Buzzwords

A couple of people asked me for hair product recommendations last week, and while I was doing some research on what to recommend, I went down the rabbit hole of reading customer reviews of a shampoo.

Personally, I find there is value to customer reviews. I think they can give you a general idea about a product or service and how well it works. I also think you need to take them with a grain of salt, because well, people don’t always know what they’re doing or talking about.

For example, the shampoo in question was for “color-treated” hair. Many of the reviews claimed the shampoo washed out their color, but they also wrote they used boxed dye (shudder), had bright colors, or washed their hair daily. Most bright colors are semi-permanent or direct dyes, which fade quickly regardless of your shampoo. Washing your hair daily will strip color, because you’re washing your hair daily. And don’t even get me started on boxed dye.

The point to all this is the consumers saw a buzzword – “color-treated” –and pounced, even though they didn’t have their pieces in order or the correct industry knowledge to execute a proper review.

This also happens in marketing and communications. A client will hear a buzzword – such as “viral,” “millennial,” or “influencer” – at a conference or from a colleague and immediately decide they should also be doing whatever the buzzword de jour is. And while that may be true, it’s not always the case.

What is working for Bob in Illinois may not work for Jane in Georgia. As marketers, our job is to figure out which of the buzzwords our clients need and the best way to use them. As marketers, our challenge is getting our clients to understand sometimes a buzzword is just a buzzword…and not in their best interest.

Nadia Zerka is an account director and resident beauty advisor at Imagine Communications.

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