingback: Engagement the Steve Jobs Way « Kilgannon Says – Atlanta Ad Agency

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