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5 Classic Marketing Tactics That No Longer Work

Updated: Nov 30, 2019

The Evolution of Marketing

Marketing is a continually evolving beast, especially as it moves more toward digital. While there's a lot you can learn from the past, there are plenty of things that were once considered "best practices" that are now obsolete or irrelevant. Below are 5 traditional marketing tips that you should shelve.

1. Print Media

Print media used to be the most significant player in marketing. However, as technology marches on, the Internet is now becoming the focus of reaching consumers through messaging. Even more, most people put their printed, promotional mail, brochures, and coupons in the garbage (well, hopefully, recycling). In turn, implementing a print media strategy is expensive and time-consuming, as the promotional content has to be printed and then sent out through "snail mail." Needless to say, a tactic such as this is not useful for most companies.

Instead, you should try to reach your consumers through email marketing campaigns with effective, free tools that are available online. Moreover, one good reason why you should utilize email marketing is that many people have come to expect their sales pitches and promotional messages to be sent to them via email. In turn, this allows you to send your messages instantly, at a lower cost than print mail, and without worry about your message being tossed into the garbage.

2. Utilizing Social Media Exclusively as a Promotional Tool

In general, using social media for marketing promotions is an acceptable strategy; this is the underlying point for every marketing campaign. However, you must keep in mind that hard sells and constant promotional content drives away most modern consumers. People already have enough promotional information thrown at them that they end up subconsciously blocking the messages.

So, while social media is very essential for your marketing strategy, you should use it for more than just promoting your products. Social media marketers need to give their users want they want, whether that be an e-book relevant to the company's industry, or unique content, such as an infographic, that has solutions to common problems. As a result, users are going to be much more receptive to your company promotions when they come across one.

3. Going Soley Off a Gut Feeling

To be clear, gut feelings are important; and this is because there are many things that involve a marketing strategy to which we may not have the exact answers yet. And in the end, this does leave you to rely on your instincts to make a strategic marketing decision in some cases. However, there are many marketing resources that no longer require you to rely on your best guess.

Rather, with the use of primary and secondary marketing data and analytics, you can obtain a tremendous amount of information that you can use to craft a targeted marketing campaign. For instance, if you want information on your target market, how they behave, and what they want, you can easily look up this information using a marketing analytics tool, like Statista.

4. Having Too Broad of a Target Market

There used to be a time when marketing departments had very little market segmentation data with which to work. Marketers could only guess what most of their consumers wanted to hear or see in a campaign. Thus, most marketing campaigns elected to cast a wide net for their target to get as many people to notice their advertisements. Here, the theory was that exposing as many people to a marketing message would generate the greatest amount of leads. Although, this is far from the case, as this strategy is actually referred to as brand awareness.

Modern consumers are less easily baited, preferring messages that are incredibly relevant to them before they even consider them seriously. Instead, take a look at your target market and narrow down your campaign until it's laser-focused. The narrower your target audience and the more specific your message, the more likely you are to attract people to your product successfully.

5. Poor-Quality Photo and Video Content

If you know anything about digital marketing, you know that video marketing is nothing new. However, what has changed about marketing is how people judge and view the content you post. In turn, modern consumers are beginning to hold much higher standards when it comes to watching videos and looking at photos associated with a marketing campaign.

Consequently, implementing poor practices in regard to your marketing content, such as using vague keywords on your YouTube channel, will ultimately drive viewers away, as they will find your videos irrelevant. Thus, you need to be specific, and you need to make good videos.

In addition to video content, people rarely take stock photos seriously anymore. Nevertheless, if you are looking for unique images that aren't the "typical stock photos" you regularly see, try using Unsplash. In sum, the Unsplash website is a search engine made for finding and downloading complimentary, royalty-free, high-quality images.

As a result, it would be in your best interest if you spent your effort on finding appealing content for your consumer to enjoy. Subsequently, you don't have to spend lots of money on your marketing content campaigns to make a compelling impact on your consumer.

A Caveat to Keep in Mind

When in doubt, please remember to check with the content's publisher if you are unsure as to whether or not a photo or video requires credit. If you are unable to reach the publisher, it's always a best practice to go ahead and give credit either to the photographer, videographer, publisher, or website for using their content.



While these 5 tactics are far from the only outdated marketing campaign strategies out there, be sure to take a look at your overall strategic playbook when it comes to your marketing goals. When examining your different marketing strategies, use A/B testing with your creatives, copy, delivery, etc. Then, identify which marketing strategies stand the test of time, as well as which ones should be left in the dust.


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