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Buzzword bingo in CX

6th Dec 2021
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Buzzwords. Those linguistic flies at a picnic that get in your face and don’t make for a pleasant experience. We all know them when we hear them; often something relating to a technical term that evolved into a briefly fashionable phrase, thrown in to impress. 

The buzzword of the moment of course is NFT, which beat ‘cheugy’ (what a young person might call you if you use buzzwords all the time), ‘hybrid working’ and ‘metaverse’ to become the Collins Dictionary ‘word of the year’ for 2021.

Using buzzwords is a highly effective way to lose an audience. Just saying ‘growth hacking,’ ‘CX,’ or ‘omnichannel,’ is likely to damage credibility and destroy empathy. 

Here are a few reasons to avoid adding buzzwords for no good reason:

  • They fail to make a connection or create empathy. 

  • They sound like you have hot air and filler - there’s usually a clearer way to make a connection. 

  • They can lead to confusion - we may all know the buzzword, but are we all on the same page about what it means? Think about the current conversations around gender or race - language matters and can often exacerbate division.

  • Buzzwords can exclude people, and when they don’t understand they will tune out. 

  • They are a sign of insecurity. If you have conviction in your ideas or message, there is little need to add buzzwords for effect.

Having a common language can make you feel part of the pack. But any social benefit from connecting can quickly be eroded if it also leads to confusion and exclusion. Is this a risk you are willing to take? Here are a few True & North pet hates: 


This means Customer Experience. Like UX - User Experience, it’s an example of using an initialism to sound smart - when in fact you could be more inclusive and use the entire term. Using initialisms and acronyms might sound like you know what you’re on about, but it doesn’t help others join you in your understanding. 

Growth Hacking

This originally described how small businesses used low cost techniques (reviews, e-commerce merchandising tactics, social media presence, SEO etc) to drive growth. Today it defies definition. It can mean ‘we have no marketing budget,’ or ‘we want to behave like a start-up’ (whatever that means). Sometimes it just means you have a growth strategy - one assumes ‘hacking’ is added for effect. And most of the time your guess is as good as mine.


Through the line? 360 campaigns? Integrated Plans? Shopper Journey? Why do we keep inventing new words to say what businesses have known for decades? People experience brands, companies and retailers through a variety of channels. 

What are your buzzword triggers? Share the ones you really hate to hear and let us know why they don’t work for you. There’s always a better alternative. 

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