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Why complicated marketing jargon is a red flag and potentially damaging for a marketer

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Why complicated marketing jargon is a red flag and potentially damaging for a marketer

Marketing jargon

Despite clear communication being essential for any marketing specialist, complicated marketing jargon is still widely used in many marketing strategies and proposals in 2023. Google Ads and digital marketing specialist Kaity Griffin looks at why it is unnecessary, confusing and can potentially be damaging to a marketer.

I was recently speaking to an ex-Google Ads student of mine who asked for my advice on an agency proposal promising great results by utilising “DSP technology”.

To be honest, I had no idea what this “DSP technology” was – I don’t speak corporate fluently, and most of my conversations around Google Ads and digital marketing are with people that aren’t knee-deep in ad accounts every day.

So even though ads jargon is featured heavily in my comms (ROAS, CPA etc) – I try to avoid marketing lingo when speaking to students and clients for two main reasons. Firstly, I don’t want to confuse people. And secondly, I think a lot of the time using big words is just a bit of competition in order to make yourself look smart (which I’m not opposed to from time to time! I do like to look smart!).

How is complicated marketing jargon being used? 

After doing a little digging on Google and uncovering that “DSP technology” either refers to “Demand Side Platform” or “Digital Signal Processing”, the conversation quickly turned to the broader scope of the marketing proposal (specifically for Google Ads), and I was frustrated by the language being used. 

The proposal stated that the goal of the “DSP technology” was to “maximise conversions.” This goal was to be achieved through “various tactical digital capabilities across programmatic remarketing” with the secondary goal focusing on “driving high quality website traffic, among the targeting audiences, focusing on high clicks likelihood, therefore the key KPI is generating conversion”. And these examples were just a small selection from a nine page, jargon filled proposal. 

Quite frankly, this word salad is difficult to process for myself as a seasoned marketer, let alone for a new client unfamiliar with this specialist area. This type of complicated jargon is just riddled with ambiguity, and some of this language really just sensationalises some core functions of a Google Ads specialist. For example, to “maximise conversions” is a given and is the goal of every Google Ads account. It should not be painted in a way that takes a core function out of context.

Complicated and unnecessary language is a red flag 

Using complicated and unnecessary language when propping a client is really a red flag. 

By way of comparison, the above could be easily summarised to read: “Our goal is to increase sales (conversions) by remarketing across Google to a variety of audiences.” This is clear, uncomplicated language that avoids confusion around the job and its main purpose. 

There really is no need to use bogus terminology – that doesn’t even make sense – in order to woo a client. It’s unethical as it can mislead a client about the actual benefits, features, or limitations of a product or service. Such practices can also undermine trust and can lead to dissatisfaction or disappointment when clients realise they were not provided with clear and accurate information.

Confusion and bamboozling may work initially to win a client, but it’ll damage your long term relationship as it’ll never breed trust and safety which can also have a knock-on effect when it comes to referrals and the overarching brand credibility of a business. 

Clarity over confusion

The good news is that you can easily demonstrate your knowledge through language that doesn’t confuse clients, while still positioning yourself as an expert. For example, If you’re a marketing specialist – meet your client where they’re at in your comms. If they’re totally brand new to ads, talk in terms that make sense to them. Use “sales” instead of “conversions” or “revenue” instead of “conversion value”.

Connection plays a huge role in our ability to work with and retain clients. The more you can shapeshift your communication according to the client experience, the safer your client will feel. Choosing clarity over confusion everyday of the week will build honesty, accessibility, transparency and connection into your everyday work processes and wider business practices. 

Kaity Griffin is Australia’s leading Google Ads expert and trainer.


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