The Big Picture: It’s time to find a better solution

November 1, 1999

The Big Picture:It’s time to find a better solutionBy Kathy Kincade, EditorHave you ever noticed how every year, in any industry, certain words and phrases become the marketing department’s mantra? While buzzwords certainly make our

The Big Picture:
It’s time to find a better solution

By Kathy Kincade, Editor

Have you ever noticed how every year, in any industry, certain words and phrases become the marketing department’s mantra? While buzzwords certainly make our jobs as trade journalists easier by decreasing the amount of brainpower we actually have to use at times, they also make our jobs harder by forcing us to waste more time than we usually have weeding out the glowing adjectives and corporate doublespeak that fill so many press releases.

It’s like dealing with my three-year-old, Tommy. Most every day his ever-expanding vocabulary features some new word or phrase that he becomes infatuated with and repeats over and over, ad nauseam (most often, of course, that word is “no”). The problem is that, after a while, I just stop listening.

This industry is as guilty as any other of overusing a turn of phrase that originally seemed a good idea but over time has lost its charm. Some that come to mind include deploy, enterprise-wide, Web-enabled, browser-based, scalable, plug-and-play, seamless integration, ramp up, and e-business, e-commerce, e-anything. And I promised I would try never again to write that mother of all catchphrases, but how about Y2K?

The problem is that by using buzzwords over and over, not only do you annoy people, but you risk losing the attention of the single most important listener you have—your customers. It’s like politics: sometimes you just want someone to give you the straight scoop, whether you like the way it sounds or not.

So, could we please all put our heads together and come up with another word for “solution”?