10 Words you should NEVER use in B2B copy - OriginLists

10 Words you should NEVER use in B2B copy

Your content needs all the help it can get because there is a tonne of stuff competing for people’s attention. But for some reason, the concept was couched in terminology that was overly complex. The kind that we sort of overlook because, well, it’s B2B.

It’s simple to claim that using industry jargon will make your material more credible: “These are the words we must use if we want to be regarded seriously.” There is a kernel of truth in that; you do need to write in their language when you’re writing for a niche audience. So, absolutely, language has its place.

But typically, that refers to highly relevant technical details for someone’s line of work. We run into difficulty when we utilize words that the reader would never genuinely use. Additionally, the esoteric terminology we used to give our material a competitive edge actually detracts from its credibility and authority.

These 10 terms and phrases are present in practically all B2B content, including your own (and some of mine). But they’re all meaningless, can be used incorrectly, or are simple to replace with something easier to read. And why would you make your audience’s lives any harder than they need to be?

1. Utilise:
In B2B copy, the word “utilise” is used frequently, but almost always, the word “use” would have served the same purpose just as effectively . Therefore, if you use “utilise” instead of “use,” you are purposefully making your material tougher to understand and opting to waste your reader’s time. They won’t be appreciative of it.

Even if there’s a little distinction, choosing the longer, clumsier “utilise” when it essentially means the same thing as “use” is superfluous padding. It is not necessary.

2. Leverage (as a verb):
There are several, far more concise, and effective ways to explain this. as in “use.” or “take advantage of.” Even “harness,” if you’re stretching yourself. Nearly anything will be preferable.

However, you can still use leverage as a noun because, well, that’s what the term is. This is an essential caveat. So go ahead if you want to discuss obtaining leverage for your company.

you might be referring to maximising the benefit from a present asset. But let’s be honest, it’s usually simply another pompous way of saying “use.” Nobody is awestruck.

Thankfully, this is one piece of corporate lingo that is gradually disappearing, yet some B2B types continue to use the verb “leverage.”

3. Innovative:
There are times when you’re discussing actual innovation processes in your company—the assets, people, and development needed to generate fresh product and service concepts. It’s alright. It’s true that there is such a thing in business.

It’s probably not innovative if you have to call it that.

Please stop, though, if all you’re doing is using the phrase “innovation” to promote yourself. It is the apex of telling as opposed to demonstrating.

If something is truly novel, you may explain in detail how it differs from the norm, why this is thrilling, and why it matters. However, if you throw the word “innovation” into a sentence carelessly, like “with our innovative new approach…”, it just sounds hollow and has no real meaning.

4. On-premise:
Sorry, tech marketers, but there is no such thing as “on-premise.” It is grammatically incorrect. You’re looking for the word “on-premises.”

A premise is a claim or idea that serves as the foundation for a conclusion. It is NOT the singular form of “premises,” which refers to a building and is hence singular.

Impact (as a verb)
Another marketing cliche that received a lot of flak from our blog readers is the use of “impact” when you mean “affect”.We believe it is well-liked so that authors won’t have to remember the distinction between “affect” and “effect”.

5. Ensure:
When was the last time you used the word “ensure” in a genuine, non-work conversation? This is related to words that are only ever used in a marketing setting.

This particular word only appears on B2B product sheets. Particularly, when the copy attempts to be active and benefit-led in the list of characteristics by beginning each bullet point with a verb.

6. Whilst:
Using “whilst” is frowned upon unless your style manual specifically instructs you to “write like a Victorian gentleman.” You should use “while” instead. Your writing will sound much more conversational and snappy as a result.

7. Trusted partner:
We are not sure how, but “trusted partner” gradually changed from a directive in a sales manual to a marketing positioning phrase used internally. This ultimately came to be something B2B brands would say about themselves in public without irony and expect consumers to maintain a straight face.

How much would you trust someone if they kept assuring you how reliable they were? Exactly.

8. Strategic:
Theoretically, this is acceptable if you are deliberately defining a separation between strategy and tactics. But more frequently, marketers use the word “strategic” to make something sound significant or in an unsuccessful attempt to move it up the value chain. And because it occurs so frequently, even correctly utilising the word “strategic” might damage your trust.

9. Drive:
This is still common in professional business writing. “Drive higher revenue.” “Drive efficiency throughout your company.”

Although it’s not very offensive, the terminology is just so ambiguous. How come you can’t say “improve”? maybe “deliver”? Or any other word that accurately conveys the type of advantage your good, service, or company can provide?

10. Best/Market-leading/Top:
You probably wouldn’t believe someone who claimed to be the best at something in real life. You would still disapprove of their pompousness even if they were the finest.The only exception to this rule is if a report of some kind claims that a company is in fact the market leader.


Eliminate these terms to improve your copy. Most of this clumsy, exaggerated language is completely acceptable in the B2B industry, which explains why no one objects to it. But it’s also a chance for that reason.

You will instantly stand out a little bit if you can make your content easier to read and understand by changing a few words. It gets a little bit simpler to interact with your marketing, and your brand comes across as slightly more reliable. These clumsy, ambiguous, and outdated words will quickly make your copy less effective. But if you can eliminate them, you’ll be able to better engage your audience and make your material more effective.