Top Ten Excruciating Marketing Buzzwords to Avoid in 2023

Woof, what a year 2023 was. And what a year for martech!

But by God, with every advancement, every achievement, there's always a risk. From each new field comes the potential for the marketer's friend and foe...buzzwords. 

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No one likes buzzwords. They’re, as my grandpa used to say, “all puff and no substance.” And in 2023, it looks like some of the most cringe-worthy marketing buzzwords will be out of style.

Like Acid wash jeans and neon, some buzzwords scream "I refuse to innovate. I loved the 80s and I will not let it go. What do you mean they don't sell suits with shoulder pads anymore?!"

So, let's have a look at the best of the worst. By avoiding these common (and often cringeworthy) marketing buzzwords in 2023, you'll be able to create content that is much more meaningful and impactful. Your readers (and reputation!) will thank you for it!

1. “Touch Base” – Let’s face it, nobody really knows what this means… so why even bother using it? We're not playing baseball. Wait, this is a baseball reference, right?

The phrase "touch base" was everywhere during Covid. Then, it managed to keep hold. Think back to your smiling colleague blurting out buzzword after buzzword on Zoom. That's something we definitely want to leave in the past. Consider it the "cowabunga" or "on fleek" of 2023; outdated and slightly cringe. 

2. “Synergy” – If you want to sound like a corporate robot, then by all means keep saying synergy. Technically,  the definition of marketing synergy is “The mutually beneficial relationship between two marketers who work together to create a successful outcome”, so let's just drop this one altogether and go with something less cheesy like collaboration or partnership instead.

3. “Take it to the Next Level” – Every time I hear this I assume the person has some delusion that the last 20 years didn't happen. If you want to sound like a ski instructor from a 90s film, this phrase will work for you.

4. “Think outside the box” – This is an especially over-used phrase that most people have stopped listening to; after all, who wants to be placed inside a box? Instead of saying this, simply explain the problem and invite different perspectives on how to solve it without resorting to tired clichés. 

5. "Granular" Unless it's a grain of sand or a piece of rock, it's not granular.

6. “Best Practices” – Not only is it a horribly dull phrase but what are the worst practices? Do we really need to ask? 

7. "Phygital" - This one made our list because it just straight-up sounds terrible. A mashup of physical and digital experiences, phygital describes the integration of digital elements into traditional marketing activities or strategies. It also sounds like a medicine used to treat ear infections. 

8. “Paradigm Shift” – This phrase has been around since the late 1980s, and it's still getting used way too much in 2022/2023! It's time for a change.  It was once used to indicate a change from one way of thinking to the next; however, it's been repeated so much that its original meaning has been lost. When discussing a change in thinking, try using words such as “evolve” or “transform” instead.

9. "Viral" - This term implies that something has had an exponential reach and become extremely popular in a short amount of time. However, success cannot always be guaranteed - sometimes content just remains stagnant and never takes off. A better phrase to use when talking about content is “popular” or “trending”, as these terms indicate the potential for success without making any promises. The same goes for other marketing buzzwords like "disruptive" and "revolutionary". They are overused and lack precise meaning - so be sure to avoid them in 2023

10. “Disruptive” This one was a big one for 2023. Everything was disruptive. AI, the metaverse, virtual reality, your neighbour's yappy dog. Disruptive’s been used so much that it’s now a meaningless term. Try describing how your product or service actually disrupts something instead!