Don't Use These Words in 2017 - Avoid them at all costs
11½ Words or Phrases Not to Use in 2017
11½ Words or Phrases Not to Use in 2017

Thinking outside the box, the SWOT team turned a corner ASAP, clearing their heads while not stepping on each other’s toes, because at the end of the day truth be told it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how many clichés, acronyms and non-words you can cram into a single sentence each and every nice day.

Yikes! With 2017 staring us in the face like a crossword puzzle clue you just can’t crack, we thought it was a good time to open up our collective vocabulary closets and throw away the detritus that infests our business conversations. With the help of some of the sharpest knives in the marketing drawer, we offer you 11½ words or phrases NOT to use in 2017, offered, of course, in alphabetical order.

1. Actionable Insights
Jason Falls, Founder, Partner, Conversation Research Institute

“Actionable insights” is starting to make me ill. I get it. We all want them. What I do in my day-to-day produces really good insights, but I’m going to start calling them “thingamabobs” or something just to not hear that phrase anymore.

1½. Actionable Data and Insights
Jeff Snyder, Chief Inspiration Officer, Inspira Marketing Group

It’s a phrase that’s completely over-used. All data capture should lead to customer or prospect insights that influence the programs and campaigns that we create. And today, as responsible marketers, all programs we create should include a data capture element. Otherwise, we’re not doing our jobs.

2. Authenticity & Transparency
Brian Moran, Founder & CEO, Brian Moran & Associates


It’s a tie between authenticity and transparency. I feel like both terms are so worn out…especially transparency. You either are or you are not. If you aren’t authentic and transparent, then reminding you over and over again will not help. Let’s move on.

3. Content is King
Marsha Collier, President, The Collier Company

“Content is king.” Really? Any old content will do? Marketers are too busy putting out mediocre (or solely self-promotional) content to fulfill content calendars. People still read, and they read to learn. It’s time to maybe share less, but make posts professional and give communities interesting and engaging content. Know that quality content takes a practiced hand. Hire an experienced writer if you’re not up to the task yourself.

4. Disruption
Tamara McCleary, CEO, Thulium

We’ve all already been disrupted. The world as we knew it has been disrupted by IoT, Cloud, Mobile, Machine Learning, Virtual Reality, (VR), Augmented Reality, (AR), and all things Artificial Intelligence, (Ai). Let’s all agree we are in the midst of a technological r/evolution, and all of us must reinvent ourselves and our businesses to be relevant in the digital future. If you asked me what the new phrase of 2017 will be, it’s “Digital Bravery.”

5. Game Changer
Patrick Bernardi, CMO at Hu-Friedy

game changer

I really think the term “game-changer” has jumped the shark. Everything from toilet paper holders to socket wrenches have been described using the game-changer modifier. If everything is a game-changer, then nothing is.

6. Jumped the Shark
Seth Grimes, President & Principal Consultant, Alta Plana Corporation

“Jumped the shark” has jumped the shark. The phrase was nebulous to begin with (what does it actually MEAN?) and now it has devolved into a facile throw-away for self-appointed cultural authorities.

7. Omni-Channel
Martin Jones, Sr. Marketing Manager – Social Media & Content Marketing, Cox Communications

It’s one that I’m guilty of using myself — “Omni-channel.” The problem? It implies that your business or organization needs to have a presence in ALL available channels, so it’s a bit misleading. I prefer terms like “multi-channel” or “targeted channels”, that would more accurately describe the strategy.

8. Programmatic
Kelly Wenzel, CMO, Centro

It pains me to say this because my firm is part of what’s labeled as the programmatic advertising ecosystem, but it’s a term that’s over-used, over-hyped and poorly defined. Digital media is complex, increasingly intricate and interesting. But that term has done a disservice to how much innovation is happening and what it really means to automate digital media operations.

9. Selfie
Stephen Monaco, Chief Strategy Officer, Future Marketing Institute

This won’t happen, but if I never heard the word “selfie” ever again, I’d certainly be cool with that.

10. SEO
Erik Huberman, Founder & CEO, Hawke Media

It has been so overused it doesn’t mean anything anymore. If you want to discuss SEO, discuss the specifics of what you are actually doing. Are you building content? Links? Developing site structure? Most of the time the answer is you’re just selling snake oil.

11. Solutions
Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, Senior Program Manager, Enterprise Learning, MarketingProfs

The term “solutions” is a complete waste of space in your marketing copy. The term is too vague to give people any idea what you actually do and too boring to make them want to investigate further. Instead of “world-class solutions for marketing professionals,” try something more descriptive, like “software that helps you find and connect with influencers in your industry so you can amplify your brand’s reach.”

Final note: Have some words or phrases you’d like to get off your chest? Bring ‘em on dudes, we’re chomping at the bit to let them fly!

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About the Author

Drew Neisser
"CMO Whisperer" Drew Neisser, is the Founder/CEO of Renegade, the NYC-based agency that has helped CMO’s find innovative ways to cut through since 1996. He is also the former Publisher of Social Media Explorer. He is a recognized authority on non-traditional marketing techniques having won innumerable awards for creativity and campaign effectiveness and is the author of The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing and is the host of the podcast series Renegade Thinkers Unite. Ranked in 2016 among Brand Quarterly’s “50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50,” he has been a featured marketing expert on ABC News, CBS Radio and the Tony Robbins podcast series among many others. Drew writes the CMO Spotlight column for AdAge and TheDrewBlog. He consults on digital / social media trends via the GLG network and sits on the boards of the Urban Green Council and Duke NY.

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