What’s in a (new) word?

From showrooming to virgin consumers we’re tripping over new business buzzwords at every turn. Are they simply jargon or do they tell us something about today’s rapidly changing business landscape that we should be listening to?

We’ve taken eight newly popular terms you’re likely to come across at a business brainstorm near you. We believe that at least half of them are here to stay. Perhaps one is about to turn your industry on its head. Take a look.

You know the form – you cruise a bricks-and-mortar store looking for something to buy, smart phone in hand. You find the right product, perhaps even try it on, and then hop online to find where you can buy it cheaper. That’s showrooming.

The proliferation of consumer choice and product innovation means we are all, at times, virgin consumers. Every day we come across products, services, apps, experiences or brands that we haven’t encountered before. Virgin consumers delight in trying out all that is new on the market.

When retail shopping meets performance art. An example is international lolly franchise, Sticky. Sticky’s in-store sales team makes traditional hand-made lollies in the shop front. Browsers are audience to a showcase of artisan skills and to a constant engaging banter as the sugar is heated, twisted, coloured, rolled and shaped.

A work option for people looking for extremely flexible – even random – working hours, those who can offer mere slivers of time at irregular hours. Project workflow is broken into discrete tasks that can be allocated to workers at any place at almost any time. An example is uTest, which crowdsources software and web app testing. www.slivers.com is a marketplace that links work to flexible workers.

This term was coined by the Property and Environment Research Institute (PERC) in the US. An enviropreneur is a person who looks to create assets out of environmental problems, who sees commercial opportunity where others see waste, garbage or pollution. An enviropreneur applies economics and market principles to tackle environmental problems.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a company’s digital IQ is an assessment of how well they understand the value of technology and weave it into the fabric of their organisation. A company with a high digital IQ integrates technology into the way they plan, innovate, measure results, interact with customers and, ultimately, business to create value.

Digital think tank L2 ranked the digital IQ of 100 US senators on the basis of website strength, social media following, digital marketing aptitude and search engine optimisation skills. They found that Republican senators had, on average, a higher digital IQ than their Democrat peers. It didn’t help them win the last election, however.

Used to mean getting a free ride on another company’s marketing initiative (you put my brochure in your magazine and I’ll put yours in mine). More recently marketers use fusion marketing to talk about the merging of traditional, digital and social media into one custom marketing platform. It is about ‘fusing’ the plethora of marketing platforms into one effective marketing strategy.

A shift from ownership to renting, leasing, sharing, borrowing in an economy where access to a product becomes more important than ownership. Highly visible examples include goget or zipcar car share services, or Netflix for movies.

When you’ve heard of someone, or something, via Twitter – the social media marketer’s holy grail.

Last updated:
27 February 2019