More Marketing Topics That Have Jumped The Shark


I previously wrote a guest post on my friend Louis Gray’s blog on marketing topics that have jumped the shark. That was published in 2009. Unsurprisingly, not much has changed: overdone, useless or just plain inaccurate ideas continue to spread.

So all we can do is continue to balance the equation with the reality of these topics. Let’s go through a few I’ve seen lately that have gotten under my skin:

Topic: Complaining “there’s too much data, content, sites, apps, technologies, etc to keep up with.”

Recent example: One of my Twitter friends Amanda Maksymiw Tweeted a link to a post sharing the impact of “data deluge” for B2B companies (as if this was a bad thing).

Why this isn’t really an issue: People have been complaining about overload of a lot of things (apps, sites, platforms, etc) for years, not just data. In all cases there is no overload, simply filter failure. It’s the responsibility of everyone in your organization to understand how to use data, what matters, what to ignore and how to use tools to efficiently process it. There will only continue to be more devices and channels capturing data (both passive and active) and yet the solution will be the same as it always has: you need talent capable of managing it and putting it to effective use. I’ve been a part of consulting teams managing digital programs for a variety of organizations and we’ve never had issues incorporating more data efficiently and effectively, so you can too. Measurement planning is your friend and if you’re overwhelmed now marketing is probably not for you: it’s going to get more complex (and this is OK). I don’t know that Amanda and I actually disagree here, I’m just not sure their framing the issue as a “deluge” is helpful (and, it’s overdone).

Topic: “You need to make great content.”

Recent example: Matt Owen, Head of Social @Econsultancy Tweeted that people were spamming him with sending email campaigns to him saying his content sucks. Yeah, this is a flip of the “you need to make great content” but it’s saying the same thing essentially.

Why this is a silly topic: As has been stated here in the past: telling people to “create compelling content” is not marketing advice. It’s common sense. And if this is the type of content you create or share, you’re part of the problem. We need to push our peers, our trade publications, our consultants and agencies to stop with the obvious and clichéd advice. It’s not helping and merely succeeds at making the people sharing or creating it look like they publish for the sake of publishing (instead of doing so because they have passion or something legitimate to add to the conversation). It’s boring at best, spam at worst. Also the irony of blasting an email to Matt at Econsultancy telling him his content sucks is hilarious: his content is some of the best in the industry. Consultants, do not assume everyone’s content sucks, it proves you aren’t paying attention: digital content creation is a mature industry and plenty of people are hugely talented here.

Topic: “We don’t have enough time to participate on X or Y popular platform.”

Recent example: I continue hear this a lot and have seen repeated stories in blogs and questions at conferences. It’s a real (and ongoing) complaint of people who (still) don’t really get social marketing (which hasn’t been new in more than a decade).

Why this is the wrong response: “Not enough time” to participate in a platform is not actually a real reason to not participate in a platform. It’s more of an excuse not to do something you should be doing. First of all, you do have enough time. If you are managing a community in one place and are leading conversations in a category it is a huge efficiency to repurpose and remix content across platforms in a way that adds value. I’ve been doing this personally and professionally for years. It’s not even about the platforms anyway, it’s about your ability to be platform agnostic and see new channels as an opportunity to amplify your source content without spamming. Savvy marketers see new platforms should be seen as opportunities, not headaches. They’re also infinitely curious and want to try new things out instead of dismissing them for arbitrary reasons.

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