Why Buzzwords Suck

Let’s talk about why buzzwords are bad for the data and analytics business. I don’t entirely deny that there are some benefits of buzzwords. Sometimes buzzwords summarize a long list of complex concepts in one easy-to-understand phrase.

bees-44507_640In my previous column, “Don’t Hire Data Posers“, I wrote that one of the first signs of a poser is excessive use of buzzwords. This month, let’s talk about why such buzzwords are bad for the data and analytics business — besides the obvious annoyance of overuse.

I don’t deny that there are some benefits of buzzwords. Sometimes buzzwords summarize a long list of complex concepts in one easy-to-understand phrase. Big data, CRM (in the past), customer 360, personalizationcustomer experiencereal-time modeling or in-database scoring are some examples.

For instance, the term big data acts as an umbrella for many different ideas that not-so-technical people may not be familiar with. But by saying that magic term, we can cut to the chase much faster. Marketers and decision-makers often interpret the term as “all data and analytics activities that enable data-based decision-making processes,” regardless of the actual data sets and processes in question. So data players like me no longer have to take 15 minutes to explain what we do for a living, and data geeks have more succint voices in executive meetings nowadays.

Similarly, creation of a single customer view or a 360degree customer view may include many intricate steps, but who has time to list them all in a planning meeting? Just drop the term customer 360, and people will get the general idea.

But there are definite downsides to these over-simplifications. So, let’s list the harmful effects of abusing buzzwords:

  • Over-simplification in itself is bad already, as it undervalues the efforts. Just because it takes less than a second to say it, doesn’t mean the actual steps are just as quick and easy. Executors still have to sift through painstaking details to get anything done. I’ve seen marketers who actually thought that properly executing personalization would be simple and easy, when the reality of it is that even the very definition of the word deserves a lengthy consideration. Is it about content, delivery, data or analytics? The answer is all of the above, and one must plan for every aspect separately. Calling personalization simple is like saying, “Why don’t we make more movies like ‘Star Wars’ and make tons of money?” Well, can you make that lightsaber look real in someone’s hand?

Fantastic Marketing Beasts and Where to Find Them!

In honor of the newest addition to the Harry Potter family, I’ve compiled a roundup of magical beastly marketing blogs that you should definitely check out!

Surprise! It’s me, Dani, with a blog entry directly inspired by some Harry Potter thing or another that’s happening this week!

Listen, I’m going to be upfront with you: my to-do list is insane today and I need to wrap up my urgent items in time to go see a certain movie tonight, so this entry will be of the short and sweet variety.

In honor of the newest addition to the HP family, I’ve compiled a short (seriously, there’s only 5!) roundup of just a few magical and beastly marketing blogs that you should definitely check out — copy/creative-centric, of course. Wands at the ready!

“They said WHAT about reverse type??”


Nepotism? What nepotism? Okay yes, I’m kicking the list off by keeping it in the Target Marketing family, but as soon as you read a single Sass Marketing post, you’ll understand why. Melissa Ward runs this fantastic beast of a blog, and she gave it the perfect name. Take a dive through creative, content, and design triumphs and pitfalls with a perfect side of sass.

SEOCOPYWRITING.COM (Heather Lloyd-Martin)

If only copywriting was as easy as just … being able to write. Oh no, not these days pal. We’ve got our good friend SEO to consider if we ever want our words to see the light of a search result. If you sometimes wake up in a cold sweat from nightmares of your masterpiece withering away on the 19th page of Google search, this blog is the potion for you. With her 17-plus years of SEO copywriting experience, Heather Lloyd-Martin helps you write your way to traffic-driving glory in easy-to-understand, actionable doses.


Accio content marketing genius! That’s the spell that will bring you right to Jay Baer’s Convince and Convert blog. This one gives you a little bit of everything content marketing: creation, strategy, branding, design, productivity, you name it. Jay Baer has been called “The World’s Most Inspirational Marketing and Customer Service Speaker,” and Convince & Convert was named the No. 1 content blog in the world by Content Marketing Institute, so it’s a no-brainer why it earns a “beast” shoutout.


Speaking of the Content Marketing Institute, founder Joe Pulizzi’s blog is another must. This guy literally wrote the book on content marketing … a bunch of them, actually. His blog is basically a jackpot for anyone who’s ever needed to know about content creation, or storytelling, or audience engagement, or measurement, or … you get the idea. It’s personable, funny, and includes tons of real life content success examples. Along the same vein, Joe and CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose co-host a podcast called This Old Marketing — oft referenced on the blog and equally spellbinding.


I only recently came across this Australian SEO copywriter’s work and I was immediately hooked. This gal knows how to use her words, and she uses them to perfection on her blog in order to help you use your too. (Kate did NOT assist me with that last sentence, as you may have assumed.) Just check out some of these blog post titles: “How Donald Trump helped me write my book in 7 days”, “Learning to love your own voice,” “5 big fat lies about eCourses,” “Hideous copywriting buzzwords that really get my goat” … how can you not be tempted to read? I love Kate’s tone and her experienced, practical advice. I’m excited to keep digging into the archives of this one!

Image result for fantastic beasts

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I assume the guy above is just grumpy he hasn’t found the blogs to solve his rebrand dilemma yet. Don’t be like this guy. Check out these fantastic resources now that you know where to find them! And hey, let me know if you have more witchcraft and wizarding suggestions.

Have a safe and delicious Thanksgiving!

Harry Potter and the Winning Marketing Strategy

I solemnly swear I am up to no good … A fab phrase for activating a magical, omniscient map; not so great if you’re talking about your marketing. Here are some of the key takeaways we can learn from the Hogwarts School of Marketing and Advertising.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good …

A fab phrase for activating a magical, omniscient map … not so great if you’re talking about your marketing.

Here’s the deal: I’m FINALLY going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this week! That means I’ve got my mind on Harry Potter and Harry Potter on my mind. (“But Dani,” says everyone who has ever met me, “That’s just like, business as usual for you.” “Fight me,” I say.)

Anyway, to commemorate the occasion, I thought I’d spin a little Harry into my post this week. Those of us who grew up with the series are always eager to tell anyone who will listen about the impact it had on our lives, about the imagination it inspired and the lessons it taught. But did you know that Harry Potter can even teach us a thing or two about our marketing campaigns?

Here are some of the key takeaways we can learn from the Hogwarts School of Marketing and Advertising. (PS, I need to give a shoutout to colleague and fellow HP-phile Alexis Henderson for helping me compile this list.)

Whether it’s direct mail or email, don’t flood the mailbox.


Good copy is key. The right words in the right order can make the feather float.


We’ve all been there, Ron.

Experiment! Not every idea will be a winner …


… but eventually you will cough up the gold.


If you’re really stuck, though, there’s no shame in turning back to tried and true methods


After all, one reader’s old sock could be another reader’s treasure.


Make sure your piece isn’t a howler!

Be enthusiastic, be passionate, but your audience doesn’t want to be yelled at.

Some goals call for a major rebrand — embrace it!


And once you’ve rolled out the rebrand, yell it from the rooftops — recognition is key.


Hey, Say what you will about his morals, but your brand game’s got to be on point to successfully go by “You-Know-Who.”

Think outside the box — you might just see what no one else has.


Don’t shy away from a little humor either 🙂 

(These guys built their business on it!)

Something about the creative not working? Try a bold design change.


Personalization is a powerful tool … but don’t take it too far.


snape map

NEVER underestimate the importance of tracking!


Stay fascinated, keep asking questions, keep looking for the next great tool!

rubber duck

Finally, perhaps most importantly … you don’t get rid of the Banding Banshee by smiling at her.

There’s probably a marketing lesson in here about making sure your piece is as substantial as it is eye-catching. I really just wanted to use this quote.

With that, I trust you’ll all go off and make magic with your mailings and potions with your prestitials! I’m off to Hogwarts and hope you have a very Harry Labor Day as well!

Mischief Marketing Managed.