We’ve all used them, and we’ve all fallen for them. Try as you might, sometimes you’re just compelling to include that new word you’ve been reading everywhere in your latest marketing copy. And sometimes you might even be motivated to click on an email that uses an interesting phrase in its title.n.


We love them and we hate them in equal measure. Quite often, considering the most commonly used buzzwords of the moment can give us an insight into what’s happening culturally in our communities. And, sometimes, they do work. If you’re keen to know what 2017 is buzzing about already, here are our rundown of the top 10 marketing buzzwords for this year:

Crowdculture: We’ve enjoyed lots of ‘crowdsourcing’ over the past couple of years. Whether it’s money, ideas or babysitting, the idea of heading into the crowd has built some pleasant connotations over time. Welcome to ‘crowdculture’. This buzzword is a concept that describes how digital crowds are driving our modern culture, and should be something every good marketing agency is aware of. It’s driving the rules of contemporary branding, and isn’t going away anytime soon.

Storytelling: We can’t say that content marketing is a ‘buzzword’, because, as any good agency will tell you, it’s a fully-fledged branch of marketing and a firm fixture on the radar of digital marketers everywhere. However, storytelling takes this a big leap forward. Storytelling can be long form content, it can be unbranded, it could be generated by users, by video, by livestreams. Basically, it’s amazing content, but so hard for most businesses to get their heard around. Step away from the marketing qualification, because storytelling is all about engaging your user.

Millennial: OK, so this one’s not new for 2017, but it is still being used waaay too much. Along with Gen X, Y and all the other collective terms for people of a certain age, it’s ridiculously common and ridiculously ineffective at describing a target market. Avoid if you can, as even millennials aren’t sure if they are or not.

Gamification: Last year it was all about interactivity. This year, we take a further leap into getting the audience involved with the notion that every marketing agency should be focussing on gamification. Literally turning mundane tasks into games, potentially with prizes, discounts or merch involved, gamification is proving to be a beneficial marketing strategy, especially when it comes to social interactions.

Value exchange: If you were marketing before the turn of the millennium, you’ll probably recognise this concept as WIIFM. Literally ‘what’s in it for me’, the notion of value exchange is all about convincing the customer that they’re getting value for money by transacting with you. It’s truly a new-fangled way of describing an age-old marketing concept.

Influencers: Creating a two-way partnership between a powerful person in your industry and your business is a great way to spread your wings. When that person happens to be connected to lots of other like-minded people, things can start to grow exponentially. These people are called ‘influencers’ and can work to propel your brand to stardom practically overnight. Of course, if you’re a small, local business, you should probably set your sights a bit lower than a Kardashian. Small influencers of 5,000 – 30,000 followers are going to be your ideal target.

AR and VR: Come on, admit it. Pokémon Go made you a little crazy in about the middle of 2016, right? From kids to, well, big kids, we were all delighted to find the little critters hopping about in our offices and bedrooms, causing much phone overheating and plenty of close encounters with lamp posts as we melded ourselves into augmented reality. As we move through 2017, there will almost certainly be lots more talk of AR, and particularly how agencies can use this technology for marketing excellence. And hopefully Pokémon Go II.

AI and Machine Learning: “Alexa, what’s the weather today?”. Who’d have thought we’d be shouting at little black boxes in our kitchens to mark the start of 2017? Well, we are. In fact the Amazon Echo Dot was the bestselling gadget this Christmas, so more of us than ever have invited AI into our homes. With Google cars and plenty of other mind-bending AI technology out there, there’s bound to be more buzz around the AI industry than we’ve ever heard before, including how the human race is going to deal with it when the machines take over.

Ecosystem: As much as this has been evolving for a few years now, we’re still not sure we feel entirely comfortable with talking about software and computer technology in the same way we describe saving the planet. It seems we can no longer have a WordPress platform or a Java system. It’s a WordPress ecosystem and a Java ecosystem and a marketing ecosystem. Just remember what an actual ecosystem is, and how much more important it is than whatever software or business process you’re describing.

Big Data: Again, this is one that’s definitely reared its ugly head a few times in the past, but we aren’t free of it yet. In fact, if anything, it’s getting bigger and uglier by the day. What exactly makes big data ‘big’? Nothing. All this means is that there is a lot of data out there, and it’s growing at an exponential rate day by day. Marketing agencies are talking about ‘big data’ being the ‘thing’ for 2017, but what do they actually mean? The reality is that there already is, and will continue to be, more data available than we can handle or do anything with. Let your agency use what data they find useful, but don’t get hung up on this idea of ‘big data’. Until some wizard comes up with a useable method of drilling down into the bucketloads of data that exist, it’s about as much use to you as a chocolate teapot.

Should you use these buzzwords, or avoid them like the plague? Well, it largely depends on who you are marketing to and what it is you’re talking about. If your target audience are fashionable trendsetters with a mind to the latest innovations, then absolutely make use of these words. It will place you well as a trendy, fashion conscious business or agency too.

However, if you’re marketing to other businesses, to industry professionals or to a more mature audience, you might want to give them a miss. Focus on speaking in plain English, and don’t let the buzz overwhelm.