Apr 10, 2019

Do You Speak Your Customers’ Language? Why B2B Marketers Should Avoid Buzzwords

Content marketing is a growing business trend, with 36% of Fortune 500 companies blogging in 2017, up from 23% in 2010.

Content marketing has grown so much because buying behavior has changed. Millennial B2B buyers are more apt to do their research online before reaching out to a salesperson. With over 70% of Millennials involved in making B2B purchase decisions, it’s important to create comprehensive content that’s readily available on your website, via social channels, and on industry websites that appeal to your niche.

However, the breadth of online content can make it difficult for your carefully crafted blog posts and marketing copy to stand out. If you’re not targeting the right keywords, or speaking the language your customers speak, prospects may not find you at all.

In this post we’ll review some common (and overused) marketing buzzwords and offer up some tips that can help you create authentic content that your customers understand.

Why it’s important to avoid clichés when writing content

Peppering your blog posts and marketing materials with cliché-oriented buzzwords is a fast track to creating poor content. Today’s savvy B2B buyer can spot a cliché a mile away. Millennials, in particular, look for authenticity and sincerity from brands and businesses and nothing kills authenticity faster than an overused cliché.

In case there’s any doubt about what I mean by cliché, here are a few examples of popular B2B marketing clichés (try not to cringe):


    • Actionable

    • Roadmap

    • Disruptor

    • Narrative

    • Impactful

    • Transform

    • Passionate

    • Visionary

Radix Communications created a handy infographic that lists commonly used B2B marketing clichés in periodic table format.

Excerpt from Radix Communications’ Periodic Table of B2B Marketing Clichés

Image Source: Radix Communications

Buzzwords and clichés don’t say anything meaningful about what you do. They won’t convince someone the benefits of working with you versus your competitor. In fact, they’ve become so homogenous, that they can act as a red flag for B2B buyers. Words like “actionable” and “passionate” say nothing about your business and what makes it special, no matter what the context is that you use them in. When writing thoughtful unique content, avoid these words like the plague.

Banish industry-specific buzzwords

Every industry has their own set of specific buzzwords that can turn good content into boilerplate jargon that doesn’t reflect the way customers actually speak.

To be clear, some level of jargon is unavoidable, but it’s important to be aware of not only overusing jargon, but of understanding when the jargon you use internally isn’t the same as the jargon your customers are using.

Jargon, while not entirely avoidable, shouldn’t replace legitimate industry-specific terms that accurately describe your company’s products or services. Whenever possible, define terms clearly or remove them altogether If there is a better alternative.

Industries such as high tech, healthcare, manufacturing, and advertising all use technical terms that people within these industries are familiar with. That doesn’t mean they’re buzzwords.

For example, in the digital marketing world, the term search engine optimization—or SEO—is common. SEO is a real service with a clear definition, and most people familiar with digital marketing will know what it means.

Even so, many people refer to search engine optimization as “search marketing” rather than SEO. While technically correct, the term, “search marketing” also refers to paid search ads (versus organic SEO). Thus, if a company wants to promote SEO services, they should make sure their content includes the terms “search marketing” and “SEO” to ensure they reach potential clients who don’t make a distinction.

Tips on finding the right words

Companies can get stuck in a jargon-rich bubble where they are constantly recycling industry buzzwords without a good understanding of how their customers describe to the products or services they offer.

There are also many examples of buzzwords that are common and used by both a company and its customers. It’s your job, as a marketer, to understand what words are the right words to use in your content.

For example, in high tech, terms such as “net neutrality,” “machine learning,” “voice recognition,” and “personalization” are understood by most people and can be useful as a foundation for blog posts and other content.

The trick when using common terms—including buzzwords—is to make sure you specify what you mean when writing about a topic. Get as specific as possible and try to include language that your customers use in addition to the buzzword. Here are a few ways you can identify the words your customers are using:


    1. Ask them: send out a survey, a follow up email, or just have a couple of questions handy to ask customers who call about how what motivated them to seek the product or service that you offer. Then write down their response. This is a great way to identify the language your customers are using (versus the language you use) and can help you identify words and phrases that you may not be Integrating into your content.


    1. Do keyword research: Keyword research tools are abound on the net. Tools such as SEMRush, Wordstream and Moz will show you keyword variations that people search for, volume of searches, and competitor activity and are a great way to help you identify not only which keywords to target, but what topics to write with.


    1. Use Google Trends: Google Trends aggregates keyword search data across various regions and languages and enables users to compare query volume over time. It’s a great (free) way to identify keyword trends so you can plan a content strategy that includes the keywords your target audience actually uses.

Comparison of the term “data visualization” versus “infographic” over the past 12 months

Image Source: Google Trends

The above example compares usage of the term “infographic” with “data visualization” over a twelve month-period. It’s clear that “Infographic” is the more widely used term, though both terms represent essentially the same thing (using images such as graphs, charts and pictures to represent data). This information could be used as the foundation for a blog post about creating visually appealing reports (for example) with a focus on the popular term “infographic” over the more technical version, “data visualization.”


Content marketing is a great way for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors, highlight the key selling points and features of their products, and motivate B2B buyers to reach out to a sales person. Thoughtfully written content that is comprehensive, free from cliché and uses buzzwords sparingly is a great way to leverage this growing digital marketing trend.

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