6 words and phrases that have evolved beyond marketing buzzwords

If you have read anything on this website, listened to the podcast or just looked at what the website is called, you will get a pretty good idea what you’re getting into. That being said, some words, terms and phrases transcend beyond being a buzzword, and evolve to enter the everyday psyche of pretty much every marketer. These are terms that every single marketer should know about and seek to understand.

These are terms that were once looked at with sceptical eyes (my some, but not all) and people wondered whether they would really revolutionise the way in which we do marketing or if the term was one that was fleeting. I can quite confidently confirm that in the April/May 2018 these terms are no longer buzzwords but are instead very much everyday marketing vocabulary.

Social Media Marketing

What a term to kick things off with. Who would of thought in 2004 when Facebook was formed that it would be giant it is today? Who would have predicted that this college start-up would have completely revolutionised not only marketing, but the way we live our lives, share information and talk to each other?

Since then the world of social networks and the number of social media platforms in the world has ballooned. They have truly become part of everyday life, and so too has the term social media marketing.

I’m not going to delve into the history of sites like Facebook in this post. What I will say though is that marketers soon saw the opportunities that lay before them, and eventually Facebook saw a way of cashing in on this. Over the last decade and a half, the term ‘Social Media Marketing’ has been thrown around like confetti at a wedding. It was basically used to describe absolutely anything that touched a social networking website. These days the term has matured. It is still widely used, but it is used as a broader term which itself incorporates buzzwords.

An example of this would be people who promote themselves as a Social Media Marketing consultant. Everyone understands the broad concept of this today, and are pretty accepting that this is a proper job. Where things are a lot less certain and less settled are the niches within the terms, this is where the buzzwords now appear.

Over the years it has been amazing to witness the development and changes in Social Media Marketing from a term that was seen as nothing more than a buzzword to a fully blown everyday marketing term. What will the next evolution be?

Digital Marketing

Do you remember when this was all new and exciting? A time when everyone was trying to work out how to attract new customers, design a website and sell things. This was a much simpler time, when the competition was low and the opportunities massive.

Many people and businesses grasped it with both hands, many others didn’t. Prime examples being Blockbuster Video, and Woolworths in the UK.

There was a time when people didn’t think that digital wasn’t going to completely take over and that in all likeliness companies without an online presence were going to struggle to survive. After all, if it’s not broke, why fix it?

In 2018 though, it’s pretty safe to safe for me to say that Digital Marketing is most definitely not a buzzword anymore. It is instead an all-encompassing term that covers a huge part of the modern marketing mix.

Email Marketing

Once this was the newest and shiniest of all the marketing tools. However, these days this looks more like the OAP of the marketing world. It’s been around a while, and matured massively.

There are a lot of issues with this marketing channel, but damn it’s still effective when done well. The length of time that it’s been around and the maturity of the industry is why Email Marketing is no longer a Marketing Buzzword.

Mature doesn’t mean that changes, developments and improvements cannot be made, what it does mean is that the industry isn’t likely to have a huge shake-up internally. It may be subject to massive external forces such as GDPR compliance and chatbots, but Email Marketing will long have a place in the modern marketing mix.

Direct Marketing

Direct Marketing is a bit like a phoenix. It was long one of THE marketing channels (you know before the internet). It was massively important to many businesses (and expensive), digital changed that. However, direct marketing will not die. Instead, it’s almost reborn. It has turned from what was once seem as a spam channel to what is now seen as a sign of quality.

Because of the ease and cost-effectiveness of digital, many brands dropped all direct marketing to focus on the new, instant and measurable channels of an online world. The problem was so too did all the spammers. This left direct marketing open for businesses to re-exploit and reinvigorate a once effective and now relatively competition-free channel.

Some people may argue that the upheaval in direct marketing has completely changed the way it is used, therefore could be classed as a buzzword. I’m not buying it though. This is a term that’s aged well and part of the common marketing tongue, it’s just become less popular

Inbound Marketing

This one of the most modern of the terms I have thus far included in this article. Coined by the guys over at Hubspot, this phrase is one that marketers took quickly to their hearts and their war chests.

Inbound Marketing is now taught in schools and universities across the world, and is a marketing discipline that many businesses and people absolutely swear by.

The reason that I believe this is no longer a buzzword is that it has matured really quickly, and there is no longer the scramble to try and understand what inbound is, what is means and how you can leverage the opportunities it provides. This is not a time of mass experimentation, it’s a time for refinement and quality.

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Is it dead? No. No it’s not. Don’t believe me? That’s ok, just ask Barry Schwartz. This guy knows his stuff, and he’ll confirm that it is in no way dead.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way we can get down to the proper talking points. Search Engine Optimisation is no longer in my eyes for a two main reasons.

Firstly, even though the individual tactics are dominated by a small number of players (mostly one though) the industry isn’t changing overly radically. Like with inbound marketing, we are in a phase of refinement not discovery.

Secondly, SEO is incredibly important. If people do not get some sort of a grasp with it in a digital world, they aren’t going to go very far. Search Engine Optimisation is the foundation of your own house in a digital world. This isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Content Marketing

This is the most questionable of the 6 in terms of evolution from a buzzword. I would though in fact argue that generally as a term it’s pretty much common tongue. Like with some of the other terms (notably SEO) there are many poor misconceptions and not-so-great advice that’s put out there. However, that being said as with the above terms, Content Marketing is starting to mature, and the rate of change slow. We are just entering the refinement phase where people are experimenting less with brand new ideas, but more so trying to work out how to do everything better.

The thing that makes Content Marketing different from all of the other former buzzwords mentioned here is that it could quite be argued quite easily that it actually pre-dates all of the above. The difficulty is that until recently we haven’t called it Content Marketing, we’ve called it a whole range of things.  

Even with this slight uncertainty, we’ve been calling it Content Marketing long enough now to work out what it is and what the basic guiding principles and tools are. That’s why I do not believe that as a term it is still a marketing buzzword.


Do you agree with what I’ve written above? Can you think of any other terms that you’d no longer class as a buzzword? Please let me know either in the comments or drop me a message!


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