For a paradigm shift: Junk the jargon, get straight to strategy
A growing number of marketers seems to be getting lost in the milieu of delivery tools at the expense of strategy.
By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)
Published: Sat 19 Jan 2019, 9:50 PM
Last updated: Sun 20 Jan 2019, 12:23 PM
My heart bleeds for the marketing manager who’s got to often sit through multiple agency pitches for their firm’s brand, product or service campaigns. If you’ve ever been subjected to even one such meeting, chances are that you’ve been exposed to the mumbo-jumbo. You’ve heard about game-changers and low-hanging fruits, about disruptive innovation and deliverables, about value propositions and visibility, about ROI and POV...
The list is quite long, and the number of buzzwords used in a particular presentation is, often, directly proportional to the desperation of the presenter and inversely to the depth of the presentation. Social and digital media, of course, have added an entirely new buzz to these buzzwords. Any marketer worth their social salt is expected to sprinkle a generous helping of such keywords in their speech and submission. Big data is a must, as is analytics or chatbots or engagement or hashtags... This list isn’t small either.
Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying using jargon and buzzwords is always bad. It isn’t. They have their relevance and importance in meetings, presentations and, dare I say it, in regular life. They help you explain concepts using fewer words (a noble cause considering it may help shorten a mundane meeting), they are smart (and may, sometimes, make you look smart, too), and they are evocative – they offer a mental picture to the audience. Plucking a ‘low hanging fruit’ does suggest reaching for only what’s easily achievable and ‘thread the needle’ tells you it’s a job for the wise old desk jockey and not some gun-toting, wet-behind-the-ears amateur.
I get that. I truly do. The point I’m raising isn’t about the effectiveness of buzzwords (we must, at leisure, debate that, too), but about the irrational exuberance in using buzzwords at the expense of strategy and the ultimate objective.
Yes, whatever happened to good ol’ strategy? To figuring what is broken and why (and assessing the extent of the damage) before offering a fix? To plumb the depth and breadth of a client’s portfolio of problems before doling out a buzzword-ridden placebo suspension? Several so-called experts offer one-size-fits-all solutions to their clients’ complicated troubles by hiding behind buzzwords and buzz phrases. They recommend following the latest fads without so much as acknowledging the individuality of the client’s requirements, the uniqueness of the market or the exclusiveness of the target audience.
Influencer marketing is the newfangled elixir being offered as a cure-all for all our marketing ills. There won’t be many marketing doctors who’ll risk not prescribing a strong dose of influencer marketing today, interspersed, of course, with liberal servings of Instagram Stories, machine learning and organic content to improve our social media KPIs and response rates. Phew! But what will the client achieve with the influencer-peddled viral content? A million views of a video won’t be of much use if a client’s ultimate objective (brand awareness or more footfall into their stores or enquiries about a new property launch, for instance) is not met.
Despite strategy being the most integral part of the solutions mix, a growing number of marketers seems to be getting lost in the milieu of delivery tools, digital or otherwise. Any campaign, irrespective of the platform and mode of delivery, will necessarily need to have a steadfast focus on the roadmap, a strategy to achieve the client’s objectives. Without that, pardon the buzzword, there’s no win-win.