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Words to Ban from Your Marketing

October 19, 2018

When it comes to slang and clich├ęs, teenagers are always working hard. The problem is, “cutting-edge” (see what I did there) words and phrases die a fast death. Before you know it, octogenarians are using words like “lit” and “fam,” and both of you sound like clowns — and nobody likes clowns (go ahead, change my mind).

In business, it’s just as bad. Language matters. The words you use – in-person and print – are essential. Relying on overused words and phrases so often they become meaningless isn’t a good look. You run the risk of not being taken seriously, or worse yet, written off as a tired hack. Sloppy, hackneyed grammar and vocabulary can break you.

The words you use – in-person and print – are essential.

Below are words, broken into two categories, you should stop saying. Feel free to challenge me on any of my “marketing buzzwords and phrases that need to go away.” I’ve made a couple of mistakes in my life which may be in words listed below.


If you’re using these words, you’re probably exaggerating. Your product or service is likely none of these things. And trust me, we all know it. You do too, but you’re too busy filling space and time with unnecessary words to think about it their significance.

  • Market-leading
  • Best-in-class / World-class
  • State-of-the-art
  • Cutting-edge
  • Industry-standard
  • Innovative
  • Revolutionary / Pioneering
  • Amazing, stunning, fantastic, ultimate, excellent
  • Next-generation / NextGen


The Cringeworthy category is my favorite. When someone uses these words, I struggle to not laugh in his or her face. Now, I’m not saying I haven’t said them before – and recently – but it was only to be ironic. I’d unpack that for you, but I’d have to laugh at myself.

  • Engagement
  • Outside the Box
  • Touch Base
  • Ping
  • Bandwidth
  • Low Hanging Fruit
  • Unpack
  • Viral
  • Synergy
  • Monetize


Millennials, I genuinely feel bad for you. Your generational descriptor has become an epithet. You’re not all bad, just like not all Baby Boomers are good. So let’s stop trying to appeal to “millennials” as one big group. It’s the equivalent of trying to appeal to all Americans: it can’t be done. Just ask any politician. Meanwhile, we Gen Xers will be here doing all the work while everybody talks about you.