6th Jul 2015

Common Calgary Marketing Terms

The marketing agencies in Calgary are always aflame with creating new vocabularies for the advertising world. Every day a new slogan or marketing phrase is imagined trying to assemble the next great online marketing phenomenon, and it is instantly latched on to and used like it has been around forever. It’s just what marketers do. Sadly some of these phrases are so over used and unexpressive they need to be consigned to the ‘has been’ folder in their Apple Mac, and some of them should never have been invented in the first place.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at these beauties…

Think Outside the Box

I can see you rolling your eyes the moment you heard this. How many times, and in how many applications have you come across this particular marketing phrase? Think outside the box? What does it mean? What box? Where is the box? Is that my box – or your box? What was in the box that I’m not supposed to be thinking about? Nothing about it really makes sense.

The whole concept seems incredibly pretentious as the concept it describes is simple – think creatively! It is one phrase that has fallen fast from its pedestal and its use only succeeds in indicating how far out of touch with marketing you really are.


‘Killer’ is a word that is only acceptable in two places – in an elementary school playground during recess and on the album cover of any 1970’s rock band. That is all. It should be made to be illegal for it to be used by persons under the age of 11, which immediately does not rule out the whole of the marketing industry – they only look, and sometimes act, like they are under the age of 11, but are really all in their mid-thirties.

You will usually find the word ‘Killer’ liberally used in conjunction with, ‘awesome’, ‘sick’ (meaning good), and ‘stoked’. Call me old fashioned, but any person who still has a grade 6 level of vocabulary at the age of 35 may not be the right person to run your marketing campaign – unless it really is for the album cover of a 1970’s rock band.

Low Hanging Fruit

This phrase is not a bad phrase in itself. It’s descriptive and concise, but in marketing terms it’s an insult. Why would we aim for the ‘low hanging fruit’? If it’s easy to get, substandard marketing will work, but why would you want to produce low quality marketing? It may be quicker to produce, but costs about the same to promote, but by putting in a little more thought and effort you can just as easily create a campaign that will catch the high hanging fruit too.

Let’s face it, producing any marketing is not cost free so you might as well make the most of your money and when are you going to have the time and budget to make the same campaign twice?

Cutting Edge

The one phrase that appears in every proposal and marketing pitch is ‘cutting edge’. ‘Cutting edge’ as a phrase is as non-descript as ‘think outside the box’. It’s easy to comprehend that it’s an edge – that cuts, but the cutting edge of what? A knife has a cutting edge, but that’s what it’s supposed to have! It’s useless without one. All cutting edges are designed for one reason – to cut. But the fact something can cut does not mean it is the ultimate in usefulness. The sharpness of the edge is insignificant. A cutting edge is just not something that is unusual, but worse than that and is a device that if used improperly is dangerous, or frustrating if not used at all.

It’s not the fact you have an edge that matters – it’s the way you use it.

Award Winning

If any marketing team could guarantee that their campaign would be award winning they would have wall to wall customers from here to eternity, all shaking fists full of money at them trying to outbid the next client. You quickly learn in marketing that it’s really hard to produce the kind of advertising that wins awards, though every campaign you do should be an attempt at winning one.

There are also so many awards for so many areas of marketing – including the Tracy Awards which are given for the worst marketing of the year. You surely don’t want to win one of those!

Content is King

Most advertising professionals have a ‘love/hate’ relationship with the phrase, Content is King’. It’s a valuable truism, but so overused it’s now irritating. Good content will win more sales than well-dressed bad content, but that’s 1: common sense, and 2: so well-known we don’t need reminding about it.

One other, more than mildly annoying fact about this often repeated phrase of intelligent hideousness is it’s authorship. We have seen it attributed to Seth Godin, Bill Gates and other prominent business people including Mother Theresa and Abraham Lincoln… Hummmmm…


Who ever made this word popular does not know the marketing meaning of it.

According to dictionary.com:





of, pertaining to, characterized by, or of the nature of a revolution, or asudden, complete, or marked change:

a revolutionary junta.


radically new or innovative; outside or beyond established procedure,principles, etc.:

a revolutionary discovery.


  1. unprecedented, novel, drastic, unorthodox.”

You’re confused, aren’t you?

Of course marketing can have a ‘sudden change of direction’, or design ‘outside established procedure’, but how much can you change an established industry? But is there a way to ‘change direction’ enough to incite widespread action or have people rioting in the streets? No, not really. If creating an average campaign in a funky colour is a ‘revolutionary new direction’, then we marketers need a serious ‘revolution recalibration’.

‘Changing the direction’ and thinking ‘outside established procedure’ is the daily job of a marketer. We want to be revolutionary in every project or it will get lost in the mass of media online. Any marketer worth their salt in marketing is the revolutionary.


Stop there… just don’t go any further. Don’t, just don’t.  

Thought Leader

How can anyone lead thoughts? What kind of a person claims to lead thoughts? How does a thought leader capitalise on his commodity?

Thought leader: A penny for my thoughts

Customer: Sorry? I thought you were supposed to buy my thoughts?

Thought leader: Aha! See! You thought wrong! I am a thought leader. Therefore I think before you do.

Customer: Then what do you do with the thoughts?

Thought Leader: You buy them

Customer: Why?

Thought Leader: Because I am a thought leader, and you are a thought follower

Customer: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out…

Don’t be presumptuous. Give your audience some credit!


Have you heard the term ‘disruptive marketing’? What’s that all about? Anything preceded by the term ‘disruptive’ does not conjure up positive images. The word disruptive means:


 synonyms: delinquent, troublesomeunruly, badly behaved, rowdydisorderlyundisciplined, wild.” 

Would you want to meet a meet a disruptive marketer in a dark alley on a winters night? Or even in a well-lit office at lunch time? No thank you! Way too risky …

Couple that with another overused and irrepressibly popular marketing term – ‘ninja’ – which is a member of a feudal Japanese society of mercenary agents, highly trained in martial arts and stealth (ninjutsu) who were hired for covert purposes ranging from espionage to sabotage and assassination – then you have ‘Marketing Ninjas’ which are obviously delinquent, unruly, undisciplined marketing mercenaries, highly trained in subterfuge and illegal practices who want to market your fluffy bunny…

… Amazeballs.


In itself, this is not an overused word, it’s the way that it’s used that is incorrect.

“We are a market leader”. Everyone says that! How many market leaders can there be? Have they not heard that self-praise is worse than no praise at all?

The next time someone tells you they are a marketing leader I dare you to say, ‘Prove it!’ and watch them scramble to prove … something!

In an industry that moves as fast as marketing does sometimes it’s reassuring to know what’s totally hip today, will be shunned tomorrow, and as far as we’re concerned, these phrases can’t be shunned fast enough. Hang round in the industry for a long time and you’ll be able to put an age to the marketer by listening to canned phases they use to describe their campaigns.

After all, when you’re a cutting edge, revolutionary, thought leader marketing agency like we are, who else is as Amazeballs?

What Calgary marketing buzzwords get you hot under the collar? Don’t be afraid to share them below.