FlashPointLabs' Top Ten List Of Marketing Worst Practices And Technologies​

A few years back (2017), Nielsen Norman Group published a survey of the most hated marketing techniques. In the intervening years, some of the technology has changed, but all of what’s bad is interruption marketing. We compiled our own list of  worst practices (methods, technology, techniques). We also explain why we believe we’re seeing what we are.

The Death Of The Ogilvy 'Mad Men Era' Of Marketing Has Led Marketers To Embrace Downright Crazy Practices

We wrote a recent article on the end of the 1950’s Ogilvy/Mad Men Marketing paradigm.

Dying paradigms, whether it’s the United States spraying exfoliating herbicides on jungle trees at the end of Vietnam, or Kamikaze fighters flying into warships in the final days of WWII, are always marked by a whole lot of crazy, as invested parties continue to beat dead horses and cannot accept that the old ways are not working, or the dream is dead.

The crazy comes out of desperation; It’s usually inventive and often fascinating to watch, provided it’s not you who is confounded and befuddled in the face of bad outcomes and dying dreams. 

So it is with the Death Of 20th Century Marketing. 

Below is some of our favorite ‘crazy’. Now, we’re not condemning all these practices or technologies, wholesale. Some are useful when combined with messaging, copy, and content changes, or actual product improvements. Many can help reduce churn or optimize conversions. But many are invasive and intrusive. 

If they were the only tool in the toolkit, that would be one thing; but they are not. Sadly, we’ve seen newfangled ad-tech after newfangled ad-tech rolled out in the last decade or more, and despite more being known about consumers and leads than ever, CTRs continue to fall, as marketers become more and more abusive of consumers, and embrace practices they, themselves, don’t like executed on them. 

FlashPointLabs' Top Ten List Of Marketing Worst Practices And Technologies

#1 RetargetingWhen retargeting (AdRoll, GDN) first emerged, it was spooky, but, like a suitor wearing down the object of his affection, at scale, it can produce results. 
#2 Automated EmailsEverybody can tell when a machine is putting together a form email, and various follow-ups. These are pathetic practices we don’t advise. Fix your product and your content and let people come to you.
#3 ClickFunnelsClickFunnels’ CTRs have collapsed and they don’t even work on the unsophisticated or suggestible at this point. 
#4 Lead Lookup Tools And Unsolicited Calls Or EmailsThis practice technically breaks CAN-SPAM laws, but it’s done anyhow. You can email individually, and solicit. Or you can email in groups, and not solicit, but it’s illegal to bulk email sales copy. CrunchBase, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Apollo, and Seamless.ai were hot for a minute, but as Gary Vaynerchuk comments: marketers ruin marketing. Everybody hassling people with these tools has turned leads off. I’ve seen campaigns with 8,000 verified, in-segment, email addresses, fall flat. And most bulk mailers will shut you down if you don’t have good open rates. Note: even gig economy sites like Fiverr are now selling access to the buyer userbase. And it doesn’t work there, either. 
#5 Advertorials And Native AdvertisingThe very picture of dishonesty, or exploiting your presumptive laziness, one tells you it’s an ad (advertorials), and the other pretends to be copy you’ve come to read, but is there to sell to you. Kinda’ gross in our opinion. 
#6 Modals/PopUpsThese are the modern-day equivalent of the dreaded ‘banner’ ads from the early 2000’s. Never popular they are interruptive, by definition, and people close them out to continue doing what they were doing beforehand.
#7 Partly-Gated Content Or ArticlesThis is a kind of bait-and-switch; not as ugly as new pages opening, unprompted, but still annoying. They dangle something you’re interested in – not satisfied with the fact that you’re on the website and can view ads – and require you to sign up, or worse yet, pay them money, to continue to read. 
#8 Ads With Only Sales Copy And Without OffersEven when there is search history, keyword, and behavioral profile alignment, CTRs for search and display are abysmally low. It’s far easier to offer than to ask, but still many marketers insist on seller-centric content (that serves or talks about them) versus buyer-centric content that helps customers (content, copy, or other offers that don’t require or presume a sale).
#9 Cross-App Or Platform Ads (Listening Smart Phones)Like retargeting, when this emerged, it was often discussed and sort of sickening. We take it for granted these days, but since buyers ultimately make the decision on whether and when to by, foisting ads on them doesn’t work – not nearly as well as content and cooperating with their need for information in search, during their Buyer Journey.
#10 Location-Based AdvertisingGeo-fencing isn’t that widely practiced, but it’s as creepy and intrusive as a lot of other marketing techniques these days.
BONUS: Influencer MarketingWe recently wrote a piece on influencer marketing. It’s an unusual animal, but suffice it to say, it’s not a practice companies concerned with their reputation should embrace.