10 Common Marketing Terms That You Won’t Hear In 10 Years


As a marketer, every day I hear something new. People are always trying to come up with the next big slogan or rhyme scheme.  Due to the rigors of client demands and the drudgery of approval processes, when marketers are actually allowed to unleash their creativity on their colleagues and competitors, some pretty unusual terms get invented.

The person who thought up “Content is King” is certainly clever. That person also probably regrets opening his mouth when he thought of it, because now he’s doomed to hear it overused every day. 

How many marketing terms/clichés are as faddish as the Kardashians or Justin Bieber?  I thought of at least 10, but welcome any feedback and thoughts. Some are serious in nature and will affect how we do our jobs in the following decade, some are just silly and observational.  Nonetheless, in an industry as fast moving as marketing, what’s here today, won’t necessarily be here tomorrow.   

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1) Content is King

When I hear Content is King I think of endless blogs that are taking up peoples’ valuable time.  How many corporate blogs are out there?  How many are published daily?  How many can the Internet handle?  The Internet is like the universe, it either expands into oblivion or it eventually stops.  Perhaps if the latter is true there is a parallel internet beyond it with the exact opposite content. 

Of course content is more than blogs and text, it’s also video and photos and podcasts and whatever else we can fit onto a web site.  Content will become a black hole that is replaced by something quicker and just as informative, as soon as someone has the time to quit creating content and actually think.

2) SEO

SEO as we know it today will not be in existence in 10 years.  There will still be plenty of work for SEO specialists willing to evolve with the technology and the business but in 10 years search engines will be so advanced that they’ll know before we even put our cursor in the Google text box what we’re looking for.

Our content and marketing efforts will be so concentrated that there will be no reason to optimize and hope that the right persona finds our content; they’ll be presented it on a silver platter with a menu of options.

3) Link Building

See above, but if I’m wrong about SEO, I know I’m right about this.  I am not an SEO expert, but I do have a feeling that Google wants SEO experts to fail.  They used to tell us to bold keywords, before that it was list keywords or cram them into anything you write whether or not it makes sense.

Now we’ve evolved past keywords to long-tail keywords and link building, Google will soon come up with a way to render them obsolete and send SEO specialists back to the drawing board.

4) Thought Leader

How can anyone claim to be a leader of thoughts? 

Does the thought leader live a solitary life so that they can spend time thinking?

Are they a step away from a Gregorian Monk who only thinks about marketing and how to boost leads?

How do they even prove that they are more of a thought leader than the person they are trying to sell their thoughts to?  “I think harder than you, buy my thoughts.” Here’s a penny, now let’s retire this.

5) Think Outside the Box

I first heard this term when I began my job search after college. My dad told me to “think outside the box.”  What box was he referring to though?  Today I still wonder what box I should be thinking out of.

The fact that the term has stuck around as long as it has is a testament to people not thinking outside the box for a new cliché.  Let’s not wait 10 years, how about we change this now to “Think uniquely.”

6) Low-Hanging Fruit

I hear my boss say this at least once a week.  To me it’s an insult to my profession that there are such easy leads out there to call them “low-hanging fruit.”

I know that most marketers are marketing at a higher level than to apples that droop a little too low to the ground. 

7) Storytelling

Once upon a time there was a word that every content marketer used to describe both themselves and their profession.  Then one day they realized that they were marketing to adults who can afford to buy their products. 

While we are telling stories, we are doing so at a higher level than a word like storytelling portrays.  As the term storytelling dissipates the term brand journalism will become more prevalent.

8) Disruptive

What exactly are you disrupting?  Are you walking into a board meeting and yelling at people to buy your product? Are you somehow disrupting the Internet? If anything, a disruptor is a bad thing.

As people like the hackers who hacked Sony or Anthem continue to actually disrupt things a more positive spin will be put on disruptive marketing.

9) Ninja

Ninja –a member of a feudal Japanese society of mercenary agents, highly trained in martial arts and stealth (ninjutsu) who were hired for covert purposes ranging from espionage to sabotage and assassination.

Need I say more?  I will anyways.  Marketing is already an exciting job.  The world sees our work.  Screw up and you can be highlighted on the Huffington Post as quickly as a Kardashian.  Let’s stick to what we are and the reason we’re respected and quit insulting true ninjas.

10) Pop-up Ads

Pop-ups aren’t going away.  They’ll find a way to be smarter than our pop-up blockers and they’ll continue to have awful click-through rates and still be a tremendous waste of money.  We just won’t call them pop-up ads anymore, they’ll officially be called #$%@ (substitute your word for them here).

Marketing is going to be a new world in 2025.  Hologram marketing, cloud advertising (that actually means ads projected onto clouds, not cloud computing), and telepathic coercion will all be buzzwords then. 

While the terms that marketers come up with will change and the tools and practices that we use will evolve, one thing is certain: The King Must Die. Viva La Revolucion!

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