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Everybody loves to hate buzzwords, but those of us who work in digital need to tolerate the birth of new phrases to describe new things.

I’m not talking about horrific PR terminology like ‘leverage’ and ‘synergy’ and ‘blue sky’, which are not to be tolerated, and which I’ve previously discussed

Instead, we shall focus on those buzzwords and phrases that have originated in recent years, and which have significantly grown in popularity over the past year.

Before we begin, and to optimise your experience, you may wish to play this video before starting to read through this list…

Big data

There remains a whole bunch of confusion around this term, which seems to mean different things to different people, and which might be a big load of baloney.  

I happen to think there’s tons of opportunity in this area, but the reality is that most companies haven’t remotely got to grips with their ‘little data’, which must be a top priority for anybody interested in delighting customers. 

Big data is the dream, the future. Little data is the reality, the present (or should be).

Content marketing

Not a new phrase, but one that continues to grow in stature, as brands have woken up to the fact that great content is the key to engaging audiences. In this social age it makes plenty of sense to create lots of shareable content.

Content marketing covers a bunch of different areas, and it should be properly aligned to the needs of the business.

I have previously outlined 26 success factors for a winning content marketing strategy, should you need any inspiration.

Responsive design

There remains a lot of debate on whether this is the right approach to take, but responsive web design is certainly a good idea if you want to improve the user experience for your mobile visitors.

We’ve written about RWD a great deal in 2013, and I unearthed 14 brands that have increased conversion rates after going down the responsive route.

We’ll be doing this ourselves in 2014, and I’ll let you know how it works out.

Growth hacking

Growth hacking is a mindset, rather than a toolset, says Aaron Ginn. Growth hackers tend to be both goal-focused and product-focused.

Surely this should not be about hiring a bunch of people with ‘growth hacker’ in their job title, but about making growth hacking part of a company’s culture. It’s a team game.


Why look, you’re reading another list! 

The list-based format is not going to go away anytime soon. Lists are popular for various reasons, and while it is easy to pour scorn on them they work very well for readers and writers alike.

Last year the majority of Econsultancy's most popular posts were lists. Don't go changing...

Digital transformation

Digital transformation is the science of adapting your organisation to the times in which we live. Consumers are more digtally-enabled than ever, and most companies (especially larger ones) have a lot of work to do in this area, lest the customer experience worsens.

Econsultancy has a digital transformation consulting division, and I’ll let you into a secret: at the start of 2013 we didn’t rank at all for this phrase, despite it being a query on the rise, and the fact that this kind of work is becoming a much bigger part of our business.

As such, I made it a priority to claim some real estate on Google for this query, and we’ve done rather well, after writing numerous articles and publishing some useful research on digital transformation.

If you need help, do get in touch!


Econsultancy alumni Ryan Sommer called it back in January, after he said that newsjacking would be one of the content marketing trends of 2013

Jumping on the back of news stories to raise brand awareness is something that many of the smarter agile marketers have embraced this year. And speaking of agile…

Agile marketing

Part rapid response, part programmatic, part cultural, agile marketing is a fast rising discipline, and it is a firm favourite in our office.

Our CEO Ashley Friedlein defined the 70:20:10 rule of agile marketing, and I compiled some excellent examples of agile marketing from brands that are able to think fast and execute quickly.

Native advertising

“Is it just another label for shitty advertorials?”

Hopefully not. Native advertising is possibly best described by Ian Schafer, who says it is “advertising that takes advantage of a platform in the ways consumers are actually using it”.

We’ve written about it this year, and it is an area we will explore in more detail in 2014.


It seems that multichannel isn’t good enough these days!

David Moth’s description of omnichannel makes the most sense to me:

Omnichannel extends past social networks, email, web and mobile, to include the entire customer experience, so it includes things like in-store displays, kiosks, interactive television and set-top boxes.

I think we'll be seeing more people with 'omnichannel' in their job titles in the years to come.

No doubt I have missed a few. Any others to suggest?

Chris Lake

Published 4 December, 2013 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

Oliver Ewbank

Oliver Ewbank, Digital Marketing Manager at Koozai

Nice post, although you forgot selfie which is Oxford Dictionaries word of 2013! With SnapChat getting bigger it could be used more in 2014.

almost 3 years ago


Urgent Genius

2013 seems to be the year that Newsjacking came of age. We've picked out 15 of the best and 3 Fails from around the globe.

almost 3 years ago

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