The 2010 Marketing Tea Party Awards

Nothing says “we’re a pompous bunch of self-centered egomaniacs in desperate need of attention” than handing out eponymous awards. So, here at The Marketing Tea Party, we’re proud to announce our first (and probably last) annual Marketing Tea Party awards.

Here are the categories and award winners:

Most  Annoying Word In The Marketing Lexicon

This was a tough choice, lots of good candidates for this award. The third runner-up is”mocial”, the combination of social and mobile. Not popular enough to crack the top three, but annoying enough to get nominated.

Second runner up is “game-changer.” No other word flows off the tongues of social media gurus faster than this one, as they proclaim every friggin’ announcement associated with the mobile and social media spaces to be a game-changer. Despite the fact that the past 20 years have only seen two or three real game-changers, the gurus fall over themselves to use this term.

First runner-up is “tweetup.” How the hell it’s come to pass that any offline get-together is now considered to be a tweetup is beyond our comprehension. A truly annoying buzzword, but not quite as annoying as our 2010 winner of the most annoying word in the marketing lexicon: Like.

There’s not a website on this planet that hasn’t slapped an annoying Like button on every page of its site. Little did Sally Field know back then when she said at the Oscars “you like me, you really like me”, that she would spark such universal interest in the word like. For the record, we at the Marketing Tea Party don’t give a damn what you like, nor do we care whether or not you like us.

Most Overhyped Yet Ineffective Marketing Tool

While the rest of the marketing world moves towards greater accountability and measurability, Twitter bucks the trends. With no ability to: 1) measure whether or not marketing messages are read; 2) customize or personalize messages; or 3) know the demographics, behaviors, or attitudes of  the intended recipients of tweets, Twitter is still fawned over as the next great marketing platform.

Twitter won’t ever succeed as an advertising channel. First of all, we don’t want to read. It’s too much effort. TV and radio ads — and increasingly online ads — are verbal. Print ads are predominantly visual. Sure, there are many good text-intensive print ads, but those are typically for certain types of products.

There is another reason, perhaps not as important as the previous one, that helps to convinces us why Twitter won’t succeed as a marketing platform: People on Twitter aren’t there to listen to what anybody else has to say.  If you’re not a bored, attention-starved egotist with nothing better to do than broadcast every thought that passes through your head (like your latest workout or a minute by minute update on your delayed flight at the airport), then you’re in the minority.

Bonehead Decision of the Year

There are certain moments in history that we all wish we could have been part of or have seen. Jesus’ last supper, the Wright Brothers flying, Neil Armstrong walking on the moon all come to mind. Add a new historical moment to the list: Groupon declining a $6 billion offer from Google.

Don’t you wish you were a fly on the wall sitting in on the meeting when that was decided?

We here at the Marketing Tea Party are Groupon subscribers and like the service. But there are a number of factors why $6 billion is an outrageous price for anybody to pay.

First off,  Groupon’s business model has no barriers to entry. We’re not saying it’s easy to do what Groupon has done, but it’s not impossible to replicate. In fact, we believe that banks in particular will have a strong interest in doing what Groupon has done, and with the help of merchant network assemblers (firms that enable merchant-funded rewards programs), will use their online banking customer base to match retailers and merchants with group-related offers.

Second, similar to the Twitter problem described above, Groupon has limited ability to customize or personalize offers and has limited insights into its customer base. Sure, we subscribe to Groupon, but what does Groupon know about the Marketing Tea Party other than which offers we accept? Nothing. There are firms with access to far better data about its customers and consumers in general (like Google).

Bottom line is that Groupon was crazy for declining a $6 billion offer. Time will tell, of course, if we’re right or wrong on that assessment. But the lessons from the Dot Com era must be fading fast.

Congratulations to our award winners. The Marketing Tea Party awards are very prestigious. If you feel we overlooked you for one of our awards, please let us know.


17 thoughts on “The 2010 Marketing Tea Party Awards

  1. I would have to enter a Write-In Ballot for the misuse of the word “Strategy.”

    Most of the references to the word online are really talking about nebulous and undefined ideas, or even worse, Tactics.

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  3. “Like” bites, but it’s better than its predecessor, “fan,” which spawned the most narcissistic expressions in English history: “fan us” and “be a fan.”

    For my money, the term that’s so abused that’s it’s now meaningless is “authentic.” A record executive actually attributed Lady Gaga’s success to her authenticity, even though she’s the most manufactured and calculated pop act since Milli-Vanilli.

  4. Dr. Nager: The music industry is the poster child for what NOT to do in the Internet era. What the hell did you expect from a record exec? 🙂

  5. …and by that, I do *not* mean that I have spent *any* of my money on *any* Bieber product, be it an album, a download, a wallpaper, or a poster for my daughter’s room.

  6. Couldn’t agree with you more about Groupon. I think Groupon is only interesting to consumers when Groupon first enters a market – when they’re new in-market they seem to have better more-exciting deals. Post-market entry they’ve very quickly devolved into coupons for tanning and tooth whitening. $6b is a lot to pay for a company that has apparently only mastered getting people to sign up to receive emails they would otherwise likely mark as spam.

  7. This is one of the best Marketing Tea Party posts ever but there’s something missing… I’m not quite, not quite… not quite “engaged.”

    Yeah, that’s the ticket, where’s the nomination for being “engaged”?

  8. Entertaining as always. Go figure – marketers create some rather cool use/application of terminology then kill it off by repeating messages incessantly. Self preservation really since a marketer defines the next new cool description/label……or buzzword haha.

  9. Ike: Wanted to let you know that I have a Christmas present for you. I’ve signed you up for membership at

    Chris: Personally, I don’t even bother opening up the Groupon emails I get — too many of them are for 60% off at some salon or spa (not that I don’t need those services) or 50% off at some Greek-Portuguese restaurant 45 minutes from where I live (not implying that I don’t love Greek-Portuguese food, but 45 min. is too far to drive).

    Jaundiced: How dare you speak cynically of “engagement”. Your good standing in the Marketing Tea Party is in jeopardy over that comment.

    Joe:It’s not just the constant repetition of a term that kills the value. It’s the complete and utter belief that the new thing is the “marketing savior we’ve all been waiting for.” All the power in the world to the snake oil salesmen (i.e., social media gurus) who can make money off that.

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  11. Well said about Twitter! It’s refreshing to finally see somebody in the marketing blog not drooling all over the Twitter craze, for a change, and calling it out for what it is.

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