“That’s really rad.”

If you heard someone utter these words you’d probably stop short. You might even look over your shoulder for Marty McFly and a custom Delorean. Just like a movie reference that can fall short, the wrong buzzwords can keep you way out of date.

Digital marketing buzzwords are the same. They show that you’re stuck in the past. And we all know that digital and online marketing success depends on staying ahead of the trends. Yesterday’s strategies just don’t work anymore. This is true for professional digital marketers as well as for small business owners building their own brand.  It’s not enough to stay on top of the latest trends for 2017. You also need to know what to avoid. Unless you want to sound like you fell out of an 80’s movie. An 80’s movie partially set in the 1950’s. You also don’t want to sound like you are caught way back in 2016.

Avoid The Cringe

If we look back, there are so many cringe-worthy phrases we’ve all used in business.

“Let’s huddle up,” or “get at it.” “I’m seeing that with 20/20 vision.” When’s the last time you looked at a problem at “30,000 feet?”

How about going for a “deep dive,” “Thinking outside the box,” or “Peeling the onion?” What’s so good about the middle of an onion anyway?

Bad, isn’t it? All of us can make a list like this. But in digital marketing, buzzwords can hurt your business too. Let’s “buck the trends.”

See what we did there? Let’s take a look at 7 digital marketing buzzwords to avoid at all costs in 2017:

1. Streamlining

Take a note on what not to do from a widely recognized business leader. Or at least, you can learn from their mistakes.

Back in 2015 Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, wrote a memo to his staff announcing that many staff members were about to get fired. Critics attacked Dorsey for using jargon and buzzwords in a memo that should have been a delicate task.

The word streamlining may have been the worst offender. It’s never good.

As The Independent explains: “It means that someone or something is about to go.” If this was back in 2015 why would you still be using streamlining today? It’s time to streamline your use of streamlining.

Want more of what not to do from Jack Dorsey? How about:

2. Friction

Using friction causes friction with readers and clients.

3. Drill Down

Stop drilling down. Unless you’re in mining.

4. Loop In

The same is true of the loop in. Using “loop in” shows that you are absolutely not in the loop.

5. Viral

Everything is “Going viral.” Advice, videos, fake news, content.Even words are “going viral.”

According to the LA Times:

After the “La La Land”/”Moonlight” envelope mix-up at the Oscars, searches for the word “gaffe” spiked on the Merriam-Webster website.”

Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe blunder caused the same search term to soar in 2015.

The word gaffe went viral? Well not really. That’s part of the problem. Using viral incorrectly has gone viral. What does the word viral even mean anymore? Is it a search trend?

The New York Daily News investigated the word “viral.” They report that “The word viral is often misunderstood to mean that something is popular and seen by a lot of people.”

Not necessarily true. Actually, “In order to meet viral status, there must be an astronomically quick rise in views that stretches among several different networks of people.”

One expert explains: “Virality is not a common thing. Only a small percentage of events are viral.” If it’s so uncommon, why are we using it so much?

Let’s leave viral to the doctors.

6. Millennial

Have a business? Need to know what millennials “really” want? How about you avoid using the word “millennial” at all. They may be a huge customer base. They may be both environmentally and socially conscious. But they don’t like being called millennials.

Take Time Magazine’s word for it: “One thing is apparent: Millennials, of all ages, generally don’t care for the term.” Avoiding the word may even help boost your client base with millennials. I mean, with younger audiences.

7. Buzzword

Maybe the biggest buzzword to retire this year is, well: Buzzword. How about we stay even farther ahead of the trends in 2017. How about we avoid the word “buzzword” entirely.

Make Your Own

Obviously old and meaningless jargon isn’t limited to digital marketing. Pop culture and big business are riddled with phrases that seem laughable.

The Wall Street Journal even offers an interactive tool to build your own. The Business Buzzwords Generator allows you to “generate and share custom-built meaningless business phrases.” The tool works by using overused business buzzwords, as submitted by Wall Street Journal readers.

Here are a few of our favorites:

“At the end of the day, it’s time to act with epic learnings and roll out our team alignment.”

“As part of our review of onboarding, we have decided to move forward with innovative industry. Yolo.”

“My co-workers have been amazing deep dive since the reorganization.”

If you catch yourself using any of these phrases, it’s time to phase them out.  Your customers and clients won’t accept yesterday’s clichés. At best, they’ll laugh. At worst, they won’t do business with you.

Moving Beyond Digital Marketing Buzzwords

It’s time to move beyond yesterday’s buzz. As they say, talk is cheap. But the wrong buzzwords can be very expensive. They prove you are hopelessly out of date. They showcase what you don’t know.

Was it Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain who said: “It is better to remain silent at the risk of being thought a fool, than to talk and remove all doubt of it.”

In a case of bad buzz, no one is actually sure who said the above quote. What better way to prove that the wrong words can spread misinformation?

Get Into Action Instead

Now you know what not to do. Or what not to say least. If so, it’s time to move beyond the words and get into action. Thinking of expanding your marketing efforts? How about launching a remarketing strategy? Let’s show you 4 Basic Steps To Run Your First Remarketing Campaign.