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If marketing copy is easy to read, for everyone, then surely the messages are getting across. And that’s the point, right?

So it’s baffling to see businesses and organisations, large and small, across all sectors, encrypting their communications with words like ‘holistic’, ‘deliverables’, ‘driving’, ‘actioning’, and ‘engagement’. We’ve long known there’s no conceivable justification for such claptrap – but it seems there are some explanations. Here are the obvious ones…

1. They attribute their success to the lingo

If they’re raking it in, why change it? Maybe they think the drivel is, indeed, ‘engaging the demographic’, ‘driving footfall’ and ‘delivering, year-on-year.’

2. They’re scared people will think ‘there’s nothing to it’

So, in a counter-productive attempt at impressing the audience, they cloak a straightforward proposition in silly terminology or jargon. Or even worse, they become so caught up in the lingo, they believe their own hype, and that there’s way more to it than there is. Which is a shame, because they end up overcomplicating everything and scaring potential customers away.

3. Everyone else uses these words

No they don’t. Some of their peers might, for the above reasons – everyone else just scratches their head or attempts a quick translation through Translation Services Singapore before moving on.

4. They think simplicity isn’t attractive

It flipping well is. And even if the product or service is complicated, only the people who created it – and perhaps a very small handful of other people involved – care one bit. People want to know about the end result – what’s in it for them – in plain English.

In some heart-breaking cases, though, it’s all the perpetrator knows. They were born into it, and will most likely talk to their partners and children in marketspeak.

Meanwhile, the most successful businesses will continue to use arguably the best way to talk to their audiences: universal, unambiguous language, using words that mean the same things to everyone. For example, they don’t say ‘roadmap’, they say ‘plan’. They don’t ‘drive footfall’, they ‘attract customers’. And on the whole, they don’t ‘action’ things – they just ‘do’ them.


  1. […] This blog is not about those words, because we’ve covered them extensively before. […]

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