It’s time to talk about buzzwords. In particular, we have some business buzzwords we think have passed their expiry dates and need to be phased out. So if you find yourself tempted to use these terms in 2019, you may want to rethink (or at least be careful how you use them).
The term ‘blockchain’ refers to a way of storing data that is very hard to hack or change without permission. And if you hear it mentioned a lot these days, that is because blockchain technology has been proposed as a solution to almost every digital problem going.
But with the price of Bitcoin crashing in 2018, it’s time to admit that most of us don’t understand how a blockchain works and we are just saying it to sound tech-savvy. See also ‘cryptocurrency’.
2. Big Data
Being able to collect and analyse large quantities of data is a very powerful skill in the modern world. And ‘big data’ is not going away any time soon. But, as with blockchain technology, actually understanding how it works is another matter entirely.
Thus, a lot of people are now using ‘big data’ as a fancy way of saying ‘analytics in general’. So next time you hear someone promising to use ‘big data’ in a marketing project without giving any specific details on how they will use it, maybe take it with a pinch of salt.
3. Going Viral
As far as buzzwords are concerned, ‘going viral’ is arguably one of the better ones. After all, how better to capture the idea of a meme than the image of a virus spreading from person to person?
The problem is that the internet is full of articles that promise ‘The Secret to Viral Marketing Revealed’. But nobody knows why some things go viral and other things don’t. Attempts to ‘manufacture’ a viral hit usually fall flat on their faces, much like a drunken uncle trying out the latest dance trend at a wedding party. And sadly, the only way you can guarantee going ‘viral’ is by kissing someone who has the flu. So maybe it’s time we find a different term to describe spreading quickly online.
As a psychological term for the formation of ideas, we have no problem with ‘ideation’. But if you insist on calling an office meeting an ‘ideation session’, please stop. And if you also call yourself a ‘thought leader’ with no sense of irony, we’re not sure there is anything we can do to help you.
Millennials have become the subject of many jokes lately. But if your worst crime is a fondness for avocado toast, then we’re not sure you deserve mockery (or to spend your entire life renting).
More importantly, nobody seems quite sure who ‘counts’ as a millennial. Some people say it’s 1990s kids. Others say it’s ‘80s kids, too. Some even count those born in the late ‘70s. So until we work out precisely what this word means, we reckon it is time for a ‘millennials’ moratorium.
In its simplest form, ‘omnichannel’ marketing seems to involve integrating digital and physical channels to give customers a better sales experience (e.g. apps that let you shop online but that offer extra services if you’re in one of the company’s brick and mortar stores).
And this is fine. Our problem is that ‘omnichannel’ sounds a little Orwellian. As if tech companies were tracking our movements and preferences at all times. Which they pretty much do. But we prefer not to be reminded that we live in a commercial dystopia by our marketing buzzwords, thank you.
7. Crushing It
Finally, we’d like to come out against ‘crushing it’. There are very few situations in which ‘crushing’ is an appropriate way of doing something well. Icing a wedding cake? Crushing it would make a mess. Fixing a computer? No crushing, please. Delivering a newborn? Definitely don’t crush it.
We will, of course, make an exception for anyone who operates an industrial compactor. In your case, doing your job well will involve ‘crushing it’ on a daily basis. And we salute you for this.