I remember the first time I walked into an agency environment, bright eyed and full of hope, easily impressed by the big voices and creative minds dominating the airwaves. For the first few weeks, between meetings and casual eavesdropping, I didn’t understand a word. Documents were socialised, concepts were massaged and impact was engineered - it was the wankiest cluster-cluck of language I’d ever encountered and I was absolutely fascinated. I’ve been hooked on laughing at agency lingo ever since.
"You grow up the first day you learn to laugh at yourself."
Branding agencies, integrated agencies and digital agencies tend to fall on the serious side- we have to compete with the big boys in Sydney and Melbourne, so admitting to the small stupidities of what we do or say isn’t a solid first step. Or is it? Honesty is currency. So here is a little of mine.
We solemnly swear to give up these 4 marketing buzzwords... really, we do.
Okay, let’s ask the question… why do agency types feel the need to appropriate respected job titles? A Curator is a necessary cultural player in keeping the heritage and history of a time, place or people alive, secured in a protected or sometimes sacred location. I know the social media junkies and tech collectors of the world insist they’re curating the internet for future generations, but let’s be honest… you’re borrowing a bunch of content (often without credit) and creating social streams for the benefit of brand building, exposure or monetary return. If you’re proud of what you do for a living, call a spade a spade and stop trying to romanticise it.
Alternatives: Collector, gatherer, aggregator, social junkie or digital hoarder
Are you a marketer? An advertiser? A social media manager or a content marketing expert? Great, you’re amazing. You’re wonderful. You’re talented. You’re an engineer of social discourse and a purveyor of ideas… but you’re not a storyteller. Stories live on the screen, in a book or in the places, spaces and lives around us. The ads, banners, brand visions, sponsored blogs and social posts defining your strategies are not narratives, there’s no dimensional characterisation or world building involved - you’re presenting a concept, semiotically targeted to achieve a certain action and ROI. Yes, occasionally you do seek to inspire, to inform, to entertain or to educate, but those actions in isolation - or even together - are driven by a bottom line and end-of-year KPIs.
Alternatives: Advertising, marketing, brand proposition, brand statement, campaign, micro moments, brand vignettes.
This used to be my professional goal… because I was a special little snowflake. Reality slapped me upside the head and I realised thought leadership wasn’t an aspirational marker - if I concentrated on doing great work, experimenting more, failing often and writing everything down, the right people would recognise my value for legitimate reasons. Real leaders don’t self-select, they aren’t identifiable by their titles or their salaries, and they don’t use words like thought leadership to describe getting shit done and being great at it. Don’t concentrate on being an influencer - do what you need to do to get where you need to be and critique your own work often. Critique your thoughts. Critique your theories. Chase excellence always and maybe, just maybe, you’ll become a leader worth listening to.
Alternatives: Worker, learner, listener, watcher, observer
Low Hanging Fruit (aka. the Lazy Option)
Can you stop talking about bloody fruit? From the moment I started in digital, delicious crates of low hanging fruit have been at the forefront of every conversation I’ve had regarding content marketing strategy. The easy conversion, the instant wins, the feel good moment when something that never stood much chance of failing succeeds as expected… there will always be low hanging fruit and the taste will change from season to season. But let’s call these delicious morsels of ROI exactly what they are - a quick buck to beef up a work portfolio or a new/struggling service offering.
Alternatives: Easy opportunities, portfolio padding, lazy marketing
Do you have your own wordy woes? Air them in the comments below and let the agency world know exactly how you feel. Go on, we can take it.
Jessica Goode is a multi-disciplinary digital creative with a robust agency, corporate and freelance background. She has extensive experience in delivering resonant digital strategies to a broad range of clients, covering SEO, SEM, social media, content marketing and content development according to the unique needs of a client audience. Catch up with her on Contentable or drop in and say hi during the week at JSAcreative.