Marketing Terms No One Wants To Hear In 2013

by RyanJ
7 replies
First... this isn't my article it came from, written by Jeff Haden. Now that I read this I am at a loss of what to say now...:p Not really.

Samples are helpful. Demos are often effective. But what is the primary tool used to convince potential customers to buy?


Whether spoken or written, words make sales happen.

Or not.

Too many salespeople (and marketers and advertisers) use the same words to describe their products and services. Pretend I'm a potential customer or client.

Here's how I react when you use the following words:

"Customer focused."

Talk about redundant; should you be anything but customer focused?

If your goal is to imply that other providers are not customer focused, tell me how: Faster response time, greater availability, customized processes or systems... tell me in concrete terms how you will meet my specific needs. (If you don't know my needs and therefore can't address them, shame on you.)

"Best in class."

There are two problems with that phrase: Who defined your "class," and who determined you were the "best" in it?

My guess is you did.

Still, maybe you really are that awesome. So prove it. Describe your accomplishments, awards, results, etc.

As a customer I don't need best in class, I need best for me--so tell me, in objective terms, how you can provide the best value for my needs.

"Low-hanging fruit."

You say, "We'll start with the low-hanging fruit." I hear, "We'll start with really easy stuff you are too stupid to recognize or too lazy to do yourself."

No one wants to hear they have low-hanging fruit. Just describe, in cost/benefit terms, how you prioritized your list of projects or activities.

"Exceed expectations."

That's admirable goal, and one every business should aspire to, but exceeding expectations is an internal goal. Tell me you will exceed expectations and exceeded expectations instantly becomes my expectation. (I know that's kinda Zen.)

Tell me what you will do, every time. If you consistently pull that off, I'll be delighted.

Always let the customer judge whether you go above and beyond.


The ever-increasing pace of commoditization means few products or services have no like or equal for long. If I'm considering hiring your firm or buying your products, "unique" (like "exclusive") sounds good but describes nothing.

Instead tell me, in concrete terms, how you are better.

"Value added."

This term is often used to imply I'll get something for no or very little incremental cost. That means what I will receive isn't value added--it's part of the overall deal.

So tell me the deal, explain all the options and add-ons, and help me figure out how I can take full advantage of what you provide.


Margaret Thatcher once said, "Power is like being a lady; if you have to say you are, you aren't." Show your expertise instead.

"Social media expert" often reads as "We have Twitter and Facebook accounts and even know how to use them!"

"Implemented social media campaigns for ACME that generated..." lets potential customers evaluate your level of expertise and your suitability for their needs.


Experience is only a partial indicator of expertise. If you're a contractor you may have built 100 homes... but that doesn't mean you did a good job.

Any reference to experience should immediately quantify that experience.

"Exceptional ROI."

We all seek a return on investments and we all love a great ROI. But without access to my numbers you can't accurately calculate my ROI. Therefore your estimates are either theoretical or based on another customer's results. Either way, I know your estimates are incredibly optimistic and that my results will definitely vary.

"Provides an exceptional ROI" reads as "'re a terrible businessperson if you don't do this."

Show the costs, don't hide anything, and trust me to calculate my own ROI. If I'm not smart enough to do so, I probably don't have purchase authority anyway.


Long-term business relationships are great, but we will never be partners because while your hand will reach into my pocket, my hand will never reach into yours.

Still, maybe one day I will see you as a quasi-partner... but that's something I will decide on my own based on your performance, not on your marketing.


I love a turn-key solution as much as the next guy, but few solutions truly are.

No matter how comprehensive the offering I always wind up participating more than I was led to expect, so when I hear "turn key" I'm naturally skeptical... that is, unless you thoroughly break down what you will provide and what my participation will be, both during implementation and after.

Turn-key is in the eye of the beholder.

The customer is always the beholder.
#2013 #hear #marketing #terms
  • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
    Not sure any UK business has ever wanted to hear this kind of drivel.

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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Got to admit these are fun. I thought it might be fun for each of us to tell his or her thoughts when they hear each.

    "Customer focused."

    This is like well "duh". I would hope you are customer focused. This one just screams BS. Literally makes me think I will get bad service from a company if they use it.

    "Best in class."

    This one I actually like but believe it needs to be backed up. "Best in class MPG" for example. I believe it works best in the auto industry and may not be worth using anywhere else. Being a car guy I like it. But may be better stated as "Class Leading".

    "Low-hanging fruit."

    This line has always been a business BS line but the idea behind it is sound. It is the 80/20 rule. I think it is much better to discuss the 80/20 rule vs use this "line". But I wouldn't mind it if it is clear the business or person using it will go into detail vs. just using it as a catchphrase.

    "Exceed expectations."

    This one I find most on resumes. It's an old classic. When you cna provide numbers. 97% customer satifaction rating sounds better.


    Nothing is really unique but I don't think the term is worthless. But if you have to use the word itself maybe what you are showing isn't really unique. Good copy can make a common feature sound more unique than calling something unique.

    "Value added."

    This always means to me "we are charging you more for _____ rather you want it or not". I personally don't like bonuses. If I want it price it right and make it an upsale.


    Show you are an expert. Let others call you an expert. But try to avoid calling yourself one.

    A side note to this is when you do JV try to make you "bio" sound like something the person would actually say vs. being something you clearly wrote to promote yourself. Maybe not everyone notices but i do and it gets to be kinda lame.


    This is one I hear in interviews. Honestly just tell me what you did and I will see you have great experience. Seasoned was lame 30 years ago.

    "Exceptional ROI."

    As always show the numbers. Show what you did for someone else. I see this phrase a lot in SEO spam I get all the time.


    This is touchy feely and may work for certain people. For me it is a turn off. I don't want a partner. Hell I clearly don't even want an employee if I am using your company vs. hiring someone. Partner comes off as what is in it for you vs what is in it for me.


    Overused as hell in the IM niche. And in the real world do we really want turn-key? No we either hired you as a service to do it for us in which case get it done. or we bought your product and expect it to work. And honestly you will not believe how often the stuff provided to businesses doesn't even do that.

    I am a big believer that whenever possible buy a high quality consumer product vs one aimed at business. They simply end up working better because they are aimed at more people.

    But certain solutions you can't avoid this (aka there is no consumer version) so expect to be disappointed. Hell expect to have an employee who ends up spending 25% plus of their time dealing with the tech support dept of said solution.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      "Paradigm" ; I once dropped a man down a well for saying the word "Paradigm".:rolleyes:

      "Take it to the next level". Man, it sounds like something, doesn't it? It's not.

      "Pull the trigger" The last time I heard that...I pulled the trigger.

      "Irregardless" Not a word. Sorry.

      'He get's it" In the Dan Kennedy world, we say that someone "Get's it" when he/she completely drinks the Kool-Aid. Usually "Getting it" involves paying a lot of money in to join coaching group.

      "USP". Nearly everyone in business thinks they have one. And they think its clever. I was in a seminar where everyone in the audience had to make up an "elevator speech" to describe what they did. They usually contained words like "maximize consumer awareness" and "Optimize brand recognition" ..Blah...blah..blah. Things that nobody on the planet would ever really say in a conversation. They called on me. I said "I sell $800 vacuum cleaners for $399".

      I wasn't "getting it". But I was. The seminar guy made the mistake of asking me why I had such an ordinary product based USP (for my retail store). He made the mistake of thinking I didn't understand, and his tone conveyed it.

      Claude the jerk said "Every single example given so far is a lie. Nobody would ever really say these things to another human being. And if they did, they would just get a stare, because they don't give a reason to buy. Me? I want to sell vacuum cleaners. And when I say "I sell $800 vacuum cleaners for $399", guess what? Sometimes they buy a vacuum cleaner."

      End of rant.
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      • Profile picture of the author mak25
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Claude the jerk said "Every single example given so far is a lie. Nobody would ever really say these things to another human being. And if they did, they would just get a stare, because they don't give a reason to buy. Me? I want to sell vacuum cleaners. And when I say "I sell $800 vacuum cleaners for $399", guess what? Sometimes they buy a vacuum cleaner."

        End of rant.
        Claude, along with John D, I just love your style. Your unique world class style has got to make you the world's best. Irregardless of what others may say.

        Seriously though, your posts always makes me think, or makes me smile.

        I hope neither one of you retires from this forum.

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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          I don't know how much this is a marketing term...but the word "Legit" just scrapes my eardrums.

          People who just got out of prison say "Legit".
          Pimps say "Legit". It's right up there with shiv and shank.

          Con men in court say "Legit".

          If you ever want to convey that you are guilty of misrepresentation...just say that your offer is "Legit".

          Every greasy, shifty, low life says "Legit".

          Please, my fellow human beings...stop saying it.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Durham
    I dont care about unique, dont reinvent the wheel. Tell me what other people are doing thats working. Lets do THAT.

    "Customer focused."

    Dont insult my intelligence.

    "Value added."

    Dont you mean "Bonus"? Can we just speak English please?


    Okay, well I have another meeting, why dont you just give me your business card and I will give you a call when Im in the market. Nice to meet you..... "turn key". ROTFLMAO.


    Arent we all....sigh. I have 100 apps in front of me an everyone of them is the single most preeminent expert on the planet.

    "Best in class."

    Thats always word play, but sure, I'll bite...Who's class? (This ought to be interesting).

    "Low-hanging fruit."

    I like that one...but first, "what kind of low hanging fruit are we talking about? Do you see some that I dont?"
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by John Durham View Post

      I dont care about unique, dont reinvent the wheel. Tell me what other people are doing thats working. Lets do THAT.

      "Best in class."

      Thats always word play, but sure, I'll bite...Who's class? (This ought to be interesting).
      I hear people say "Unique". I was at a Dan Kennedy event years ago and a guy at my table said in a "I'm special" kind of way "I have a Unique Marketing Program that takes marketing to the next level".

      We were all speakers at the table. And I shouldn't have said this but....
      "I also have a unique marketing program. In fact, is there anyone at this table that does NOT have a unique marketing program that takes marketing to the next level?" Again, I shouldn't have said it. Maybe it was the salad.

      I hear "World Class". In fact, I use it myself. That really means "I don't think you'll be impressed with my list of accomplishments. So I hereby appoint myself "World Class".

      From the stage once, I heard the speaker say "I'm the world's greatest...(Whatever it was). Someone in the audience yelled, "Who says you're the greatest?"

      He said "The world's foremost authority in the field...I do, and that's a marketing lesson in itself". I applauded.
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