Much like any industry, marketing and social media comes with its own collection of jargon. As the jargon follows industry trends, some of these words get overused.
Take innovation, for instance. This is perhaps the most overused buzzword in business — so much so that it means absolutely nothing. That new “innovative” app is no more innovative than the one that came before it that does the exact same thing.
Here’s a list of 2014 marketing buzzwords pulled from lists compiled by marketing agencies Econsultancy and Profoundry. There is some overlap, but for the most part, we selected the words that were most obvious offenders from either list.
- Big Data: This is perhaps the most overused buzzword of the new millennium across industries from healthcare to social media analytics. According to Profoundry, “Big Data” is invoked by technologists looking to convince companies to invest in more technology. Sure it’s a real thing, but it’s impossibly ambiguous and often misunderstood.
- Internet of Things: Welcome to the future, my friends. The very thing that powered the virtual industrial revolution is also giving rise to the robot overlords. Futuristic hysteria aside, the Internet of Things — or IoT — is just the phrase for real objects that communicate with each other through the Internet. The techno-junkies are excited, but there are real vulnerabilities and at least one expert surveyed for a recent Pew report believes the IoT could undermine the future of privacy.
- Growth hacking: Amid the very real security breaches that took place this year, growth hacking is the phrase du jour among lean startup marketers. Econsultancy says it “seems to cover everything from resizing your Twitter profile picture to improving the grip on your pencil with a bit of Blu-Tack.” Profoundry says growth hackers use classic marketing techniques and social media outreach but on scrappy startup shoestring budgets.
- Native Advertising: Consumers don’t particularly care for advertising on social media, but if it must be tolerated, at least let it be native advertising. This is the phrase marketers use to refer to sponsored content integrated seamlessly into our social media feeds. BTW: seamless and integration were both on the Econsultancy list, so this one is a three-fer.
- Rich Media: We’ve always had images and videos for our social media, but now we have a new way to describe it. Really, this is just a fancy term for adding interactive content into native advertising, according to Profoundry. Apparently, rich media can turn a regular social media campaign into a powerful conversion tool.
- Influencers: I threw this one in myself, since it’s been so pervasive this year, and I suspect we’ll continue to see and hear if for years to come. Some marketers don’t know how to pick influencers. New platforms are helping to connect marketers with influencers. Platforms that help regular consumers capitalize on their own influence. There are influencers everywhere we turn!
- Selfie: Maybe the Oxford Dictionary was ahead of its time dubbing selfie the 2013 word of the year. It’s easy to see why this word is on the list. From the Oscar Selfie, to the Presidential Selfie, #Selfie dance music and even a Selfie TV show — 2014 was as much the year of the selfie as it was the year of encryption.