That was SOOOO Last Decade: 7 Words and Phrases Marketers Use that Must DIE in 2014

Modern Marketing


“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

While that may be true in personal relationships, words — especially bad, overused, outdated marketing ones —  can, in fact, hurt people.

Inspired in part by Ann Handley’s New Year’s Eve blog post, The Best Worst Words of 2013, here are my top seven marketing words, spellings, and phrases that were popular pre-2010, and that you MUST stop using this year.

Ready? Here we go.

1. E-mail: I first wrote about this one in October of 2008. Ever since then, I’ve been publicly advocating to drop the hyphen in email. In 2011, the AP Stylebook made it official. If you search “e-mail” in Wikipedia, it redirects to the correct spelling: email. However, I still see major publications holding onto the hyphen. It’s time to drop it. Email, NOT e-mail. Oh, and last month, Julie Neumark pondered the question in this original song:

2. Web Site: In April of 2010, the AP replaced web site (two words) with website (one word). According to this Facebook post by the AP, “the public’s voice — the preference of social media activists, including within the AP — played a significant role in AP’s decision.” While I don’t see this one used nearly as often as “e-mail”, it still pops up every so often. If you see it used anywhere — online or in print — please let me know.

3. World Wide Web: Nothing drives me crazier than hearing “visit us on the world wide web.” Ahhhh! How about just calling it “the web?” Related: When mentioning your website (not web site) — print or audio — there is no need to include the “www.” Skip it. It takes up valuable real estate (web, TV, print) and air space (audio).

4. E-Book: Similar to e (hyphen) mail, it’s time to kill to hyphen in ebook. Sure, I realize it stands for electronic book, but hyphens are dead. In fact, I’m starting an unofficial petition to drop hyphens from all digital marketing related words. Who is with me? Bonus: eliminating the hyphen gives you one extra character!

5. Drip Campaigns: First off, let me admit that we use “drip campaign” here at Marketo (it was mentioned in 39 of our articles over the past few years). Heck, I even used it in my recent blog post about email opt-ins. That being said, when I think of drip campaigns, this image comes to mind. Not that I’m opposed to drip castles, but I’m not sure how marketing is like building castles out of wet sand. Instead, why not talk about “nurturing campaigns” or “email series” or…fill in the blank?

6. Ping me: In computer-speak, “ping” was the word used in the early IRC (Internet Relay Chat) days. Basically, one person would send a packet of data from their computer to someone else’s to see how long the response time was — the shorter, the better. According to Urban Dictionary, “ping me” means to “get my attention” or “call me”. For example, “Hey Dayna! Ping me when that TPS report is ready? Cool. Thanks.” When you say it aloud, it really does sound silly. How about being more specific? Something like: “Hey Dayna! Stop by my desk when that TPS report is ready?” or “Hey Dayna! Email me when that TPS report is ready?” Much better.

7. Big Data:  “A collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications” (Wikipedia). A Google search for “big data” returns over 62 million — yes MILLION —  results. It would seem people are talking up a storm about  big data —  check out the Google Trends image below.

big data chart

It’s not that I don’t believe in Big Data. In fact, I think using (big) data to make your marketing messages more personal, targeted, and relevant is critical to your success, but I think we need another term. If you have a suggestion, drop me a tweet @djwaldow.

So there you have it —  my list of seven words and phrases that, if I had my way, would die a quick death as we move into 2014. What did I miss? What would you add? Do you agree? Am I crazy?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below — and if you are so inclined, share this post with your fellow co-workers and colleagues.