Strategically sprinkling buzzwords can seem like the perfect way to spice up copy… until it hasn’t even hit noon yet and you’re reading the word “innovative” for the 50th time that day, and you’ve begun to question your sanity. When the goal is to sell a product, service, or idea to an audience, you may feel inclined to pull out all the stops. You may feel the urge to dazzle them with frilly language and saturate each sentence with a plethora of pointless adjectives in an effort to convince them that they need what you’re offering. When used thoughtfully, colorful adjectives and compelling phrases can be powerful marketing tools. However, overuse can burn you. For this reason, it’s crucial to be aware of some of the most overused terms so you can either use them sparingly or avoid them like the plague.

  1. Data-Driven

Having the numbers to back up your claims of success should be a given. But using the term “data-driven” also may imply that you’re using numbers to guide your decision making, causing you to ignore the bigger vision. Data should be thought of as part of a larger context, allowing you to acknowledge potential bias. You should be relying more on just data to inform the choices you make to further your business, and that should be reflected in your copy and how you talk about your product and/or service. If you want to use the term ‘data-driven’, ensure that you back it up with an explanation about how you are using the data, and why you are using it to improve aspects of your business.

  1. Advanced

‘Advanced’ is one of those words that has been thrown around so much that it’s starting to lose its meaning. Not only is it vague, but it’s also not very inspired. And what does ‘advanced’ mean exactly? It’s often seen in the common buzz-phrase ‘advanced technology.’ Instead of simply claiming your product or service is advanced and leaving it at that, explain in a sentence or so what makes the technology you are using so cutting-edge and ahead of the times.

  1. Revolutionary

Similar to ‘advanced’, ‘revolutionary’ is one of those words that seems to be thrown around to make your product or service sound dynamic and innovative. But unless your product has actually incited a revolution (which we doubt it has), maybe stay away from this one.

  1. Optimizing

What does it mean to ‘optimize’ something, exactly? Our clients probably have no clue. Do we even have a clue? It’s crucial that if you choose to use the word ‘optimize’, you need to proceed to walk your audience through the actions and steps taken to reach the goal, and clearly define what that goal is and how it helps their business. Otherwise, it’s just another shiny buzzword.

  1. Synergy

‘Synergy’ is one of those words that sounds high-tech and science-y, but the definition of the word itself isn’t super impressive. Essentially, when two or more things have synergy, it just means that they work well together. I mean, come on. We can do better. 

  1. Exclusive

‘Exclusive’ is one of the worst out there because it’s a word that is consistently misused. It’s usually used to make something seem rare, and therefore coveted. But if a product or service is being offered to multiple people, it’s not exclusive. We see this a lot with sales and coupons/discount codes that promise “exclusive, one time offer!”, and yet anyone and everyone can participate… That doesn’t make sense, people! 

  1. Leading

This one is often used when a company can’t really claim much else for themselves, yet want to make it seem like they have some sort of credentials that put them ahead of the competition. For example, they can’t say “award-winning” or “the best” if there’s no evidence to back it up… So instead, they settle with “one of the leading companies in the industry!” because it’s extremely vague and requires zero further explanation or facts to back up the claim. 

Overused… but should they be banned?

Just because these words are overused and abused, doesn’t mean you have to erase them from your vocabulary and block them out of your memory. You can still use them, just be thoughtful about it. Don’t sprinkle them in liberally just because you feel your copy is lacking something. If it is lacking something, it probably won’t be remedied through random adjectives and shiny buzzwords. Copy that is chock full of these overused words is probably trying to hide something. Perhaps the product isn’t actually that revolutionary or unique, or the company just isn’t able to pinpoint the value that their brand provides for customers. Either way, you want the product to speak for itself, so keep the fluff to a minimum and you’ll be just fine.