The Devil’s Marketing Dictionary (Second Edition)

The Devil's Marketing Dictionary

Here at Articulate, we take our work seriously. Ourselves – not so much. In this spirit, this cynical reappraisal of some of the common words we use about our work should raise a smile or two, at least among marketing types.

It’s inspired by by Ambrose Bierce’s wicked Devil’s Dictionary, which is full of cynical gems, such as the definition of duty as ‘that which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.’ Enjoy!

  • Analytics. Metrics with a PhD.
  • Best practice. What everyone else pretends to do.
  • Blog. A website written by people with nothing to say for people with nothing to do. (Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for this)
  • Case study. A work of fiction punctuated by frankenquotes.
  • Click-through rate. The number of people you are renting from Google to ignore your website.
  • Content calendar. What we’ll do if everything works perfectly, you pay on time and nobody has a day off.
  • Content. Lorem ipsum polyfilla to anyone except the harmless drudge who has to write it.
  • Curation. Retweeting stuff people have already read.
  • Earned media. Somebody mentioned you on their blog.
  • End-to-end. A solution that does everything from A to Z, except B, C, D, E, F etc.
  • Enterprise. Any company big enough that your CEO has to take their CEO out for lunch.
  • Focus group. A tool for cowardly managers.
  • Gamification. The accurate theory that people can be persuaded to do almost anything in return for digital badges and sound effects.
  • Hard bounce. Did you really think I was going to give you my real email address?
  • Inbound. Where the customer does your marketing for you.
  • Influencer. You don’t know where they work or what they do but your PR firm says they’re important.
  • Infographic. Meaningless statistics turned into incomprehensible diagrams.
  • Long tail. Pinocchio’s other guilty little secret.
  • Metrics. What agencies use to convince you that their plan is working.
  • Open rate. The number of angels that can dance on a pin head.
  • Outbound. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.
  • Paid media. Didn’t we used to call this advertising?
  • Passion. A word that has no place in business even if you have switched on your sincerity simulator.
  • Press release. PRs pretend to be excited. Journalists pretend to be interested.
  • Return on investment. Your marketing agency owner’s new sports car. Also, an imaginary number that is equal to or greater than the cost of purchasing a solution.
  • SEO. There are three secrets that are guaranteed to put your site at the top of Google’s search results but nobody knows what they are.
  • SME. Any company too small to have a dedicated account manager.
  • Social media.  Where your expensive content goes to be ignored.
  • Soft bounce. I went on holiday and all you got was this lousy out of office message.
  • Survey. A series of carefully crafted questions that generate the answers the PR company had originally wanted.
  • Synergy. The mystery factor that will balance the books, make the solution work and get the project done on time. See Kryptonite, Philosopher’s Stone, Unobtainium and XYZZY.
  • Tipping point. The moment when all your colleagues have heard the title but haven’t read the book.
  • Traffic. The number of bots, site scrapers, internet trolls and hackers that visited your website plus your mum.
  • Vice president. The minimum qualification required to be quoted in a press release.
  • White paper. Like an article but with added truthiness.

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One Response to The Devil’s Marketing Dictionary (Second Edition)

  1. Elizabeth Cogar says:

    What about “thought leader”? Person or entity who has managed to promote itself most loudly as the voice of an issue.

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