I'm normally pretty easy going. But I cringe at emails with no subject lines, at PR agencies that insist its company is the "leading provider of..." and at anyone who complains it takes too long at a drive-through food service restaurant. (Folks: we are handed food through the window of our engine-powered machines. No hunting. No walking. One minute is a reasonable wait.)
So what is annoying B2B marketers these days? Ridiculous buzzwords, we've learned.
Jargon — Is It All Bad?
David McGuire, the founder of Lungfish, a B2B copywriting agency, works on client marketing content and ghost blogs for a number of agency heads. Naturally, he spends a lot of his time wading through B2B marketing buzzwords, which is why he created a LinkedIn chat chain on the subject.
And I can't help but share some of them.
"Jargon's not all bad, of course," McGuire told CMSWire.com in an interview this week. "It can help to speed up the conversation among people in the same market or sector, and that's great. But you do get to a point where some words just become fashionable, and people use them as a sort of badge rather than trying to actually convey any meaning."
Some phrases get so vague and overused, McGuire added, that they become completely pointless.
"And I do stop from time to time, and ask myself, 'I wonder if everyone else in B2B marketing is thinking the same thing?'" McGuire asked.
And the Nominees Are ...
Let's get into some of the annoying buzzwords:
Synergy. We loved this one. This marketer said anytime he hears a company use this when it wants to work with his, his heart "shrivels up and dies."
Need tunnel. We're not even sure what this one means, but if you hear it in an upcoming meeting or conference, let us know. Sounds like a classic. Maybe it's this — "We here at Company X have a great need tunnel for money." Is there really a reason to add "tunnel" here?
Disruptive. Yeah, we definitely see this gaining steam. In fact, we covered a vendor who was darn proud to be named the most disruptive technology innovator, and we even put disruption in the headline. "Why does everyone feel the need to suddenly describe himself as 'disruptive?'" one marketer said.
Holistic. This is a good one. Don't you love hearing "holistic approach"? What other kind of approach works? A half-hearted one? Or a 50 percent one?
The Internet of Things. So we've covered this concept plenty in this space. But we couldn't resist citing one marketer, who said, "That is the most preposterous thing I've heard for a long time. I prefer, 'The Internet.'"
Siloed. As one marketer pointed out: "The data gathered from social media is siloed." Whenever this marketer sees this, he grimaces "like I've been punched in the stomach."
Don't Overuse Your Words
Ultimately, McGuire said in his interview with CMSWire.com, the thing that will make any marketer successful, B2B or otherwise, is working out who your customer is, what value you can add for them, and how you communicate that.
"B2B buyers are still people," he told us. "A little bit of jargon can show where you fit with their agenda, or make them feel like they belong. But if everyone's doing that there's a lot to be said for keeping things simple. If you're the only one who can save them time by cutting the crap, then you're really going to satisfy their 'need tunnel.'"
Title image by Rob Hyrons (Shutterstock).