Marketspeak isn’t the only common ruse used when it comes to marketing goods and services. Buzzwords are often as overused as background bursts in the fifties/sixties and Apple-ish reflective shadows* over the last decade.
Buzzwords are generally part showmanship or industry jargon that have become used by the general public and, like Marketspeak, often seem to be used by a speaker to cover up a lack of content or usable information. Some speakers are so notorious that someone developed Buzzword Bingo for corporate speeches and annual meetings (although I have still to hear anyone actually yell “Bingo” out loud at one of those meetings.)
When any word becomes overused it loses its meaning. So why do people use buzzwords? Because they sound impressive, even if on a superficial level.
In fact, sometimes buzzwords even sound good when marketing yourself. According to LinkedIn, ”Innovative” has become the latest most overused word on members’ profiles.** Which is why LinkedIn’s press release caused numbers of workers to panic and quickly edit their resumes and profiles earlier this year.
Yet the problem usually isn’t the word, according to Andrea Kay at USAToday, it’s more that you don’t explain what you mean, and you don’t give examples to back it up.
After all, every company seems to be looking for innovative people. So if you can prove that you put the research, effort and time into developing a process that dramatically increased sales, then you really should include “innovative” on your resume. Likewise, if your credit union develops or offers a breakthrough product that will make your members’ lives easier, then you really do get to call that product “innovative.”
But only if you explain or show why it is innovative.
Now think of all of the buzzwords that are thrown around by credit union marketers: convenience, friendly service, community-focused, better rates, etc., etc., etc. When you use them so much, without any supporting data, is it any wonder that they lose their meaning to prospective members?
* Yes, I know the bomb has an Apple-ish shadow. Does that make it Da Bomb?
**Okay I fudged that a little. It is really only #2 in the LinkedIn list of most used descriptions in members’ profiles, bested only by “Extensive Experience.” I just didn’t think “extensive experience” sounded like a buzzword. However, other common terms did, including: Motivated, Results-oriented, Dynamic, Proven track record, Team player, Fast-paced, Problem solver, and Entrepreneurial. So you might want to check your resume – and if you find five of these terms on there, I fully expect you to yell “Bingo!”