9 marketing strategies you must stop using -- now

  • 7 of 7
  • next
  • View as single page

Obsolete digital marketing strategies 2010-2011

In addition to these latest obsolete strategies, it's worth reviewing those from years past as well. When compiling trends for the 2010 article, I talked with my team and industry peers and conducted a good deal of research. Filtering my findings against my own digital experience dating back to 1996, I defined seven strategies no longer relevant to future success. Below is a brief recap:

Building a digital marketing team. In today's world, marketing teams should be media agnostic and develop integrated marketing campaigns by leveraging the expertise of traditional and digital-native professionals. While many marketing teams are still somewhat segmented, true media and discipline integration is increasingly popular.

Designing a website via internal stakeholder committee. The enemy of good design is groupthink. The larger the organization, the more likely the corporate website will lack creativity, consistency, and clear messaging. Google's latest algorithm updates now reward exceptionally designed websites that provide an optimal user experience. Google's algorithm is now the new stakeholder, which will reward well-designed sites with high rankings.

Managing e-marketing campaigns to impressions, clicks, or budget forecasts. A significant number of marketing campaigns are now managed based on conversions, thanks to advances in analytics and paranoia from the VPs and CMOs. Additionally, marketers now understand the importance of relative metrics, particularly for social media. The remaining marketers that still rely on outdated metrics will soon be relics of the past.

Paying third-party vendors to represent your brand in social media. Thank goodness this trend is finally taking a turn in the right direction. Many brands are taking social media management in-house, after agencies and consultants have fallen woefully short. Effectively managed in-house social media does require new thinking and evangelism. Remaining social media agencies must rethink their approach in order to stay relevant.

Doing black-hat SEO. I wrote this article before Panda and Penguin updates took hold. Those updates meaningfully affected rankings for companies failing to follow best practices for content creation, site design, and link development. Finally, the intersection of good search engine optimization, marketing, and website design is here, and this trend is very real.

Renting email lists. As far as I can tell, the idea that you can rent an email list and expect to generate tons of qualified leads is a long-dead concept, thanks to CAN-SPAM compliance and savvier consumers. Now, more than ever, marketers are relying on search engine and social media marketing and other strategies to generate leads rather than relying on ineffective email list rentals.

Sending unsegmented or untargeted emails. The rapid adoption of sales and marketing automation platforms has led to a much higher level of list segmentation and generation of highly targeted emails. Gone are the days of blanket emails to a large database, at least for truly successful organizations.

The digital marketing landscape is dynamic. In order to stay on top of the latest trends, you must have the discipline to continually test, learn, and network. Two additional helpful resources for looking forward include these articles: "2013 Search Engine & Social Media Marketing Predictions You Can't Ignore" and "5 digital trends you need to embrace."

Kent Lewis is president and founder of Anvil Media, a search engine marketing agency based in Portland, Ore.

On Twitter? Follow Lewis at @kentjlewis. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"Illustration with spider web" and "computer designed grunge border" images via Shutterstock.



antonio bortolotti
antonio bortolotti February 14, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Thank you Kent ;-)

Kent Lewis
Kent Lewis February 14, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Antonio, thank you for clarifying. I was referring to Blue Martini & Broadvision platforms in my article, as examples of overly complicated and expensive customization platforms. Since we're not a developer, I'm not that well versed in more affordable alternatives, though I know they exist. Here's a little background and a few recommended platforms:

I hope this helps.

antonio bortolotti
antonio bortolotti February 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Thank you Kent, I'll try to be more specific. In the part of your article entitled "Ignoring personalization and behavioral targeting" you say: "While expensive and complicated personalization platforms were the rage more than a decade ago, newer, simpler solutions now provide marketers with the ability to target website visitors in real-time with personalized messaging or offers based on behavior and demographic data."

Can you point me to some of these solutions? I would like to investigate them and compare them with what i do on my own, as I believe I may find some solution that may speed up my entire process or at least I could get a comparison to realize where I stand.


Kent Lewis
Kent Lewis February 14, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Antonio, I'm not sure what you mean by "personalization platforms." Feel free to elaborate, as I'd like to help if I can.

antonio bortolotti
antonio bortolotti February 14, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Can you give us some examples of simpler solutions addressing personalization platforms? You state a very good point I strongly advocate in my campaigns but I would also be very happy to read about some simple solutions out there. Thanks!

Nigel Rawlins
Nigel Rawlins February 9, 2013 at 11:07 PM

I work with lots of micro and small businesses building them wordpress websites. What they don't realise is once finished, that's not the end, and that they need to work their websites to keep the content fresh and relevant. Everything you have written has lifted the bar for small businesses looking to use the web to market themselves. Unless they are prepared to spend the hours needed to market themselves online, then I think many of them will be doing it tough.

Gail Onat
Gail Onat February 6, 2013 at 9:10 PM

These are not strategies....As also Jennifer says, these are Tactics and in today's world, you should not define these under a blanket content just like you should never develop blanket strategies. Companies need to be unique and thus need different planning for their own environment to be competitive. What you are talking about are just a variety of tactics to reach certain goals. And each company should be different in their goals and thus the strategies reflect these goals and their vision. All these tactics are at the bottom of a strategic marketing pyramid and rely solely on all the things that need to be done at the top of the pyramid and listing it as a "must stop" without any specific relation to a pre-planned environment does not reflect a strong marketing mind. Sorry....

Jennifer Bussell
Jennifer Bussell February 6, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Hate to be a Debbie Downer, but as a digital marketing strategist I need to point out that what you've outlined in your article are really tactics, not strategies.

Companies need to invest in custom strategic blueprints that address their unique business and marketing challenges. They need to truly analyze what they're doing right and wrong across ALL channels - online and offline - in order to effectively initiate and foster ongoing, value-centric relationships with their customers.

Many companies stumble when they silo their marketing efforts by channel. Digital strategic planning and tactical program development cannot be done in a vacuum. What's needed is a holistic, channel-agnostic view of their marketing landscape so they can make strategic decisions and allocate marketing resources where they can have the biggest impact.

Jason Schefferstein
Jason Schefferstein February 6, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Fantastic article and much needed. Shared it on LinkedIn with my contacts. Thanks for posting.

Susan Kim
Susan Kim February 4, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Although these are common sense marketing tips, it's surprising how few companies follow them. Especially the content for content's sake. All this content churned out like a commodity is making it harder to find good content. Like this article.

Anne Smith
Anne Smith February 4, 2013 at 12:39 PM

Some nice reminders here. I think digital marketing is all about customisation and getting the right message to the right people. More and more it´s becoming about quality over quantity.