Irritating words and phrases – have you used any today?

The Telegraph published a list of the ten most irritating words and phrases a while ago:

1 – At the end of the day

2 – Fairly unique

3 – I personally

4 – At this moment in time

5 – With all due respect

6 – Absolutely

7 – It’s a nightmare

8 – Shouldn’t of

9 – 24/7

10 – It’s not rocket science

You can probably add your own pet squirmy phrases to this – one of mine is “out of the box” particularly when used by people in the creative sector. It’s just so…. in the box. Words and phrases come in and out of fashion and it’s odd how you notice the same ones popping up, sometimes in the course of just one day. My word of the day is “curated” and my phrase is “reaching out”. Curated was mentioned today in connection with a museum collection in an article I read and then, only an hour or so later I was reading about “curated commerce” in relation to driving selected content to consumers online.

The phrase “reaching out” was used in an email from a client today as in “I will be reaching out to you soon about…”. I then heard the same phrase on the morning news referring to the utilities companies who expect their customers to “reach out to them” when they cannot pay their bills. So much more emotive than saying “I will be in touch” or “I will contact you”, reaching out begs a sympathetic response – at least until we get fed up with hearing it.

I thought about these two concepts and how they apply to today’s business world. Business is in many ways less personal than it used to be. The sales funnel has been turned on its head as buyers are no longer limited to the choices that are set before them. As vendors, we really do need to curate our offers to make them relevant and we certainly need to reach out to our target customers in ways that will make them take notice.

This has always been the raison d’etre of marketing of course (sorry if you hate that phrase). Ever since the Henry Ford approach was abandoned and people demanded colours other than black, marketeers have been preaching about tailoring content and accurate targeting. But when you really start to think about the intelligence that is available to us now, you realise that we are only just starting to scratch the surface of what can be achieved.

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