A few weeks ago, a friend sent me a link to a YouTube clip called “Orchestra Fail”. The audio-only clip is so funny that I nearly fell out of my chair laughing.

Did you listen to it? If so, take a moment to pull yourself back together.

When I regained normal breathing, I started to think about other things that are cringe-worthy. A lot of technology marketing cliches came to mind. These expressions have become so widely used, that you may not question them. In fact, I’m also guilty of using some of these (except numbers four and five).

Here’s my list of the five most cringe-worthy technology marketing words and phrases:

1. Solution

Everything these days is a “solution”.  From software solutions to marketing solutions to business solutions. The first problem with using the word “solution” is that it’s too generic and can often be replaced with something that describes your product or service in more tangible terms. For example, I was flipping through a furniture catalogue and saw a dining table with “folding solutions”. The copy would have made more sense if it talked about the table’s “folding leaves”.

The other problem that I have with “solution” is that marketers often use the word “solution” without first describing the problem. I’d like to know what the problem is before I learn about the “solution”.

2. Innovative

Technology thrives on innovation, so it’s understandable that tech marketers want to describe their products or services as “innovative”. However, I heard about a study in which companies that think of themselves as innovative asked their employees what they’ve innovated, and the employees couldn’t think of anything. (I’ve been searching for a link to this source and will post it as soon as I find it).

“Innovative” is a hard term to quantify, which is why it often shows up on lists of the most overused marketing phrases. Similar unquantifiable words include “leading”, “best”, “dynamic” and “unique”.

3. User

When technology companies call their customers “users”, it makes me wonder if they’re selling software or if they’re selling heroin.

4. Suspect

I recently heard a technology marketer refer to her potential customers as “suspects”. This made me wonder if she was looking for customers in a police line-up.

5. In Bed With

Some marketing and sales people say things like, “he was in bed with our client,” or “he was in bed with that idea”. I guess this means that two people are in agreement about something. However, whatever way you use this expression, it just sounds creepy.

What did I miss? This post only touches on the most cringe-worthy technology marketing phrases. Feel free to add your picks below.


4 Responses

  1. Best-of-breed. When you can’t be a Purple Cow.

  2. Industry-leading. Fine, except you actually employ just three people who work part time in a Starbucks.    

  3. Let’s add end-to-end, turn-key, platform, point solution, and market leader—and then forget ever using them.