Does it seem like agency marketing professionals have their own terminology? That’s because they do. The world of marketing is fast-paced and ever-evolving, so it can seem difficult to keep up. What’s a trendy word one day is outdated the next. However, even in the world of marketing, some things stick. Here are six of the most common marketing terms that sound like gibberish, but actually mean something.
1. Content Marketing
Simply put, this is writing. Actually, it’s writing geared towards selling a brand, product or service. When agencies are selling their content marketing services, they’re trying to say that they’ll put together a killer website, email campaign, brochure and the likes. It seems strange that content marketing—ahem, writing—should be short and sweet to appeal to customers, yet marketing agencies can’t call it what it is.
Blame webmasters for this one because authority really just means popularity. If a website has “authority,” that means it’s trusted. However, something is only trusted if it comes from a reputable source. Reputable sources can only be reputable if they’re popular. Popularity only comes from a lot of people liking and trusting something or someone—that’s a long chain of events just to equate popularity with authority.
For some reason, marketing pros decided to slap the word “white” in front of papers to make it sound more professional. Whitepapers are just papers—almost always white. Usually, it’s a collection of factual information, statistics or a narrative form of useful information. People buy whitepapers instead of having to do all the research on something themselves. Whitepapers can be about anything from hunting in Oregon to green home improvement.
Don’t be fooled by this strange looking word, because that’s all it is: a word. Marketing people are in the business of making things seem more important or fancier than they sometimes are, which means this naturally leaks over into their own environment. Verbiage only means words and it can be used in a number of ways: to improve the verbiage on this brochure, include more brand-specific verbiage on the giveaway items (also called marketing collateral) or this verbiage just doesn’t read smoothly.
Break this word down to get the true meaning: information and graphics. These used to be called data illustrations back in the day. It’s basically any image combined with words. Technically, even a meme can be an infographic. They’re extremely popular because they don’t require much time or attention and anyone can glance at one to instantly gather information.
This one is kind of embarrassing and quite a bit unfortunate. It’s the simple act of putting the human back into any business, whether it’s answering the phone or meeting someone in person. The fact that marketing agencies now have a name for it says a lot about where business has gone in the past decade or so. Many marketing pros will say that humanization is a great way to improve the reputation of a business, but it’s often not feasible and it’s very expensive.
Don’t get frustrated by marketing speak and don’t assume that every marketing pro is intentionally talking in circles. Most marketing people are creative types and they thrive on being behind the evolution of everything, including “verbiage.” Instead, keep these six biggies in mind and it’s easy to de-mystify the world of marketing.
It’s also important to not dismiss marketing as a world of trends or self-importance. Every business can benefit from great marketing. Let them have their own language and instead focus on how marketing can improve the business, services or products at hand.