Matthew Stibbe at Bad Language has been compiling some wickedly good definitions of marketing clichés. Check out his Devil's Marketing Dictionary parts one and two, and feel free to add your own contributions.
A sampling from the Book of Matthew:
- Return on investment. An imaginary number that is equal to or greater than the cost of purchasing a solution.
- Best practices. Don’t do as I do, do as I say.
- Call to action. The mating cry of a salesman in written form.
- 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.
- Web 2.0. A website where readers do most of the work for you and you don’t have to pay them a penny.
- Survey. A series of carefully crafted questions that generate the answers the PR company had in mind when they pitched the idea to their client.
- Passion. Used by PRs and copywriters when they have their sincerity simulator dialed all the way up to 11.
To which I'd add:
- Corporate DNA: "How we do things around here." Fuzzy science for the cubicle set.
The original Devil's Dictionary was the work of the American journalist Ambrose Bierce, who published it in weekly installments between 1881 and 1906. (He disappeared, probably in Mexico, sometime after 1913.) Bierce's lexicon is as timely as ever, as these definitions prove:
Self-esteem, n. An erroneous appraisement.
Friendship, n. A ship big enough to carry two in fair weather, but only one in foul.
Erudition, n. Dust shaken out of a book into an empty skull.