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January 18, 2011

"Social media" most overused buzzword of 2010

According to a survey by The Creative Group

"Social media" isn't just a trend taking the world by storm; it's also the term advertising and marketing executives ranked as the most annoying industry buzzword in a survey by The Creative Group. Also high on the list: "synergy" and "ROI," which rankled respondents in a similar survey conducted in 2006.

The Canadian study was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm.

Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "In your opinion, what is the most annoying or overused buzzword in the creative/marketing industry today?" The top-ranked responses include:

  1. "Social media/social networking"
  2. "Synergy"
  3. "Innovative/innovation"
  4. "Extra value/value added"
  5. "Going green"
  6. "Free"
  7. "ROI/return on investment"
  8. "Culture change"
  9. "Think out of the box"
  10. "Interactive"
  11. "Proactive"
  12. "Social media expert"
  13. "Multitasking"
  14. "End of the day"
  15. "Integrated/Integration"

"Certain buzzwords may be commonly used amongst marketing and advertising professionals, but when overused, they can quickly lose impact and cause people to lose interest and tune out," said Lara Dodo, regional vice president of The Creative Group in   Canada . "In order to ensure your ideas are conveyed effectively, aim to keep your messages simple and direct."

The Creative Group offers four tips for eliminating jargon in your communications:

1. Translate your thoughts. It's typical to think in the lingo you use every day. But when putting your ideas to paper or in an e-mail, take the time to explain the concepts in terms that your audience will easily understand.

2. Edit, edit, edit. Many buzzwords are unnecessary. Think carefully: Does a phrase like "at the end of the day" really add to what you're trying to say? Probably not.

3. Break bad habits. We all rely on certain phrases when we speak. If the ones you gravitate toward are on the list of annoying buzzwords, think of alternatives that convey the same meaning.

4. Show instead of tell. Rather than relying on buzzwords, use concrete examples to convey your thoughts. For instance, instead of discussing your fully "integrated" marketing strategy for a product rollout, describe the various elements and how they work together.

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