Marketing Buzzwords Demystified

31 Oct 2019


If you have turned on the TV or engaged in social media over the past decade, you have almost certainly heard the buzz about buzzwords. They are everywhere. From politicians to celebrities to company CEOs, it seems that everyone is using buzzwords. But, what exactly are buzzwords? And what are they used for?

Let’s start with a basic definition. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a buzzword is:

1: an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen

2: a voguish word or phrase

The original point of a buzzword was to make things easier to understand and to give terms a common phrase that encompasses everything that has to do with them. Frequently, though, buzzwords are overused in an attempt to make oneself sound smarter or more impressive than they actually are.

While buzzwords may seem like a new phenomenon, they have actually been used in American English since the mid-1940s. In fact, the word buzzword was originally coined by 1940s Harvard students, to describe key words used in a lecture.

It is likely, though, that popular buzzwords from the 1940s no longer have the same meanings today. That is due to the fact that buzzwords are just a trendy party of the living language that is English. And being that it is a living language, it is constantly changing and adapting to the times.

Take the word boat, for example. In today’s culture, the word likely brings to mind images of a water vessel.  However, in the 1940s, boat was a common buzzword that referred to a large, luxurious car.

But, why do we use buzzwords?

As much as buzzwords frequently appear to just be a trendy way of speaking, they actually do have functional purposes.

In the business world, buzzwords are often used as a type of shorthand between people who are already familiar with a particular subject and do not need lengthy explanations of ideas. For example, “touchpoint” may not mean much to the average Joe, yet anyone in the customer-service industry knows that it refers to the first moment of contact a prospective customer has with your business.

Buzzwords are also a very popular sales marketing tool. And when used carefully, they can compel and convince audiences to buy a product or take a specific desired action.

Take the word “superfood,” for example. As one of the latest buzzwords in the health-food world, seeing something labeled as a “superfood” makes consumers believe that the product has some kind of magical, life-changing quality.  In reality, there are no legal qualifications for calling something a “superfood,” so it truly is just a fancy buzzword used to sell food.

What’s the buzz on marketing buzzwords?

The marketing world is full of buzzwords— some valuable and helpful, and some just fancy sounding filler words.

If you do marketing for your business, though, it’s important to know what these words mean (and be able to use them when necessary). So, to help break these words down, here is a list of the top eight buzzwords you should know:

Authority Marketing 

Authority marketing is the art of putting yourself in a position where you are the expert, or authority, on a particular subject or industry. This is an effective way of marketing because, by establishing yourself as an expert in your field, consumers will be more likely to go to you for the products or services they need. Being an authority allows you to dominate your competition.

Branded Content

Branded content is the strategy of putting the focus on the value of your brand, instead of on the actual products themselves. Branded content uses the emotions of consumers to make them feel a certain connection with a specific brand, motivating them to be loyal to it.

Branded Journalism

Much like branded content, branded journalism differs from traditional advertising methods. However, branded journalism focuses on building stories to highlight a company or organization’s value. Through branded journalism, companies can build trust and establish themselves as an authority with their audience.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing focuses on the strategy of creating and putting out valuable and relevant content, and then letting the content do your marketing for you. Content marketing can refer to anything from social media posts and YouTube videos to blogs and newsletters. Content marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it focuses on what the consumer wants or needs, instead of the actual product that is being offered.

Long-form content

Long-form content is basically just what it sounds like: content that is lengthy, comprehensive, and detailed. While shorter, more concise articles used to be considered “best practice,” it has actually been proven that long-form content generates more leads than shorter articles and improves a site’s rankings.  Long-form content is also viewed as being more authoritative and generally gets more shares (which, in turn, translates into more views to your site).

Native Advertising

Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look and feel of the forum in which they appear. Native ads frequently appear in social media feeds or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike traditional ads, native ads don’t really look like ads. They are made to match the editorial flow of a page, so that the reader is getting a subtle view of what is being advertised, instead of a disruptive in-your-face kind of ad.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)


SEO refers to a collection of marketing tactics used to organically increase the quality and quantity of traffic to a website by increasing the position of the website in search results on Google, or other search engines. In other words, the better your SEO, the higher you will rank, and the more likely that your website will be viewed.

Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is all about using your experience and expertise to consistently answer the questions that are on the minds of your target audience. While being unique is a great selling point, thought leadership focuses more on giving the best answers and solutions to your customers on a consistent basis. By presenting your deep knowledge on a subject, you allow your audience to get to know you, and add credibility to your brand.

Jennifer Rizzo 
Jennifer Rizzo is a Denver based writer with a background in Healthcare, International Tour Management, Genealogical Research, and a passion for travel and languages. She studied Spanish at the University of Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico and also lived and studied in Ancona, Italy. After spending nearly a decade working in the health care field, Jennifer has a well-rounded knowledge of hospital functionality, medical terminology, and disease processes. She has extended work experience with government medical benefits as well as Social Security law, which has allowed her to fine-tune her ability to sort through large amounts of medical records, research, and data, and turn that information into well written reports and case briefs. Since joining The Writers for Hire, Jennifer has written on vast array of topics and has done many in-depth ancestry research and family tree projects. She has worked as Project Manager for various client websites and RFPs, as well as other projects. She enjoys working closely with clients, and loves any opportunity that allows her to indulge her creative side.

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