Posted by Kristine Jacobson

Seasoned marketers will relate: we’ve gathered phrases about marketing we hear often that just make us cringe.
We know it can’t be helped—especially for clients and industry newbies—so we hide the cringe on the inside. They’ll learn, and one day, they’ll cringe when they hear these things, too.
This topic became quite a rambunctious discussion at a recent CMG roundtable and throughout our various social media channels. Did we miss any?

They don’t know any better, but still cringeworthy

It’s a given—if you work in marketing, you have definitely heard one or more of these quite often from clients. They are hiring us because they are not experts, and we are here to support and educate. It doesn’t mean we don’t cringe (inwardly) when we hear the dreaded words spoken.

  • “We don’t have any competitors.”

  • “We just need a ‘short’ piece … about 3,000 words or so.”

  • “Our previous agency did it, why don’t you?"

  • “Can’t you just make it ‘pop’?”

  • “We like both concepts so let’s combine them.”

  • “We just want it to be different.” From what??!!??

  • “Can you design that in Word so I can edit it on my own?”

  • “Marketing and sales are the same thing, right?”

  • “I have a simple project.”

  • “This shouldn't take too long.” (Unfortunately I have been known to say this … frequently)

  • “This project is a huge opportunity for you.”

  • “Let's barter.”

  • “My website just needs some minor updates.”

  • “I want to look like Apple.”

  • “I made my logo in Word.”

  • “How do we make this go viral?”

  • “I want to rank for all the vanity metrics.”

  • “Do you think we should boost that post?”

  • “If I Google myself (Or company) often, will I show up on the first page?”

  • “I used a logo generator.”

  • “Can we just buy followers?”

  • “Where can I get an engagement Bot?”

  • “Marketing emails don’t work, I delete all the ones sent to me.”

  • “Let’s pause this campaign.” (that’s been running 2 days)

  • “I studied marketing in college."

  • "Marketing doesn't work in our industry."

  • "The product sells itself."

  • “I don’t believe in buyer journey mapping.”

  • "I want this campaign and how you design it to be very subtle yet dynamic and creative."

  • "We are the leading provider of...." insert any geeky tech jargon that resonates with the founder but is unintelligible to the target audience.

  • “We don’t need research to tell us what we already know.”

  • "It's not gonna work. We tried that before."

  • “Can you just make it look pretty?”

  • “Just call Google.” to have a bad review removed

  • “I can’t afford 5 color printing.” but their logo is PMS 021

  • “Please, anyone can do marketing.”

Cringeworthy industry talk (we’re probably guilty of saying these at one time…)

We shouldn’t be surprised that we are hearing some of these more and more—IZEA research shows 44 percent of U.S. internet users ages 18-29 consider themselves to be social media influencers.

  • “I consider myself an influencer.”

  • “Content is king.”

  • “This is my side-hustle.”

  • “I'm just gigging it.”

  • “I’m a content creator.” has only played in Canva

  • “I would love to network with you.” so, just do it!

  • “I’m a social media guru (or expert).”

Sigh, the dreaded cringe-y meeting lingo (not just marketing, but definitely cringe-y)

Let’s face it—meetings are cringe-worthy in themselves. Top it with some grimace-inducing phrasing, and it’s downright painful. This list could go on forever, but we capped it to save our writer’s hands from carpal tunnel.

  • “Let's go after the low-hanging fruit.”

  • “We are navigating the new normal.”

  • “Let's circle back on that.”

  • “This will definitely move the needle.”

  • “We've got to manage the optics on that.”

  • “How do we raise the bar?”

  • “We need to stay top of mind.”

  • “Is this buzzworthy?”

    Some phrases make us cringe more than others—but it’s all in fun. Let’s end with some cringeworthy cliches:

    Remember, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” It can be “an uphill battle” to avoid cringeworthy talk. “It’s better to be safe than sorry”—so “play your cards right” and show them “what you bring to the table.”

    Did we miss any? Or was this “a dead ringer?”


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Conveyance Marketing Group is a team of bright, innovative and talented veteran marketers dedicated to big ideas, fresh insights and measurable results. We pride ourselves on taking challenging marketing issues and turning them into opportunities for our clients, on pointing brands in the right direction, and on getting our customers noticed both online and off. From branding to websites to digital marketing, and public relations, we handle all your marketing communication needs!  | Brand Strategy | Inbound Marketing | Social Media | SEO | PR


Kristine Jacobson

Kristine Jacobson

Kristine Jacobson has more than 25 years of marketing and communications experience with notable corporate leaders as well as emerging market contenders. She offers expert marketing strategy with a touch of creative flair. Her extensive knowledge of strategic marketing, marketing plan execution, and branding illuminate the big picture without losing sight of the details.