obsolete digital marketing tools

Some digital marketing strategies have become obsolete. Photo credit: Paul Townsend

Digital marketing strategies that were popular and effective one year often become obsolete the next. Online marketing approaches once embraced as innovative are soon criticized as old-fashioned and sometimes even unethical. What worked last year may not work tomorrow.

Successful marketing organizations continually analyze their marketing strategies and methods, abandon ineffective techniques, and regularly test new approaches. Organizations lacking the flexibility to adjust to change will probably find themselves left behind by their competition. Simply put, marketers must end or substantially alter obsolete strategies to attain continued success.

Kent Lewis, president and founder of Anvil Media Inc. recommends dropping or substantially modifying these strategies:

Brand stuffing. Many companies fill marketing channels almost exclusively with brand-centric messages. Even the best brand-centric content appears thin and self-promotional to potential customers. Smart companies embrace customer-centered content. Follow the 80/20 rule, with 80 per cent of your marketing content designed to help the customer solve problems and 20 percent being promotional in nature.

Emphasizing social media engagement. In the first phase of social media marketing, companies and brands fixated on gaining followers and fans. Subsequently, they focused on engagement. Now the focus seems to be on conversions and storytelling. Smaller and B2B companies will turn to conversion-based strategies and tactics that drive revenue. Bigger consumer brands will concentrate on developing a brand narrative that helps consumers relate to the company. In other words, companies will work less on being “liked” and more on being “attached” to the consumer.

The big screen. So far, few brands have excelled at creating content for the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. Most continue to produce content designed for the standard computer monitor, even though big screen usage has tumbled. That includes broadcast and cable TV. According to AdWeek, 79 percent of adults have their smartphones with them 22 hours per day, and 40 percent of purchases are directly influenced by smartphones, according to a Harris poll.

Simple measurement. Many companies still rely on simplistic metrics and rudimentary analytics tools to determine the success of their marketing efforts. Many companies and brands continue to use the trivial metrics that social media networks initially offered. Reliance on base-level metrics — like number of fans, followers, likes, comments, or shares — will plummet in 2015. They’ll be replaced by cross-platform attribution, relative metrics such as likes per post, and conversion metrics.

Jason Bowden, chief consultant at Digital-Warriors Internet Marketing, offers his own opinion about obsolete digital marketing strategies.

Renting email lists. Renting email lists can lead to spam complaints from non-consenting email users. Instead, ask customers to subscribe to your email newsletter through your website, social media activities and opt-in direct marketing campaigns.

Keyword-based SEO. Although keywords remain an element of effective SEO campaigns, keywords alone are no longer a viable SEO strategy. Following recent Google algorithm updates, digital marketers must adopt more laborious techniques involving contextual analysis and high-quality content.

One-size-fits-all marketing. As consumers become more diverse, customization of digital marketing has become more preferred than one-size-fits-all marketing. Behavioral targeting is a growing trend. More accurate and personalized campaigns that seek targeted consumer groups typically earn better conversion rates.

Buying product reviews. Consumers have become better at detecting unnatural links, fake followers and bogus reviews. Google’s improved algorithm identifies and penalizes fake reviews and paid links. Some legitimate product review sites now use better technology to spot paid or fake reviews. Buying reviews can be waste of money and damage a brand’s reputation and search engine ranking.

Bottom Line: Obsolete digital marketing strategies can seriously impair a company’s marketing efforts. Digital marketers must willingly abandon ineffectual methods and adopt new marketing strategies and technologies to optimize marketing results.