Top 10 trends marketers wish would die

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The marketing industry is inventing and re-inventing itself at light speed. Innovations in marketing tactics, tools, and tech are evolving almost daily. The most effective ones become trends, and every marketer on the planet is forced to jump on board until the trend becomes ineffective, unwieldy, passé, or just starts pissing off consumers to the point where they have to try something new.

So for a variety of reasons, here's my top 10 list of trends marketers wish would die.

Content and content marketing

Content marketing is super effective, but can't we think of a catchier name for it? We just took everything cool and fun about creating and sharing on the internet for marketing purposes and gave it the most boring, generic label in the history of boring, generic labels.

Normal people don't talk like this. Nobody says, "I'm watching the coolest YouTube content right now." But that's what it's called. And I know, I know, the new Google algorithm favors content. But it needs to die, because making good content is hard work, and getting people to see it and share it is even harder work! Right? Who's with me?

You: What do you mean? I just snap a photo of my lunch and post it to Instagram and tag my company. That's content marketing, right?

Me: No, you need an organized flow of content (still hate that word) including blogs, videos, mini videos, micro videos, graphics, memes, white papers, case studies, infographics, animated infographics, a content calendar, and a small army to pull it off effectively.

You need to know what entertains, educates, and informs the people who buy your stuff and in which format they prefer to (I hate this word even more) "consume" it.

You need a plan. You need consistency, and, above all else, the content has to be creative and shareable. That's the whole point. So that means now you need a creative team to make the content plus a marketing team to figure out the best way to share the content.

Plus, you need to put a call to action in there somewhere. After the content reaches its destination, what do you want the viewer to do? Share it? Click through to a website? Download something? Buy now? What's the call to action, and who decides what it should be?

This is getting complicated, huh?

You can try to pull it off with an internal department, interns, or whoever isn't busy at the moment, or you can go with an outside agency. I've tried making creatives into marketers, marketers into graphics people, even shipping and receiving guys into community managers, but it seldom works out.



yael kochman
yael kochman May 3, 2014 at 3:43 AM

Hi David, I really liked your writing style! So bold and down to earth.
Marketing has always been, and hopefully always will be, about innovation. Thanks for reminding me of that. I think nowadays marketers look too much at what their competitors are doing, and that's why everything looks the same. It is rare to find a really different marketing strategy that one brand is using, and even if you find it - soon it will be copied by everyone else. I'm all for content marketing, but maybe it's time we go back to spending time brainstorming and come up with creative new ideas instead of just creating more and more content like robots.

Joe Pulizzi
Joe Pulizzi April 9, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Hi David...just a couple thoughts.

First, if all these trends go away, we would go back to just advertising. Not sure we'd want to be in that boat. Sure, it was great for marketers...but consumers...well, not so much.

Second, on your point of the term "content marketing"...I get it. But you have to remember, this industry went 100 years with no one really knowing what to call it. We weren't able to make much progress because no one knew that there was actually a community building around this. I can't tell you how many people contact me, thankful that we are starting to speak the same language.

I don't think the term is the issue, it's the abuse of the term by people that aren't really doing content marketing. Content marketing is a very specific approach by brands to use content strategically to attract and retain customers. As an industry we have to continually clear out the confusion.

Just curious...what would you call it? There have been dozens of names for content marketing, but none of them have worked as well as cm does in my 15 years being in this industry.

Thanks for continuing the conversation.

Jim Alkon
Jim Alkon April 9, 2014 at 9:20 AM

If you wish these 10 trends would die, what would remain? And would marketers remain?

OLIVIER RIVIERE April 9, 2014 at 6:56 AM

Hum. Here is a suggestion for a (much) shorter version of this article
1/ Stay focused,
2/ Don't listen to fools and self-proclaimed gurus
3/ Stand firm in your boots on which Value (and Values) you want to stand for
4/ Don't believe there is so much new in the (marketing) world - because it is simply not true - BUT be paranoid about not missing something really big (a ambiguous posture for sure..)