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10 Marketing Terms Your Audience Hates

For B2C brands, the words in Web copy and other marketing materials must be chosen more carefully than they are for B2B operations. It’s tempting to believe that hyper-manufactured marketing speak impresses the average consumer, but the exact opposite is true: He doesn’t understand it, nor does he care. In order to spare your audience a collective migraine while attempting to sell them your services, avoid using these torturous marketing terms:

1. Best Practices

This just means you follow the best methods in your industry. But in some industries, those methods are not even defined. Plus, it reeks of pretentiousness – and that’s reason enough to eliminate it from your marketing vocabulary.

2. Solutions

This annoying marketing term just means your service solves some specific consumer problem. When tagged with “tailored” or “customized,” it means you will make that service flexible if need be. Communications consultant Glen Turpin says “solutions” refers to “a collection of technologies too abstract or complex to describe in a way that anyone would care about if they were explained in plain English.” Rather than offering that explanation or declaring your business to be a solution in the first place, just tell people what you do. Let them decide if it solves their problem.

3. Best-in-class

This is a claim that you are the best at what you do, when compared to others in your class. But in a globalized business culture, can you say with any certainty who you are in a class with?What if yours is the lowest class on your industry’s totem pole? That wouldn’t be saying much.It is far better to simply describe your services, rather than claiming some ambiguous “class” domination.

4. Best-in-breed

This is a synonym of “best-in-class.” And it sounds like you’re talking about dogs.

5. Value-added

To the average consumer, “value-added” means nothing of value. If you offer something extra,just tell people what it is.

6. End-to-end

This service is the total package. It has everything you need. Nothing is left out. These are words that people understand. When they hear “end-to-end solutions,” they wonder if you are selling them laxatives. Think about it.

7. Scalable

When services can be expanded or minimized depending on demand, they are scalable. In an alternate definition, the word could denote a good investment by referring to a low cost-per-unit. But the fact that there are two definitions of this marketing term should be your first clue that “scalable” should be avoided, period. A venture capitalist may salivate over your scalable business model, but your would-be customers have no idea what it is.

8. Leverage

When people used to say “leverage,” they meant it as a noun that was synonymous with power or control. Example: “You have dirt on our competitor? Let’s use that as leverage at the next trade show.” But now, leverage is an over-extended verb that is used in a variety of unsuitable contexts to sell services, the most common of which is a bloviated way of saying “use” (i.e., “We leverage our years of experience to give you quality service”). Rather than manipulating parts of speech in order to use the longest word possible, just say what you really mean.

9. Streamline

Streamlining involves making things simpler, which is something consumers appreciate. So, try to streamline your messaging by eliminating this word from your service descriptions; you could be rewarded with more customers.

10. Utilize

Definition: To use. 

Example: “No one will utilize your services if you sound ostentatious in your marketing messages.”

The good news is, you can eliminate these words from your marketing vocabulary with a simple keystroke. Make a commitment to using plainer language on your website and in your advertisements. Your audience will thank you.

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