Ask HN: Does anyone else get more confused with marketing buzz-word hell?

8 points by pastram_i 5 days ago

I’m not sure how many times I’ve come across a site or looked into a service/product I’ve heard about; only to read paragraph after paragraph of buzz-word hell to realize I still have no idea what it/they even do/does.

I’m wondering if it’s 1) Some ADHD lack of absorbing from just not caring 2) I’m legit dumb and I guess need to memorize more key words or get over myself 3) this is a relatively new norm, and I’m not alone 4) ????

Froedlich 4 days ago

I periodically hit pages where I can't tell what a vendor's product does. Or I already know what it does, but it's so full of buzzwords, trademarked terminology, and bafflegab I'm lost. VMWare's web site was a good example of that, last I bothered to look at it.

If a product is promoted as a "solution", that normally indicates it's over-priced, under-featured and not worth looking at further.

There are still a few companies out there so proud of their products they not only don't want to post the price of their products, they want us to pay a consultation fee so they can "craft" a "solution" for us. Uh, no. We're not a Fortune 100 company or a state agency; if you won't tell us at least a ballpark price up front, you're simply wasting our time.

Final fail: companies that only give you a bare outline of what their product does, but fail to tell you important details. You're supposed to leave voicemail for one of their salesmen, who will call you at his convenience to give you the hard sell. No. I'm the guy with the purchase authorization; you dance to my tune.

  • Awelton 3 days ago

    I also went through the "no price" dance when I went shopping for a new program for my company. Every website for the dozen or so companies that made software for it had no pricing, a webform to fill out so a salesman can get back with you, and a free trial that said salesman was supposed to email a key for. I tried to get a trial for all of them and got one email from a salesman that referred me back to the website for a trial key. When I told him the website wouldn't give a key and that it specifically stated that the salesman would contact me with it he promptly stopped responding. So much for "Providing modern solutions for confabuable womperdinks in a global world" or whatever the buzzwords were. Apparently if you aren't a multinational company that they can make bespoke software and group training bucks off of they aren't interested.

  • pastram_i 3 days ago

    The funny part is, VMWares site is what sparked this conversation when I heard an ad on their VMWare Cloud service, and went to their site to see what it was about.

    To this day I have zero idea.

  • pastram_i 2 days ago

    Those last two, I pretty much avoid at all cost.

codegeek 4 days ago

It is mostly based out of FOMO and what the Competition is doing. Imagine your landing page saying "A database that can replicate automatically" vs "Web Scale performance at incredible speed". The latter sounds more interesting and vague enough because no one wants to admit that they are selling "just a database". But but , we are more than that.

Funny enough, YC talks about this in their videos where they reject applications with marketing buzzwords.

Once you are well known though, you could get away with more marketing buzzwords. For example, if you visit Docker's landing page right now, it says "Develop faster. Run anywhere.". Ok WTF. What does that mean ? But since we already know that Docker is containerization tech, we don't care about its landing page anyway. But do they seriously think anyone landing on docker doesn't already know docker because "develop faster" doesn't mean anything.

legitster 5 days ago

I work in marketing and you would not believe how many meetings I have been in about this very topic.

There are specifically two forces at play:

1. Marketing copy has to be very risk averse. If your company loses a major deal because a buyer somewhere thought your product didn't check a single specific niche feature, you better believe the sales team will be crawling all your site to remove any non-vague verbage.

2. You and I and any technical user of a platform may not get any meaning out of vague-buzzwords, but we share the curse of knowing too much to bother wasting money on shiny new tools. The kinds of people who actually spend money don't.

  • pastram_i 2 days ago

    I think these go together; and make a lot of sense. I think this is the best answer to the 'why', and at least I understand it.

    I still don't like it.... but....

  • muzani 4 days ago

    Sounds like the same problem with resumes.

_448 4 days ago

There is something called "If you cannot convince them, then confuse them" :)

Most of the products are "also ran" products. They have nothing new to sell. So, this simple trick is used to disorient the readers.

vmoore 5 days ago

Buzz words are sometimes used to hype up something, so be skeptical when you encounter them. Sometimes they're used to conceal something very complex, when it should be explained simply to a five year old. Think Blockchain, AI, NFTs, etc

  • pastram_i 2 days ago

    I think the explained simply is what I prefer (or maybe expect?). I think another comment mentioned the 'safety' of being vague, and I can see that being very likely.

  • muzani 4 days ago

    I think of it like salt. A little here and there is necessary, but too much is sign of a bad cook or that the chicken isn't very fresh.

paulcole 4 days ago

Can you give a single example of a buzz-word or a site that includes paragraph after paragraph of “buzz-word hell”?

Odds are it’s that you are playing dumb and really think you’re much smarter than the person who wrote the page and you also don’t have much respect for marketing work.

  • pastram_i 2 days ago

    In all fairness I provided that as a possible reason; I respect that it's a legitimate possibility.

    The other comments though ensure that they _do_ exist - but they could be in the same scenario, or other people have just come happen to across the ones I have as well.

    Not much of the initial conversation but I do think I have respect for marketing work, but I've a preference for different methods in that work. I would assume the versions I don't care much of come more from people far from the tool/service itself and higher up in the chain. But that's an educated guess.

    imho - I would just imagine clear, concise, and direct explanation of features and specifications would be much more beneficial for the marketing team, sales teams, and overall company/group.