Warning: Steep Buzzwords Ahead (Part 1)


Various block letters with the word buzz spelled out in the middle of them.

Marketing and communications are all about reaching the right audience types with the right message. Whether that is a potential retailer you want to fill a space at your center/mall, or a consumer that you want to come and shop at said location, audience is extremely important.

Having been in the media, marketing and communications realm for almost a decade, there are a lot of buzzwords, popular phrases, and industry terms I hear that are not only overused, but also overestimated. You’ve probably heard these in a thousand different places at different conferences and round tables. Perhaps you’ve even used them yourself. However, these words are often used as attention getters or placeholders when a definitive solution, strategy, or goal hasn't been clearly defined.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the usual suspects in the lineup.

“Content is key”

I don’t think there is a human being in the world that would disagree with this observation. More often than not, this is a major bullet point in any presentation about marketing practices in the CRE world. What isn’t explained is how one goes about sourcing content, and how to present it.

One of the first things you have to figure out as a marketer or communications specialist is “am I interesting?” If your answer is “no,” then you aren’t looking hard enough. Shows like “Modern Marvels” and “How it’s Made” had extremely successful broadcasting runs by showcasing how things like staples and gum are made. If you are less interesting than staples or gum then you need to dig deeper.

Your content needs to not only have an interesting subject, but it needs to be told in an interesting way. There should be a personality behind your writing. This is usually expressed in things like word-choice and tone. If you don’t feel like you have a tone or voice then the best way to fix that is to actually write. Write sentences on subjects you know fairly well as practice and reread them to yourself. Does it sound like you? Keep scribbling until it does.

Once you have a personal or brand voice then you need to start talking. Everyone is using social media to post content, but you need to make sure that you aren’t only talking about yourself the entire time. Have you ever spoken with someone whose subjects were comprised of things that interested him or her without asking you anything about yourself? Don’t be that person. Create a dialogue, and make sure you’re at the right party. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIN all require different manners and etiquettes. Don’t show up to a tailgate with champagne, and don’t show up to a gala with a six-pack.

“Low Hanging Fruit”

In the marketing and communications world this does not exist. If you are using this term, stop immediately. If something is low hanging fruit, then that means that you don’t feel it requires much of your time or consideration to achieve a success. Although you might feel that might be true in some cases, looking at anything as an easy win breeds bad marketing habits.

Anything and everything can be used in more than one way. You need to be sustainable with your content and deliverables and think outside the box. When was the last time you saw a good advertisement or piece of marketing and thought “They really played it safe there, how amazing.” Now, I’m not saying you need to go out of your way to be controversial, but at least put some effort into catching someone’s attention

Ideas breed content, and content breeds ideas. The next time you see something that you qualify as “low hanging fruit,” think instead of the opportunity you’ve been given to try and rework it into a campaign, article, pitch, design, or post. The more lines you tie between your content and company the more organized and polished you will seem.

Have buzzwords of your own that you think have run their course or are misleading? Share them below and continue the dialogue!