Simply Epic: The Growing List of Overused Buzzwords

Companies across the board have built quite the collection of buzzwords over the years. When a phrase becomes obsolete, it’s immediately replaced with something better—or in market speak, “the next big thing.”

Honestly, many of these terms make me cringe. This gem may sound familiar: “Our company follows a ‘customer-centric’ business model. No matter the request, we provide ‘value-added solutions’ by ‘thinking outside of the box,’ which makes it a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone.” Aren’t we all “thinking outside of the box” at this point?

Thanks to LinkedIn, I came across an article called: “15 Marketing Buzzwords to Stop Using Immediately.” The author, Veronica Maria Jarski, compiled her own slide show of what she believes are the most used (i.e., overused) buzzwords. I found myself agreeing with many of her selections. Here are some examples:

  • EPIC. There has to be a better word. My youngest brother and his friends (note, they are 20 years old) use this term in everyday conversation, tweets, Facebook status updates, etc. Please, just say “no” to saying “epic.”
  • THOUGHT LEADERSHIP. I’ve seen this phrase come up quite a bit lately. Jarski raised a good point—what does this even mean? What is the thought leading? Is it leading a thing or person? Enlighten me.
  • MARKETEER. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with this one. Is this supposed to be a cute take on a “mouseketeer”?
  • WORDS ENDING IN “IZE.” Take, for instance, the term “incentivize.” Seems unnecessary just like adverbs.

You get the idea. Nevertheless, this made me start to think about my own list. Here is what I put together:

  • FOR THE WIN. This is on the same level as “epic,” so no further explanation necessary.
  • AT THE END OF THE DAY. Do people mean “nighttime”? Try using the word “ultimately.” No frills.
  • UNIQUE. This word has been banned from all of Print+Promo’s product descriptions. If we accidentally slip up, it gets cut in proofing. The same applies for “one of a kind.”
  • ROBUST. I get it … nothing beats what you’re selling.
  • VERY (insert adjective]. The word “very” is simply fluff. If you need strong descriptive adjectives, this would be the perfect time to break out your thesaurus.
  • SYNERGY. The end.

Of course this conversation could continue for days. At the end of the day, I’m interested in your opinions (see what I did there?). So, tell me, what are your thoughts on these buzzwords? What would you add to the list?

Elise Hacking Carr is executive editor/content director for Print+Promo magazine.

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