Calling bullshit on your buzzwords

Have you ever sat in a meeting where you’ve become so lost in a maze of marketing cliches that you’ve found yourself doing a tally chart of how many are used?

I have.

After paying attention for the first 5 minutes, I quickly realised that my personal brand of irreverence had no place amongst this group of people. No longer sure of what they were talking about I retired to my notebook, where I spent the rest of the meeting keeping track of how much marketing jargon left the attendees’ mouths.

This taught me two things:
1. Tally charts make you feel like you’re trapped on an island/ in a prison/ in a cave.
2. Marketing jargon has no place in civilised society.

Sadly, working in the marketing industry opens me up to a great deal of this nonsense. It’s a daily struggle that I find hard to not react to with violence, anger and, most of all, sarcastic outbursts.

Fortunately for you sarcastic outbursts are exactly what this blog was made for. Onwards.

Here’s an example of the kind of crap I’m talking about, just to get you in the mood:

Key takeaways.

Now I know what ‘key takeaways’ means – important things that you should maybe make a note of. Like, listen, this bit of information is a key takeaway. Write it down or something, you’ll find it useful later.

But what I don’t know is why anyone ever has to say those two words next to each other. Useful information, that’d do. Things worth remembering, that’s nice. I know what both of those things mean too, only they don’t make me want to kick puppies.

Key takeaways is a repeat offender, but there are plenty of other sayings I’d like to banish from common parlance. Here’s a Buzzfeed style list of them for your convenience:

Capacity.

Saying ‘capacity’ when what you really mean is ‘time’ is just a dick move. “I’ll check to see if they’ve got capacity to fit it in,” is just a smarmy, business-bullshit way of saying, “They might have time. I’ll ask.”

Datafication/ gamification/ anything-bloody-ication.

Datafication, as in turning things into data. Getting data out of something. Finding data from a set of results. I don’t know really, but it sounds like something I’d have drowned at birth.
Gamification is just as bad. Turning something into a game should be a fun idea, not one that makes you want to scratch your eyes out.

Deliverables.

“The brief asks us to produce a range of deliverables across a variety of platforms.” Oh does it? DOES IT? DOES IT WANT THINGS THAT WE CAN DELIVER, JUST LIKE ANY OTHER FUCKING BRIEF? DOES IT WANT US TO PRODUCE THINGS? DO WE REALLY NEED A FUCKING FANCY WORD FOR THIS OR SHOULD IT JUST BE EXPECTED AS PART OF THE SERVICE INDUSTRY WE SODDING WORK IN?

I dislike the word deliverables.

Stakeholders.

What you really mean by stakeholders is ‘people who contribute’. When you say ‘the key stakeholders in this work,’ what you’re trying to say is ‘people who did it’. But you keep getting it wrong. You keep saying stakeholders, which isn’t what you mean at all. It’s incorrect. You’re making a mistake. You need to learn before bad things happen to you.

Ownership.

The problem with a lot of marketing cliches is that, when used in the right situation, they make perfect sense. Ownership is a great example of this. It’s a good word when used right. It has a role to play, a job, if words could be gainfully employed.
However, when you use ownership in the wrong context, you suddenly become morally unforgivable. ‘Ownership of an idea’ is a bullshit way of saying someone got precious about their work and got pissy when you changed it. ‘Ownership of permission’ is a saying that, I think, might mean that you have the right to do something. I am not sure. I did not look further into it. All I know is that it shouldn’t be allowed.

Ok, so that isn’t a complete list of completely pointless words, but do you know what else I don’t like? Things that go on too long. That’s why all the girls love me.

Use plain English, you cretins.

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