13 buzzwords that need to die in 2013

If “dynamic,” “viral” or “social business” are part of your regular vocabulary, it’s time to bid them farewell. Here’s why.


I started this last year, but since there is still no shortage of buzzwords and phrases, I figured I would revamp the list for 2013. For the love of all things holy, here are 13 more words you should stop using this year:

1. Content marketing

This is probably the biggest buzzword right now. But truthfully, I’m not sure why. Content marketing didn’t just arise out of the blue with the advent of social media. It’s something great companies have been doing for more than a century. It’s about finding a way to “market” and tell your brand’s stories in a compelling way.

2. ROI/ROE

Oh, good old ROI, ROE, ROR, or whatever the cool marketing people call it these days. Just because you use “return on investment” or “return on engagement” to beef up your pitches, decks and case studies doesn’t mean you actually found a way to measure it.

3. Social business

I’d like to think a “social business” is any business that will still be around in five years. Enough said.

4. Viral/viral video

Every time I hear “make it go viral,” I want to strangle something. You can’t make something go viral. Virality is a byproduct of creating awesome content.

5. Inbox zero

Woo hoo! Congratulations on taming your inbox. I’m pretty sure all of us have to read and write emails; we all do some sort of archiving. We really don’t need another pointless productivity buzzword.

6. Paradigm

This one is just like good old “synergy.” I still have no clue what it means since every time I see it in a press release, mission statement, website, etc., it’s used in a different context.

7. Dynamic

What exactly makes something dynamic? I really don’t know, but I have lost count of the number of “dynamic” new products, hires, divisions …

8. Brogrammer

I don’t care how awesome you are at coding. I can’t take you seriously if you refer to yourself as a “brogrammer.”

9. Authentic/inauthentic

I don’t have a problem with the word “authentic.” I do, however, have a problem with the fact that in 2013 we still have to tell businesses to be authentic online.

10. Value-add

This is just a tiny bit vague, right? Refer to No. 7.

11. User-friendly

Shouldn’t every consumer-facing thing at least attempt to be easy to use?

12. Award-winning

These days, it seems like every agency and campaign is “award-winning.” When you use it, is it because you were voted “best place to work” or won a Webby for a campaign, or because you won the award for “best workplace coffee”? See where I’m going with this? Instead of just saying your company is “award-winning,” clarify which award you won.

13. YOLO

Unless you are a teenage boy, you sound absolutely ridiculous saying “YOLO” (short for “you only live once”). If you absolutely must, say “carpe diem” instead. It’s 20 million times better.

OK, folks. What other buzzwords do you want to eliminate in 2013? Please share them in the comments below.

Jessica Malnik is a PR/marketing coordinator, social media specialist, videographer and an avid Gen Y blogger. A version of this article originally appeared on her blog.

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