6 Outdated Marketing Tactics You Need to Leave in the Past (Where They Belong)

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July 12, 2019 6 min read
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Marketing is complex. With seemingly endless techniques, how do you reach and resonate with your audience? First things first: You need to know what you shouldn’t do. Last year, “Domino’s Forever” was a campaign created by a Russian Domino’s franchise. If customers tattooed the Domino’s logo on their skin, they were told, they’d get 100 free pizzas yearly for 100 years.

Related: 7 Dreadful Marketing Mistakes to Avoid in 2018

Initially, that strategy worked big-time: Although it may sound strange to us, hundreds of customers jumped in and started getting those tattoos. Yet, even as images of their freshly inked images flowed in, Domino’s imposed restrictions on its offer. Suddenly, the tattoos had a size limit; and only 350 newly tattooed people qualified for the reward. As you might guess, people were outraged.

Bad move, because customers who feel wronged don’t soon forget.

There’s science behind that statement: According to reporting in the Washington Post, “Research shows that memories for negative experiences are more vivid than those for positive experiences …” And those Domino’s customers certainly chalked up a negative experience.

So, if you’re the marketer, remember: It’s hard to make a good impression on a customer but really easy to make a bad impression, especially when it comes to marketing. Here are some moves not to make in marketing that date back to the past and shouldn’t still be with us in the present.

1. Trying to serve people en masse

Every person is unique, and you need to cater to that fact. Gone are the days of blanket personalization. According to a 2017 State of Personalization report by Segment, almost half of customers surveyed said they would likely be repeat buyers because of a personalized shopping experience.

Related: Use These 5 Steps to Create a Marketing Plan

If you’re not already collecting data on your customers and using it to target specific demographics through your marketing efforts, it’s time to start. Doing the bare minimum, like addressing a customer by his or her first name when you send a promotional email, simply isn’t enough anymore.

2. Putting ink on paper

What happens with most of the mail that comes to your house? What if a company, religious group or other organization drops off a brochure at your residence … do you read it? Chances are, you don’t.

That’s why experts are moving away from brochures and other paper-marketing techniques. Print marketing is expensive, time-consuming and often ineffective. Digital, on the other hand, can be fast, effective and cost-efficient.

3. Committing video production faux pas

Have you seen This Is a Generic Brand Videoby Dissolve? If not, it’s worth watching. The video provides insight into the types of video marketing that don’t add up to much. Videos with stock content, vague business words and optimistic background music are outdated and overproduced.

“As percentages go, 91 percent of customers have watched a video about a product or service they care about,” Rohan Sheth, founder and CEO of GrowRev Digital, wrote in a blog post. If nine out of ten of your customers watch your videos, they need to get real value out of the content they see. Otherwise, they’ll stop viewing and start taking their business elsewhere.

4. Creating promotional-only social media

It’s easy to lose customers because of social media, especially if you use it only to advertise. Sure, marketing on social media is successful: According to Sprout Social, 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from the companies they follow on social media. But making money should never be your sole purpose on the app.

After all, customers abandon brands that are overly promotional on social media. Before you think about social as an advertisement, consider how you can use it to drive engagement and strengthen your brand’s following.

5. Moving away from email

Some think email marketing is dead, but the jury is still out. According to a blog post by Keala Kanae, co-founder and CEO of AWOL Academy, “As a business owner at the current times, don’t let the social media frenzy trick you … email marketing isn’t dead … Undoubtedly, marketing your services or products by email can be a quick, manageable and cost-effective method of reaching new clients and keeping the existing ones.”

For example, think of Dell’s MarketingSherpa Email project. Thanks to a GIF-focused campaign, the company increased its revenue by 109 percent. Over email, Dell sent animated images that enticed viewers and led them down the sales funnel.

6. Failing to go beyond the basics

When it comes to analytics, the more the merrier. You’re probably already using some analytics to review your marketing efforts, but there are likely many techniques and metrics you’re not yet putting to good use.

Digital marketing is constantly changing, which means there are more analytics you can put into your marketing strategy than ever before. You may believe that the measures you’re currently using are fine, but they can likely be much better.

The more you study analytics and put them to use, the better your ROI will become.

Another thing: Don’t let outright marketing mistakes happen.

Customers may forgive, but they don’t forget; just ask H&M. Last year, the retailer published a photo of an African American child wearing a hoodie that read, “Coolest monkey in the jungle.” The reaction on social media was swift and angry.

And, though the advertisement was posted in one country, it quickly gained traction around the world. Afterwards, H&M hired a “diversity leader” to try to disprove accusations that the company was at worst racist and at best oblivious.

Related: How Many of These Video Marketing Mistakes Are You Making?

Needless to say, making it in today’s business world is hard enough without bad marketing. Although outdated marketing tactics won’t always be detrimental to your brand, they certainly won’t help, either. Luckily, with a sound marketing plan, up-to-date tactics and some creativity, you can give customers what they want and improve your bottom line simultaneously.


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