Digital marketing is growing at an exponential pace. As the digital world continues to expand, marketers are constantly coming up with new terms and phrases to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. It’s almost as if marketers have their own secret language that outsiders can’t understand. That might be because marketing professionals often use insider jargon in order to sound like insiders. However, using too much insider terminology can make your content inaccessible and unhelpful to your target market. If you’re not sure what that last sentence meant, don’t worry – you’ve stumbled upon our guide to marketing jargon and why you should avoid it. Let’s take a closer look…

What is marketing jargon?

Jargon refers to the informal terms and phrases used by a specific group of people. These terms can often be confusing to outsiders, and they may not have any idea what these phrases mean. For example, in marketing, jargon like “best of breed” or “synergistic opportunities” refers to something that is particularly effective for a specific industry or situation, but the average person may not know what these terms mean.

"Using too much insider terminology can make your content inaccessible and unhelpful to your target market."

Another type of jargon, which is closely tied to marketing jargon, is industry acronyms. These are abbreviations and combinations of letters that are often used in marketing and business to save time. On the surface, marketing jargon might not seem like a big deal. However, marketers who misuse jargon can confuse readers, which can lead them to leave your website and look for information from a different source. This is a problem because you want your customers to stay on your website as long as possible. They can explore your products, read reviews, and even make a purchase if they are satisfied with your content. Therefore, it is crucial that you use clear and concise language in your marketing materials to ensure they are as helpful as possible.

Why should you avoid marketing jargon?

Marketers should avoid using jargon to ensure that their website and content are accessible to all customers. Using jargon is likely to confuse some customers and offend people unfamiliar with the industry. On the other hand, marketing content that is clear and easy to understand will help you to attract more customers and increase your sales. Using jargon can also make your content less credible, which can have a negative impact on your business. If you want to build a strong marketing strategy, you need to avoid marketing jargon and use language that everyone can understand.

Examples of jargon voted obnoxious in 2022

Let’s take a look at some examples of marketing jargon to avoid. Speakers at the Content Marketing World 2022 conference were asked to comment on their pet peeves regarding marketing speak. We’ve picked out our highlights…

Solution

“Solution makes me cringe. Skip the hackneyed phrase. Proceed directly to specificity and clarity.” 

— Nancy Harhut, CCO, HBT Marketing

Sometimes using the word ‘solution’ is appropriate, but not as frequently as marketers are using it right now. We totally understand where Harhut is coming from. You should be clear with your reader. Fixing their pain points is part of the copywriting process, but if they don’t understand why you’re the solution, you’re just contributing to the noise you’re getting missed within. 

Content is King

“Can we throw this phrase out yet? Content is most definitely royalty (insert hair flip here), but it’s not a domineering force that can claim its rightful throne in search results just by existing. Showing up on page one of search results takes work. Driving qualified traffic takes work. It takes only a birthright to be king. Existence does not equal excellence.”

 — Haley Collins, director of operations and content, GPO

It’s such a good point that content can’t win just by being there. Too often, the word ‘content’ is bandied around as if we should be writing our websites like a rephrased Lorem Ipsum text block. It’s not enough to fill your website with content. The content must be of high quality and establish you as a credible voice in your industry. 

"If you want to build a strong marketing strategy, you need to avoid marketing jargon and use language that everyone can understand."

In order for your content to reign supreme, it must speak to the people. Connect with your audience by understanding their reading level and the style of communication they enjoy. 

By the way, you can use Readable scoring to find out whether your content is at the right reading level for your audience. You can also see where your content sits on scales such as formality and sentiment. Why not put the regality of your writing to the test? 

Holistic

“It’s any time someone says they offer “holistic” services. No one offers everything. The marketing and business world is far too diverse for that to even be possible. Soup-to-nuts doesn’t exist here. So, shut it.”

— Jason Falls, senior influence strategist, Cornett

Holistic is absolutely overused. It’s also misleading to users. Stop pretending to do it all and focus on what makes your product or service different and better than its competitors. It’s not enough to just claim to have more.

For example, if you use Readable, don’t expect it to write your content for you. There is a plethora of AI products that will completely rewrite a piece of content for you or even write one from scratch. But we believe in putting humanity into your content, and we want you to learn how to be a more effective writer. You’re not going to learn this by clicking a button. 

We put a framework in place for you to understand where your content is failing to reach your audience, and we give you actionable pointers on how to improve your score. 

"We believe in putting humanity into your content, and we want you to learn how to be a more effective writer."

Readable doesn’t do it all for you - but it’s an invaluable part of your toolkit and a useful complement to your own brain and your workflow. That being said, many rival readability tools don’t have the range of scores that Readable has, nor do they have bespoke scores based on literacy research. Do you see what we’re doing there? We’re educating you on the strength of our offering without making our service sound like a health food store. 

Bottom line 

Marketing jargon can be helpful when used appropriately and in moderation. However, when used too often, it can confuse customers and make your content inaccessible. If you want to create effective marketing, avoid marketing jargon and use language that is easy to understand. This will make sure that your content is accessible, and you can attract more customers and grow your business.

To read more about the most reviled jargon of 2022, see CMI’s excellent coverage of the outcomes of the conference.

Want to edit your content to remove jargon?

If you’re here, thanks for reading to the end. We would be remiss not to talk about our buzzword and cliché detectors which are a part of the Readable toolkit. Simply input your content - whether that’s from your website domain, specific URLs or documents - and you can detect words and phrases that may make your audience cringe. 

Thank us later.

Laura Kelly

Laura is a Marketing Executive at Readable. She loves coffee, literature, weightlifting and film photography.