As JConnelly's own Bob Keane wrote, every industry has its jargon. And communicators are no different.


I’m not talking about branded content, which helps to different a company’s product or services. But rather, the overused buzzwords that say something while clarifying nothing.


We recently sat down with a roundtable of marketers and asked them what marketing terms and phrases they’d like to retire. Here they are, in all their buzzword glory:


  • Optimize: Blame it on SEO. What started out as a way to describe making the most of digital real estate is now applied to everything from budgets to brand assets. Try enhance, upgrade or elevate instead.
  • Leverage: Chances are, if something in your organization isn’t being optimized, it is being leveraged. Usually what we’re talking about is repurposing content or sharing pieces of a campaign across various channels. Focus on describing specific tactics and you’ll achieve more clarity.
  • Socialize: This is something you do with dogs.
  • Scrub, Scrape and Polish: Whatever happened to editing and reviewing?
  • Relentless: Communicators work hard and that’s awesome. But relentless means oppressively constant. It has more than a whiff of mercilessness. Let’s just be driven, persistent or determined.
  • Actualize: Maybe it’s because so much of the value of communications remains intangible that we feel the need to bring our campaigns into reality. Actualize is one of those $100 words that sounds impressive, until you realize it can be replaced with “is” or “will be.” As one of the roundtable participants put it, we should relentlessly scrub actualize from our vocabulary.
  • “Snackable” content: Stop it. Content should feed your brain and that’s all. There are far more satisfying snacks than listicles. What’s wrong with content you can browse or skim? Must we drag food into this?
  • Opportunity: This one isn’t our fault. There’s just not a good synonym for opportunity, no matter how hard you look.


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