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The Ultimate List of Business Buzzwords and Their True Definitions

Business Buzzwords

Posted in Buzzwords. 7 min read

Business buzzwords, for good or ill, are a part of corporate life. While some buzzwords are useful at certain times, for example when marketing or selling, others are fillers or just lazy language.

Corporate speak can be both a valuable skill, and something that causes your colleagues to roll their eyes, or even LOL.

All that being said, we've compiled the ultimate list of business buzzwords along with their true definitions. What you do with this list is up to you!

Across It

This means to understand something after looking at it for a while. For example, “I'm not across that new design Bill did for the Smith account yet.”

Advertainment

This is a marketing term that means advertising that doubles as entertainment. Advertainment is often a blurring of the line between a product promotion and media entertainment. Remember Red Bull's Stratos Space Jump? That was advertainment.

Big Data

The massive collection of structured and unstructured data that is often difficult to process through traditional means. Data collected from mobile, web browsing, voice data etc.

Bleeding Edge

A step beyond “cutting edge”, bleeding edge typically refers to technology that is so new that it is unproven. Also means being ahead of the current trends.

Catch Up

 Aka “check in,” and “touch base” To have a conversation about something. “ Let's touch base next week to finalize the terms.”

Change Agent

Change is often perceived as a good thing in business, but it can also be incredibly bad! A change agent is one who leads the charge whatever the change may be.

Clickbait

Headlines crafted for the purpose of driving clicks. Clickbait captures and audience by providing mystery, but the content is typically subpar making this one of the negative business buzzwords.

Contextual Marketing

Another marketing buzzword, contextual marketing is aware of its surroundings and placement within a larger form of content. For example, offering a free ebook about how to use Instagram in an article on social media.

Core Competency

In business, core competencies are what a company or person does best.

Corporate Synergy

Refers to coordinating and collaborating effectively within an enterprise. Use this one where appropriate, Many users don't understand the true meaning.

Deck

Deck refers to a power-point presentation as in a “deck of cards.” Seems like it would be easier to ask for the file, or slides, but “deck” it is.

Deep Dive

Otherwise known as brainstorming, this one is used by professionals as in “Were going for a deep dive on the Parson's account.”

Deliverable

A deliverable is an output of work that is completed. For example a brochure, ad, computer code or a document.

Disruptor/Disruption

Something that “rocks the boat,” a game changer, a unique product or service whose innovation throws the status quo off kilter.

Freemium

A strategy where the “basic” version of a product is offered free of charge. Extra functionality requires an upgrade to a premium version. Examples include, Wordpress, MailChimp and Hoot Suite. Also used frequently by mobile games.

Go Live

When something is released to the public, for example a promotion or website. For example, “The new website goes live next Monday.”

Growth Hacking

Refers to bootstrap marketing strategies utilized by businesses with small budgets, startups, and new businesses. Growth hacking consists of free marketing methods like blogging, social media, SEO and content marketing.

Hyperlocal

The newest of the business buzzwords, hyperlocal search uses GPS data to geographically target audiences and provide location based advertising. Hyperlocal SEO is optimizing your online content to reflect your location using street address, neighborhood information, proximity to local landmarks even longitude and latitude to pinpoint searchers to your physical location.

Ideation/Ideate

One of the most ridiculous business buzzwords, “ideation” is the process of creating new ideas.

Incentivize

To get someone to buy what you're selling, you need to offer incentives. This is the word to describe the effort. Can also mean motivating a person to get something done.

Innovators

This one has been beaten to death. Innovators produce new ideas, products or strategies that are “revolutionary.” Everyone is an innovator these days. They used to be called Entrepreneurs.

In This Space

A hipper way of saying “here.” Example, “Cryptocurrency is exciting. There's a lot of opportunity in this space.”

ITL

Executive speak for firing staff. A natural progression after “downsizing” became too much of a bummer, followed by “rightsizing” ITL means “Invited to Leave.”

Jacking

Jacking is the process of commandeering content for your own marketing purposes. Examples include news-jacking where writers cover a breaking story to further their personal agenda. Meme-jacking is a corporate takeover of a popular meme to market their product or service.

KPI

Key performance indicators or data used to measure performance. Not exactly a buzzword, it's actually a longstanding marketing metric.

Low Hanging Fruit 

An obvious, easily attainable win you have to grab. While you always want to grab the brass ring, sometimes you can't neglect the easy score.

Make A Case

To form a coherent argument for something that is deemed important. “I'll make a case for that budget increase at the next partner's meeting.”

Moat

Used in Silicon Valley around presentations and earnings calls. Also used to describe products or services that protect a company from incursions by competitors (see also competitive differentiation) Popularized over a decade ago by none other than Warren Buffet.

Move the Needle

Used in sales and marketing when effort is required to make a noticeable difference.

Outside the Box

Thinking or approaching a task in a different way than it is normally approached.

Pain Points

You'll often hear talk of “finding your customers pain points.” Think of this as a creative way of saying “we want to understand and solve our client's problems.”

Pair

To work together on a project. Example, “I'll pair you and Tom together on the proposal.”

Ping

Once relegated to tech, ping is used by everyone today and means to send a message. Example, “I'll ping Tom about the new meeting time.”

Pivot

A euphemism for failing. If your product fails, you pivot to a new model or upgrade. If your business model is a joke, you pivot to another model. Popular euphemism used by politicians who are called on a previous stance - After due consideration, They “pivot” to a more popular stance.

Push Back

When you don't get your way, sometimes with a reason. For example, “the client pushed back on our proposal. They want to find a cheaper way.”

Runway

Typical in the tech industry, a runway is how long a company can last before running out of money. A counterintuitive metaphor, a runway is typically the distance needed to attain flight. In Silicon Valley, it often is a measure of how long before a company “crashes and burns.”

Scope

The work that needs to get done, and what you don't need to do. Example, “...that option is out of scope.”

Snackable

“Snackable content” is a marketing buzzword that is used to delineate an attempt to draw people in with bite-sized bits of text, video or anything that bolsters a brand's visibility. Offshoots include “ making readers hungry for snackable content,” or “ how to “give them a satisfying and speedy feed.”

Sweep The Sheds

Popularized by a 2013 business book offering lessons for success from the New Zealand Rugby team the “All Blacks” who used brooms to sweep out their own locker room. This business buzzword is a popular euphemism for a humble attention to detail.

Swim Lanes

A swim lane is a column or row in a flowchart. Each lane is devotes to one unit or process within the business.

Transformative

A transformative change is a dramatic or delightful change. Can have both positive and negative connotations – for example a transformative change can include when a business goes bankrupt.

Unpack

Once you ideate, you need to unpack your ideations.

Value Add

A positive impact you add to a product or company. For example, “did the client respond positively to the value add at the pitch?”

Wheelhouse

In boating a wheelhouse shelters the person driving the boat. In business is means a person's specialty.

Believe it or not, this is just a small sampling! Every industry and profession from sales and marketing, to finance, healthcare and the auto industry has their own specific jargon and business buzzwords. 

Today, whether your pitching a new product, or networking in your industry, business buzzwords can give you an aura of being more reputable if you use the right terminology in the proper context.

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