The Exhausted Words We're Dropping From Our Marketing Vocabulary

Photo by  Pedro Nogueira  on  Unsplash

In this age of Search Engine Optimization, it’s no surprise that certain words get used more frequently than others. Take a journey through our blog posts and you’ll quickly notice that keywords like “purpose-driven”, “content marketing”, “inbound marketing” and “what you’re made of” get more than their fair share of exposure. This is to be expected as brands work to build up their keyword density. That said, there are some terms that will never be beneficial to your SEO strategy because these words are so overused, across all industries, that they’ve become ineffective.

I hear "moist", I think "brownie". What's wrong with people?

I hear "moist", I think "brownie". What's wrong with people?


We all have words that we're tired of hearing. Everybody has a short list of words that feel like nails-on-a-chalkboard. In fact, words like “moist”, “hate” and “no” are among the most hated in the English language. But even hated words are more effective than words that are so overused they end up becoming placeholder text because they've lost meaning.


Our daily lives are filled with more information than we can process (containing many, many words). As such, we are operating highly sensitive filters that decide what information we take in and what information is redundant, boring or unworthy of our precious energy. Words that are overused get filed under meaningless and therefore aren’t able to capture the attention of an already highly-distracted audience.

Our brains are actually built to filter. According to Psychology Today:

When the cortex receives a type of information that it deems a priority (like focusing on the movie), it sends a signal back to a part of the thalamus known as the reticular nucleus. The structure uses the neurotransmitter GABA to inhibit transmission of other “irrelevant” signals from the thalamus to the cortex (the squeaky seats, popcorn, and air conditioning).

As a marketer, you only have a few seconds to grab the attention of your audience. That is not going to happen if you’re saying the same thing as everyone else - in the same way as everyone else.

A touch of genius on the part of Apple with this tagline.

A touch of genius on the part of Apple with this tagline.



A few taglines of the products of my childhood remain crystal clear in my memory - a testament to the attention they garnered and the strength of the statements themselves. Memorable, for certain.

Timex: It takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Almond Joy: Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.

AT&T: Reach out and touch someone.

It’s imperative that you get a handle on how your audience is receiving your message and adjust accordingly. To get by the nerotransmitter GABA, make sure you avoid the use of such over-used words. The words that we are avoiding?  










A quick Google search will yield endless lists like the one above. It seems that every agency out there has their own “no-go” list of words based partly in research, partly in preference and partly in the deep desire to be different. If you subscribed to the advice of every list out there, there would be very few words left for you to leverage (note: leverage was on another agency's list - HA!). One list in our review suggested that marketers should avoid the word “FIRST” but we disagree! Despite the fact that the word “first” may be used often, the meaning of the word certainly has not been diluted over time. First still means first, after all.

Regardless of your method, once you string together that perfect tagline and narrative, be sure you put it to the test with your target market to see how they receive it. There is no harm in testing, tweaking and testing again until you’re certain that your words are attracting attention and provoking action - just like the very best taglines of our time.  

Struggling with what words to put together? We’ve got you covered with our FREE GUIDE: 10 Days of Social Posts! You can grab it right here!