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Debunking marketing jargon

Posted by Ryan Nofal on July 5, 2018 at 8:00 PM
Ryan Nofal

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What do hamburger menus, blue sky thinking and pilots have to do with marketing? We can’t blame you for thinking marketers are from Mars, that’s why we’re demystifying some common marketing terms that have the rest of the world asking “what on earth are you people talking about?”

Every industry has its jargon, and marketing is no exception - in fact, marketers have coined some of the most weird and wonderful terminology you could ever imagine. While you’d expect nothing less from a group of wildly creative individuals, it can be rather frustrating hearing things like “Tweetup” tossed casually around during a strategy session, with absolutely no idea what people are talking about.

Here’s a list of common jargon, with some plain English replacements, to help you decode the mysterious world of marketing.



Marketing Jargon


What we’d use instead
Disruption, pushing the envelope, blue sky or out of the box thinking New ideas, flexibility and creativity.
Viral content An effective campaign that reaches a mass-audience and achieves your objectives.
Clickbait A misleading title which, when clicked on by the user, doesn’t deliver on its promise.
Thought leader A knowledgeable and authoritative voice within your industry.
Tweetup A real-world networking meeting organised via social media.

Make it pop or cut through the clutter

Catch the consumer’s attention by differentiating your product from the competition.
Storytelling Creating authentic content that’s believable and relevant to your audience.
The golden thread Integrating your marketing message.
Mission critical

This one sounds like you’ve entered the next instalment of Star Wars.

The word important would suffice.

Pilot Testing an idea.
Smart content Targeted content personalised for a specific user.
Big Data Insightful information on your target audience and how they interact with your brand both on and offline.
Best in class

An excellent quality product.

Solution This term is used frequently to describe products and services. Rather call your product what it is - whether that’s software, desks or hygiene services. Calling everything a solution is very generic.
Turnkey solution (otherwise known as “magic beans”) A hyperbole for a complete product or service.
Return on investment (ROI) While the term itself is pretty self explanatory, sometimes “the campaign was successful” will do.
Penetrate the market

Reach your target audience.

Point of sale marketing (POS) Visual merchandise in retail outlets.
Scope Service level agreement (SLA).
Delivery Execution of promised services.
Dipstick research or drill down In-depth research.

Hamburger menu

Navigation or menu icon.
APIs and plug-ins

While these terms are used by developers all the time, not everyone understands what they mean or what they do.

An API (or application program interface) is a tool used when building and integrating software applications. A decent API assists the developer in making the software work - the API is like the foundations of your house.

Similarly to an API, a plug-in is software that’s added to a website which allows non-developers to add features and functions to the site without having to understand code.



Test you knowledge of some more marketing jargon.
Take our quiz, How marketing savvy are you?



We hope you’re feeling more confident with a better understanding of these common marketing terms (and why you should avoid some of them). Not all marketing jargon is bad, but you definitely want to avoid using any terms that are hyperbolic, misleading or just downright silly.

In the wise words of George Orwell (author), “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or jargon if you can think of an everyday English equivalent”. Sometimes, you can’t get away from a term because it is what it is (ROI for example). You can, however, try to avoid using it too frequently, or out of context just for the sake of throwing it in.

If you’d like to learn more about how to strategise and implement your own winning IMC campaign, you can download the Integrated Marketing eBook. The eBook will walk you through the planning, implementation and measurement of integrated marketing, and includes helpful tips and case studies.

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