5 Words that You Should Never Use in Sales or Marketing


Social media is becoming the most prevalent place for business to market themselves to consumers, but how does what is posted affect the consumer and potential sales? For most companies and individuals, the main objective of marketing is to drive traffic to their store or site and encourage customer interaction and purchases. Therefore, “action” words are implemented with little thought as to the actual implications of the word. Are they really driving traffic to your site and persuading customers to take action or are they detracting from potential sales?

According to an article by Inc.com, there are eleven words that should never be used by marketers that deter customers from utilizing your product or service. Below are the five words that are most relevant to social branding.

“Best in Class”

There are two problems with that phrase: Who defined your “class,” and who determined you were the “best” in it?

Customers do not want to hear you state that you are the best in the business; they want proof. It is important to include awards, accomplishments, and customer testimonials demonstrating the excellence of your product. Often, customers don’t need ‘the best’ in the industry; they need what’s best for their needs. By demonstrating your accomplishments rather than professing that you are ‘the best’, customers are able to gage for themselves whether your product/service will satisfy their needs.

“Exceeds Expectations”

Similar to the above statement, this is something that should be left to the customer to determine rather than you telling them that you go above and beyond.

Tell me what you will do, every time. If you consistently pull that off, I’ll be delighted.

Most businesses have this as a goal and strive to insure that they are meeting and exceeding customers expectations in every interaction; however, this is a internal goal.


In a time where products and services are constantly being introduced into the marketplace, there are few that can truly boast at being unique. Rather, the majority of products or services have substitute products. Therefore, stating that you are unique does not describe your capabilities any more than stating your age or gender. Instead, describe how and why you are better than your competition. Focus on your strengths and utilize those. What is about your product or service that sets you apart form the competition?


“Social media expert” often reads as “We have Twitter and Facebook accounts and even know how to use them!

Generally, if a you need to state that you are an ‘expert’ in a particular area then you are not. Customers should be able to reach this conclusion on their own. Your previous work and expertise should speak for itself. Furthermore, just because you may be able to offer a particular product/service that work in the past, it does not mean that it will be suited to every customers needs.

“Exceptional ROI”

Given that social media is still relatively new to businesses, potential customers are seeking a return on their investment. Everyone want to know how well a particular campaign did or what your product/service can do for them. Therefore, show them the areas that will benefit and provide them with a clear and concise strategy. Then, let them calculate their own ROI.

For many, attention getters are the staples for marketing our brand; however, insure that the words that are being chosen are not detracting from the quality of the brand. Overall, it is important to allow the customer or other party to determine what is best for them and whether your product or service will indeed meet their needs. As marketers, we can provide them with the necessary evidence to entice the customer.

7 thoughts on “5 Words that You Should Never Use in Sales or Marketing

  1. I really like this article because it draws a HUGE distinction between traditional forms of marketing and the way marketers used to use buzz words to make them stand out, but now, we don’t need to do that since a company’s actions will speak for themselves, for the most part. In addition, I think the “Exceeds Expectation” is particularly true. I find myself annoyed every time I watch TBS for the very same reason the article states–they shouldn’t be TELLING me that they’re “Very Funny,” they should let me decide for myself based on the quality of their programs.

  2. This is a very good post! Before I entered this class I never realized how much effect social media has on the current market place. On top of that, it makes sense that there are some key words or phrases that will either catch customers attention or deter them. In each of these examples I can see exactly why the phrase or word just would not quite sit correctly with customers. As social media evolves I believe this idea will be looked into more and more as it could be the difference between a sale or no sale.

  3. @Keila- I completely agree with your TBS example. It always bothers me because honestly- TBS isn’t that funny (in my opinion)! This is a very interesting article, I’ve never read something quite like it. At first I was confused as to how bad these phrases could really be… after all, most companies use them all the time. As I thought about it, I realized that it does sound unprofessional and asserts a message that is based on assumptions, rather than stating facts. These messages can come off annoying, and sometimes even offensive. Great post.

  4. The bottom line is this: There’s no room for generalized subjective terms in this field, or any field for that matter. Everyone has their own expectations, and they will stick to them. I agree with the fact that sugary words like unique and exceptional can be distasteful, but I think this is true in explaining anything at all! I can call my family unique because they’re all really good at tennis (they’re not) but someone else’s family might be in the circus, who knows… it’s all relative.
    It was funny to read “Twitter expert: I have an account and even know how to use it!” Understandably, people get paid to tweet for their companies all day, but calling themselves an ‘expert’ on Twitter sends the exact opposite message out… they seem like newbs.

  5. I love to read articles like this because I think it’s truly amazing to discover organizations that still rely on (and invest in) these generalized buzz terms. As the global market heads into an era of a more research-prone consumer, companies may be hurt by the non-specificity of their copy on their website or values; in order to hook a customer, they must see value or the potential of value in the future. I agree with Steph (meyersstephm) that there is no room for the utilization of these generalized terms because although they may intrigue a potential customer, time is wasted when providing them with a definition or explanation of what that term means; because experiences and expectations are different for everyone, the word “unique” may not mean the same to two people. Good post and relevant information!

  6. It’s like the coffee shop that states ” #1 coffee in the world” and then when you try it, it taste like crap. This article sheds light on the words that companies shouldn’t use and it is very important to take these in to consideration. I feel like the consumer should be the one to make the calls and generating the buzz. It is somewhat disheartening to believe that companies still rely on buzz word. There are so many ways to call attention to the consumer. The words from the blog post do seem overused and I as a consumer wouldn’t be intrigued since I have been numbed by all these words. Great post, very interesting.

  7. I really like this article as well. It shows the different between the use of buzz words as well as traditional media. My favorite part was the “Exceed Expectations” section. The quote, or motto stated “Tell me what you will do, every time. If you consistently pull that off, I’ll be delighted.” is a great guideline to follow to exceed your consumers expectations.

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