I really like the term “disrupt.” I especially like it in the true way that it was meant to be used when we talk about marketing. I do fear that this powerful word, and even more powerful concept, is being used too lightly of late. I guess that’s bound to happen whenever any of us jump on the marketing bandwagon of the day. Yesterday was “touch points,” today “disruption,” tomorrow—well who knows, maybe it will be “market confusion.” You heard it here first. “Let’s confuse the market by…” Talk about disrupting.

I do have to protest the use of the term in cases when we are clearly not disrupting, but attempting to do something—part mundane, such as differentiating or simply creating a competitive strategy. Who decides if a strategy or idea is truly “disruptive.” Won’t we have to see the result of our actions to know if it did indeed disrupt the market? Is there a disruption council or board we can consult to see if our idea is worthy of the term “disruptive?”

I am not bitter about the term itself (as I do believe in it). I do get concerned that it is easy to label an action or strategy without pushing ourselves to achieve what the label represents. In other words, the label alone is not enough, and we should not settle on the label without the sales force.

Another concept that has big meaning to me, yet gets used too lightly, is “Blue Ocean” Strategy. This one should be relegated to those strategies that completely change a market, create new markets, leverage opportunities not yet leveraged… you know what I mean. Yet, to my dismay, it gets thrown into conversations where live extensions are dismissed for existing products or new dosage forms of drugs we already have. While these ideas just mentioned may be commercially viable, even successful, they are rarely a Blue Ocean Strategy.

One more term that I feel can go to the shelter for abused marketing terms? “Integrated marketing.” I have heard numerous discussions of integrated markets that did not include the use of the Internet. How can you truly have an integrated marketing plan without using the Internet as a tool?

Before you use the latest marketing jargon in your next PowerPoint, I challenge you to ask yourself, “Have I really achieved the intent of the terms I am using?” If not, I encourage you to push forth until you do.