The language we marketers use can come across as slippery and imprecise. Unless you’re talking to another marketer who uses the same language. Is there a problem here? And, if there is, what’s the solution? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • Marketing Week recently ran an opinion piece by JP Castlin with this eye-catching headline“The language of marketing is so imprecise as to be almost meaningless”.
  • Marketing-related language is probably the most ripe for ridicule. In a few short minutes, we found no less than 5 websites—like this Gibberish Generator—that create random strings of jargon-laced marketing nonsense just for laughs.
  • It’s also true that we marketers—always attuned to new things—are particularly vulnerable to that most pernicious variety of corporate jargon: the buzzword.
  • It’s also true that jargon—in any department—can cause problems.
  • But the case against it isn’t so clear cut. Jargon can actually improve communication within groups. It can also help those groups bond.
  • We like this insight from Seth Godin: “Jargon is intentionally off-putting, and lingo reminds us how connected we are. They might look similar, but the intent is what matters.”
  • The other thing that matters is context. We marketers all know the importance of tailoring your message to your audience. This rule applies equally to office language and ad copy.
  • If you’re talking to the CFO about boosting your budget, you probably shouldn’t mention “crowdsourced content”.
  • But if you’re attending a Content Marketing World 2021, it might help break the ice in the line-up at the margarita bar.
  • The bottom line—precision has its place, but language serves many functions. The key to marketing jargon is knowing when and how to use it.
Issue #126
Sep 25, 2021

Further Reading