While marketing buzzwords keep us excited about our favorite topic, we need to face up to terms that have over-stayed their welcome. We compiled this list of out-of-date offenders based on terms we’ve seen used repeatedly over the years and, in our opinion, far too often. While we certainly condone the techniques or marketing mindsets these buzzwords represent, it’s time to adapt to more accurate terminology. Which buzzwords would you add to this list?


This term refers to entertainment that also represents a brand message. These ads masquerade as movies, online shows and podcasts, but we can all see the logo. It’s great to entertain audiences with a brand message—we recommend it—but maybe it’s time to stop calling it “advertainment” like nobody’s the wiser.

Content Marketing

These days, it’s not uncommon to receive party planning advice from a greeting card company or a comedy show from a breakfast cereal. An informative article or video can be helpful for gaining an audience and establishing your brand as an expert, but at this point, “content marketing” is starting to lose its meaning.

Anything “-centric”

Mobile-centric, data-centric . . . focusing on a particular market or marketing platform can be the key to a successful campaign. Creating an emphasis is always a good idea, but the suffix “-centric” has got to go.


You shouldn’t need to call it real. While this is perhaps the most important element of any marketing campaign, this buzzword has been used so much, it causes even the most hardened marketers to cringe. Audiences can tell when brands are insincere, so authentic messages should come standard.

Big Data

When this term was first coined, it referred to massive amounts of information that were simply too much to handle without computer assistance. But these days, all data is big. It’s a good year to retire this one.


This one has been on “buzzwords to kill” lists for a long time and we’re surprised to still see it. Being an expert in your field is a great thing, but calling yourself or your brand a guru can come across as pretentious. Unless consumers are hiring Sherpas to guide them to your brand’s headquarters atop a mysterious mountain on a quest for sage wisdom, we can all do without this overused buzzword.

Thought Leader

This is meant to imply influence, but calling your brand a “thought leader” implies that you’re either the first one to think of everything you do or you have the ability to control thoughts. You don’t have to be the first, but you can strive to be the best.

Millennials (And Their Brand Casualties)

Every generation is compelled to shake off the traditions of their parents while being influenced by the changing world around them. That being the case, it should no longer be news that millennials, aka generation Y likes to do things differently, much less that they use the technology available to them. Businesses who adapt to each new generation continue to thrive and those who don’t, well . . . don’t. It’s time to stop blaming this generation for every business closure.

VR That Is Not Actually VR

Virtual reality is the total immersion of a user inside a rendered environment, allowing them to navigate and interact with objects within that world. As this lucrative technology graduates from infancy to experimental toddler, audiences have a better understanding of what constitutes VR versus other mediums. It’s more than okay to create 360-video or watch a screen through VR headsets, but it should no longer be acceptable to call something VR when it’s not.

Snackable Content

Short-form video or brief social media posts can often make a strong impact, and it’s a good idea not to bombard audiences with too much content at once. Calling a marketing strategy “snackable,” however, makes the message sound small and insignificant . . .  or made of potato chips.

Viral Marketing

Everyone wants their clever video ad to be shared millions of times, but here’s the problem—there is no such thing as viral marketing. Marketing clients ask for it by name, but calling your marketing campaign “viral” is like giving yourself your own nickname. Clients don’t know better, but marketers do. Preemptively calling a campaign viral is, at best, patting yourself on the back too early and at worst, making decisions for your audience. Crafting a marketing campaign that gets audiences talking is great —just hold off on calling it viral until you’re blown away by the results.