Are you tired of your boss using boring buzzwords to talk about basic topics?

Are you stuck in a conundrum because your CV sounds too primitive?

Are you looking for some cool buzzwords to jazz up your start-up’s pitch deck?

You have come to just the right place. At EngageBay, we constantly get asked these questions. As we will see, buzzwords have a lot of unconventional uses.

But, at the same time, some people attach a negative connotation to “buzzwords”. If you are one of the skeptics, I’d invite you to stick around to see if this article can change your mind about them.

Buzzwords Definition

A buzzword is defined as a word or phrase that appears authoritative or technical and sounds in “vogue” in a particular profession, a field of study, culture, etc.

Note that we use a buzzword to sound “authoritative”, meaning that it gives a grand impression of the speaker. It suggests that the speaker may not actually be an expert, but the usage of the buzzword makes them sound like an expert. So, we can, sometimes, call them ‘smart business words’.

Another important indicator of a buzzword is that it’s popular or in vogue  (hence the “buzz” in “buzzword”). The colloquial usage of the word “buzzword” is slang.

Some business consulting buzzwords do not leave a good impression on anyone due to overuse. These would be the buzzwords to avoid. Others are used acceptably as business catchphrases.

Why are Buzzwords important?

When talking to senior leaders in any industry, you may hear such words that you have never heard before. To the speakers, these are smart business words. For first-time listeners though, these are buzzwords that mostly sound like confusing jargon.

Apart from conversations, buzzwords can also benefit you when seeking entry into a new industry or applying for your first job. Just use some buzzwords in the resume and you will also begin to sound like an expert. Do not use buzzwords that are not applicable in your scenario. Avoid buzzwords that are too technical for you to understand.

Buzzwords in a digital agency’s marketing copy also have the same effect. It helps them connect with their potential clients, who are often C-level executives.

In this article, we will list and explain the meaning of some of the most common buzzwords from marketing, sales, and customer service.

Top Marketing Buzzwords in 2020

  • Buyer (or Customer) Personas
  • Syncing with Other Messengers
  • Attribution models
  • Path length
  • Contextual marketing
  • Psychographic Segmentation
  • Evergreen content
  • Micro-moments
  • UTM parameters
  • Micro/Macro conversions
  • Growth Hacking

Some of the most important terms in marketing management also include email marketing buzzwords. Because certain buzzwords tend to lose appeal due to overuse, we have not included marketing buzzwords to avoid in this section.

You do not need a marketing background to understand these tech and marketing buzzwords. However. exposure to elementary digital marketing terminology will definitely be helpful.

Buyer (or Customer) Personas

A buyer persona describes challenges, decision-making strategy, and fears and motivations of a customer group.

A typical buyer persona may look like this:

Customer/Buyer Persona is one of the key marketing buzzwords

This persona will contain demographic details, intrinsic motivations, and their decision-making patterns.

Marketers will use this document to make marketing communication relevant and personalized. Buyer personas form the basis of the work of several departments. It helps them bake customer-centricity into your company’s products/services.

Usually, marketers use buyer persona templates and customize them based on their own requirements. A detailed research phase adds insights to create a comprehensive marketing customer persona.

In a B2B transaction, the buying decision is in the hands of a team of individuals. Each member takes a different responsibility. Each member may potentially have unique priorities for their purchase. In such cases, it makes sense to create separate buyer personas for each member of the decision-making team. This will help marketers target them individually with a personalized marketing communication strategy.

Don’t confuse customer personas with customer segments. Both are complementary and essential for precise targeting.

Customer segments include non-descriptive demographic facts – age, location, gender, ethnicity, etc. Email lists go under a transformation based on customer segmentation rules.

When creating user personas, marketers predict customer needs and motivations through research. They add descriptive data to enable personalized targeting. In many ways, personas are the ‘active component‘ of segments.

Attribution models

Attribution models help present a holistic picture of conversion events. They help marketers understand which channels are attracting the most customers efficiently.

Attribution models are rules that help decide the percentage of contribution of each touchpoint to the final sale. Marketers can then measure the impact of their investment and optimize their marketing budgets.

Attribution models can be simple – first-click, last-click, or linear attributions. They can also be complex:

  • Time decay (touchpoint closer to the sale time gets more credit)
  • U-shaped (first and last touchpoint share equal credit, all other touchpoints share equal credit)
  • Algorithmic or data-driven attribution (dynamic attribution, based on machine learning algorithms)

It’s important to understand that customers can use a wide variety of touchpoints. Attribution modeling is a complex process where the “holy grail result” is far from reachable.

Path length

Google Analytics provides a wide variety of conversion reports. To track multi-touchpoint conversions, you would use the Multi-Channel Funnels option. Path Length is a type of conversion report for multi-channel funnels in Google Analytics.

Path Length is a marketing buzzword that can be considered a jargon

The Path Length report will track the number of conversions v/s the number of user interactions for each path length. It helps understand an optimal path length for conversions on your website.

For example, if most users saw your ad 3 times, then the number of interactions (I.e. path length) is 3. If the revenue drops significantly for greater than a path length, use frequency caps to limit the path length. Frequency caps limit the most number of times a user will see your ad.

Contextual marketing

Imagine you saw a local ad for Christmas Sweaters on sale. The same ad will convert better if it aired on December 20 than if it aired on November 20.

Ever wondered – why this happens?

As we get closer to Christmas, the deadline gets closer. In other words, the “context” of Christmas intensifies in our minds as we get closer to December 25. So, an ad airing on December 20 can capitalize on this context and sell more than an ad aired on November 20.

Extrapolate this idea and you get contextual marketing. It’s the central tenet of all successful inbound marketing. It simply means serving ads to those people who want to buy similar products.

The simplest example of this is ads on Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page). You see ads based on the keywords you searched for.

A cookie can also live on the user’s computer to track their activity. the ad service provider then reads this cookie to recreate a behavioral profile (i.e. “context”). This becomes the context to show personalized ads specific to the user. This is contextual advertising or contextual marketing.

The goal here is to not show irrelevant ads and thus make ads seem natural.

Psychographic Segmentation

This technique focuses on answering questions about the target audience group that connect you to their heart and soul. It goes beyond the question of “how they will respond” to help you understand “why they will respond this way”.

Some psychographic factors used for such segmentation include:

  • Values
  • Motivations
  • Priorities
  • Lifestyles
  • Personality Traits

These factors help form an emotional and personal connection with the users. The net effect is stronger buyer personas and better contextual marketing strategies.

Evergreen content

Evergreen content stays popular (i.e. “fresh”) long after publishing. It is the type of content that retains relevance over a long period of time (ideally “always”). As a result, evergreen content pieces, once ranked well, will draw in a lot of traffic consistently.

Some examples of evergreen content include:

Note that “evergreen content” doesn’t mean “always popular content”. It can also mean “seasonally popular content” such as those related to Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas.

Investing in evergreen content opens up a Pandora’s Box of conversion opportunities. This makes it a very powerful content marketing strategy. From a single evergreen content, you could link to more “focused” topics to distribute the traffic all throughout your website. You could also sell products or share lead magnets on this single piece of content.

Micro-moments

The Micro-Moments model was first proposed by Google in 2015. It prescribes 4 distinct types of highly-focused, intent-filled interactions called “moments”. During these moments, consumers want to instantly fulfill their needs. While smartphones are not specified as the device of choice, this model addresses needs in the mobile marketing realm.

Depending on the type of visitor need they represent, Micro-Moments have 4 types:

  • I-want-to-know moments: When the visitor wants to know something instantly but may not buy something
  • I-want-to-go moments: When the visitor wants to locate a business with an intent to visit them or buy from them.
  • I-want-to-do moments: When the visitor wants to complete a task or is doing something new
  • I-want-to-buy moments: When the visitor is ready to buy but needs help in deciding what to buy or how to buy

If brands satisfy customers’ needs during these micro-moments, they become a favorite for the customers. Hence, these moments become “preference-shaping”.

UTM parameters

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. Urchin was the predecessor of Google Analytics.

UTM parameters are custom name/value pairs appended at the end of any URL. Through these parameters, you can supply extra (string) data for use in source tracking. Google Analytics uses these parameters to measure the performance of different traffic sources.

You can also code your website to provide source-specific user experience with UTM parameters.

For example, the URL example.com/homepage with UTM parameters “source” and “campaign” attached to it may look like this:

https://www.example.com/homepage?utm_source=instagram&utm_campaign=sponsored

The value of the “source” parameter is “instagram” and that of the “campaign” parameter is “sponsored”.

The mandatory construction rules for UTM parameters are as follows:

  • The names of both parameters must follow the string “utm_”.
  • The parameters follow to the original URL with a “?” sign
  • The parameters follow each other with a “&” sign.

Micro/Macro conversions

Conversions can be further divided into two subtypes: Macro Conversions and Micro Conversions.

Macro conversions are the main (revenue-generating) goals of a website. For example, buying a product, creating a booking, or making a donation.

We want these macro conversions as many times as possible. But we all know, consumers are too smart to empty their pockets on the first visit. So, the frequency of macro conversions is lower than micro conversions.

To buy something, the user will visit one or more product pages. When they decide to buy, they first move the item to the cart. Finally, it culminates in payment confirmation. All these are milestones in the buying process – also called Micro Conversions.

In the series of actions mentioned above, actions such as viewing product pages or adding an item to the wishlist (or the comparison tool) are not necessarily a step toward a purchase. It’s a type of micro conversion also called the secondary action.

Growth Hacking

Growth Hacking is a relatively new technique where marketers commit to growth as their “north star“. This means that every campaign they run and every strategy they execute helps the company grow.

Growth Hackers have highly-focused growth-oriented thinking. Using this skill, they help early-stage startups achieve quick, transformative growth spurts on low budgets.

Growth Hacking uses smarter alternatives such as precisely-targeted ads, brand building through social media, or viral marketing. These measures build upon existing growth techniques to overcome the challenges of small businesses.

“Instead of bludgeoning the public with ads or dominating the front page of a newspaper to drive awareness, they [Growth Hackers] use a scalpel, precise and targeted to a specific audience.” – Ryan Holiday, Writer, Media Strategist, CEO @ Brass Check.

Dave McClure’s “AARRR Framework” (also known as the Pirate Funnel) gives a really simple way to start hacking the growth of your own business.

If you want to read more, Melanie Balke has a great post about it on her Medium blog. Ward van Gasteren also has a nifty guide to the Pirate Funnel on his website.

Common Sales Buzzwords in 2020

  • Bluebird
  • Brag Book
  • Deal Flow
  • Gatekeeper
  • Buying Signals
  • Emotional Sale / Intellectual Sale
  • Land and Expand
  • Puppy Dog Close
  • Sandbagging
  • Tire Kicker
  • Whale / White-Whale

Terminology among sales professionals tends to be more informal rather than technical. The sales buzzwords in this section will help you find your way into conversations where you would be an outside witness.

Bluebird

A Bluebird is a highly lucrative sale where the lead came in unexpectedly and the sale went through without much effort.

This usually happens when a lot of factors come together for an instant or minimal-effort close. But no sale is that simple. Bluebirds are usually a result of great word-of-mouth which tipped the scales irreversibly in your favor.

Brag Book

A Brag Book is a tool that senior sales professionals use to negotiate better salaries or to prove performance in critical job interviews.  A company-level Brag Book (in B2B sales) can function as a “leave-behind” document so your leads can ponder over your performance in your absence.

It takes a lot of time and effort to create a brag book. It’s a personalized way to communicate your successes to potential clients. If designed correctly, it can also be a branding tool. In all scenarios, a Brag Book will definitively set your offering apart from your competitors.

Technically speaking, a Brag Book can contain:

  • Costs saved
  • Awards received (internal and external)
  • Sales Goals achieved or exceeded (consistently!)
  • Resource Realignments

To personalize the Brag Book, you can add cutouts of real testimonials, case studies, or pictures from satisfied customers (taken with consent).

A Brag Book should not contain any confidential or private information, nor any pay stubs.

Deal Flow

Deal Flow is the rate of incoming leads. It’s a rather informal term/slang used to indicate the general state of the business. If Deal Flow is high, it means that the business is good.

The Deal Flow can be further qualified by the type of leads obtained. For example, if most of the leads in a specific month are from SaaS companies, we can say that the SaaS industry dominated the Deal Flow in that month.

Gatekeeper

To get time with the decision-maker, the Gatekeeper has to examine your pitch and see if it’s worth the decision-maker to spend time on. A Gatekeeper restricts access to decision-makers and filters spurious deals or not-so-genuine salespeople.

The executive assistant of the most critical decision-maker has traditionally been the Gatekeeper. But a high-ranking official in the decision-making team can also be an unofficial Gatekeeper. For example, if the CFO is the Gatekeeper, your offering must first seem profitable or at least make financial sense to them.

Even the B2C market often has Gatekeepers in the form of close friends or life partners.

Buying Signals

Buying signals are the prospect’s actions that show their readiness to buy. Usually, it means that they’ve evaluated your solution and/or have shortlisted you. Some times buying signals may also mean that they’ve finalized your offer and are ready to begin negotiations.

Some widely-exhibited buying signals include:

  • Detailed queries about the payment and service dates
  • Specific questions about the benefits
  • Questions exploring the nitty-gritty (terms and conditions) of the deal

Emotional Sale / Intellectual Sale

When you stoke positive or negative emotions in the prospect as a method to make a sale, it’s called an Emotional Sale. The idea behind such a sale is that humans often first make emotional decisions to buy and then use logic to justify the purchase.

Once the prospect has decided in your favor, the rest of the steps tend to be a formality. This method generates a certain level of trust. So, keeping true to your promises is very critical throughout the execution.

Intellectual Sale is opposite to Emotional Sale. Here, the salesperson uses logic to present their own solution as unbeatable. This is a more formal method of selling where the salesperson uses logical arguments to convince the decision-maker(s).

Research the entire decision-making team through their personal profiles and professional endeavors. This will give an idea about which of the two approaches (or both) will work with them.

Land and Expand

Land and Expand means to close a deal with a brand new client and use upselling or cross-selling to expand the billing. The idea is to first gain the trust of a customer through a sale. Then you must identify the deeper needs of their business and pitch more products/services to offer.

Note that expansion may not always happen immediately. In fact, several clients will wait for their trust to be solidified for the first few months, before they want to buy something else from you.

Expansion, also, may not always mean the sale of your own products/services. It may also mean taking more control of an existing deal or selling a partner’s products/services with/without being directly involved.

Puppy Dog Close

Sometimes the prospect isn’t sure how (or if) your product/service will be beneficial to them. In such scenarios, salespeople will allow them to use the item without obligations. They can use the product/service for free for a specific period of time. They can also return it and get their money back it if they don’t see the benefits before a certain period.

The origin of this close is a pet store technique of letting the customer buy a pup which their child likes. They also provide a ‘no-questions-asked’ refund if they wish to return the puppy within the first month. Hence, the name “Puppy Dog Close”.

It works because the sellers have confidence in their product. Like the child wouldn’t want to part ways with a cute pup, a customer wouldn’t want to return a product with clear benefits.

Sandbagging

If you have already finished your quota for the month, you would want to push “ready-to-close” deals to the next month’s quota. This becomes sandbagging of the deals.

Ideally, you would want to have enough deals in the final stages so that you can close a few extra deals in the current month (for incentives). You can sandbag the rest of the deals for next month’s quota.

Tire Kicker

The goal of any salesperson is to close the deal as early as possible. If your lead has a genuine need but their requirement isn’t immediate or they can’t afford you, such a lead is a “tire-kicker”.

Occasionally, you would contact a person in the organization who doesn’t have the authority to buy. They would only keep on asking the questions but there would be no buying signals from them. Such a lead is also a tire-kicker in a way because talking more to them will only waste more time and not lead anywhere significant.

Whale / White-Whale

If a prospective client can bring in thousands of dollars (or more) in sales revenue, they become your highest-priority lead. The whole sales team gets behind the salesperson to help them land the deal.

They’re like giant Whales when compared to other accounts (the “smaller fish”), when comparing their share in your monthly revenue,

Useful Customer Service Buzzwords of 2020

  • Customer Alignment
  • Accessible Customer Service
  • Seamless Omnichannel Service
  • Customer Effort
  • Customer-centric / Personalized
  • Knowledge-base
  • Service Awareness
  • Mission-critical Customer Insights (Voice of the Customer)

In this section, the buzzwords are not very technical. These customer service buzzwords are abstract. They help understand the state of various aspects of your customer support team.

Customer Alignment

Customer alignment is the extent of match between the customers’ desires and business’ offerings. It’s not a physical measurement, rather it is a “business soft skill”.

True customer alignment isn’t simple. Modern customers have physical and emotional needs.

For example, most healthcare buyers want to treat an adverse condition; they’re likely already worried. So, besides being informative and accurate, all outgoing brand communication must make them feel safe.

Likewise, if the phone support agents do not make customers feel safe, the brand will not have strong customer alignment.

“We don’t want to push our ideas on to customers, we simply want to m ake what they want.” – Laura Ashley, Founder of Laura Ashley Holdings (Textile Design Company).

This quote denotes what Customer Service is truly about. It’s a dimension of business that must reflect the values your customers expect.

Accessible Customer Service

This refers to the ease of connecting to the customer service department. The more channels you provide to the customer to reach your customer support team, the more accessible is your customer service.

There are two keys to creating a highly-accessible customer service team:

  • Accessibility: Is your support team accessible via all possible channels – Phone, Email, Social Media, etc?
  • Availability: Does the customer have to wait in long queues (physical or virtual) to get their query addressed? It’s directly proportional to your team strength and how your system assigns the service tickets.

Seamless Omnichannel Service

When a customer can interact with the support team via different channels (email, social media, etc),  it becomes a multi-channel store.

When they can track each ticket seamlessly across all channels, it becomes omnichannel. So, omnichannel customer service means seamlessly integrated multi-channel customer service. It’s the gold level of customer service accessibility. This may be costly to install.

The right CRM is key to omnichannel customer service implementation.

Customer Effort

Customer effort is the amount of physical and mental effort the customer takes from registration to resolution. Needless to say, the lower the customer effort, the better. This may be a measured KPI metric while designing or purchasing your customer ticketing system.

An omnichannel customer service architecture reduces this effort by ramping up its availability.

A well-trained and efficiently-managed support team also reduces your customer’s effort. In cases where the resolution is delayed, empathy for the user also reduces a customer’s mental strain.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, American Poet, and Civil-Rights Activist.

Customer-centric / Personalized

Customer-centric is an attribute of business systems all over the world. Becoming customer-centric means prioritizing the customers’ needs at every step of the way – from design to execution.

“Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.” – David Beebe, Award-Winning Brand Storyteller.

People love to communicate with other people; they don’t like talking to robotic brands. To make company culture responsive to customers, customer delight must be at the center of every outgoing interaction.

Personalization is a deeper level of customer-centricity. It takes information specific to each customer to construct tailored experiences.

Marketing automation tools turn generalized marketing communication templates into individual copies catering to specific customers. The most common example of this is sending the same email to all customers but only changing the first name in the first (salutation) line.

Apart from communication templates, marketing processes are also personalized.

For example, marketing automation tools can send birthday wishes via email on each customer’s birthday. Configuring this is very simple as it uses the common field ‘date-of-birth‘. Likewise, e-commerce stores analyze purchase history and average lifetime value. Then they send custom-tailored offers via email to a qualifying customer segment (set of users).

Knowledge-base

A knowledge-base is a bank of “how-to” articles for solving basic problems. It has a dedicated public section on your website.

These questions provide “self-service” to the customers i.e. they can first search for a solution to their problem in the knowledge base. If they don’t find the solution, they can contact the customer support team for advanced help.

KB is an acronym and “Help Guide” is a synonym commonly used for knowledge-base. Sometimes, companies also keep an internal KB only for company employees and the support team (not the customer).

Service Awareness

How do you know if your customer service is effective or when that strategy needs to change? What is the change required in the customer service strategy?

Service awareness is a way to understand the impact of your customer service practices. The results of the awareness surveys provide feedback to improve or change service practices.

Mission-critical Customer Insights (Voice of the Customer)

One way to be aware of how customer service is working is to aggregate customer feedback and extract actionable insights from it. These insights provide the figurative “voice of the customer” and form the basis of change in customer service policies.

These cumulative insights can be product feedback too which the concerned managers in the team can use. If addressed sincerely, a customer’s voice can increase customer alignment of your product and customer service teams.

“Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.” – Lisa Masiello, Award-Winning B2B Marketer, and CMO @ TECHmarc Labs Inc.

Buzzwords for all purposes

In all three areas, the words we saw in this article are real-world buzzwords. They are simple, they’re meaningful, and they’re useful in various scenarios. They can help add weight to your conversation without making you sound like a know-it-all. They can also help add the much needed “X-factor” to your resume or start-up pitch decks.

Which buzzword is your favorite from these lists? Have you heard a buzzword that made you cringe or you found it so impressive that you just had to share?