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What We’re Sick Of: Our 2018 Marketing Gripes

Marketing trends come and go, but there are some that should have never surfaced in the first place. Like the frosted tips of the marketing world, these trends are cringeworthy from the start, yet somehow, they’re widely accepted and even replicated (but thank you, Lance Bass, for inspiring so much of the hilariously bad hairstyling in my elementary school yearbook).

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Being the best in the business means keeping up with industry trends and techniques to better reach and resonate with your customers, but the reality is that some marketing trends do the opposite.

To help you avoid jumping on the wrong bandwagon, we’ve rounded up the marketing trends that we’re happy to see out the door.

Marketing Trends We’re Ready to Put to Rest

Marketing gripe: Too much content

Kate Crouse, director of digital media strategy

Less is more, guys. I know the rise of social media made brands desperate to be everywhere, talking to their consumers, and that’s great. Diverse social strategies are important. But if you have nothing to say on Twitter, don’t have a Twitter. If finding a decent photo to put on Instagram is like pulling teeth, leave it behind. It’s better to be a rock star on one or two channels (that are appropriate for you and your audiences) than living in a ghost town on LinkedIn. 


Marketing gripe: Phony emails

Abby Kinsinger, managing editor

Here’s an email I got from someone at a staffing agency the other day: “Things get crazy and we often lose sight of the good things in life. I feel like our relationship is one of them … I hope you agree.” I’ve never heard of this person; it has literally been a lifetime — i.e., mine — since we have talked. Enough of the buddy-buddy approach to contacting people you don’t have an actual relationship with. Sorry, my dudes, but suggesting that we reconnect when we’ve never connected in the first place puts your email on a fast track to the trash.


Marketing gripe: Siloed departments

Rebecca Wong, director of client services

As marketers, it’s crazy how difficult it can be to develop an integrated strategy. The main hurdle is that sometimes marketing and communications departments are siloed and have totally different strategies. As marketing strategies diversify, this problematic lack of up-front communication is something I’m seeing more and more.


Marketing gripe: Brands perpetuating social media junk  

Pedro Armstrong, manager of custom production

I’m sick of pointless content on Instagram like: Tag someone who is a chicken nugget. These posts aren’t entertaining and actually ruin my otherwise fun and comical Instagram viewing experience. They’re pointless, obscure, and certainly do nothing to win my brand affinity.


Marketing gripe: Too many company mascots

Michaela Brandt, digital media strategist

Insurance companies tend to be big offenders here — Geico has the Gecko, the Caveman, and the googly-eyed money stack; Progressive has Flo, Jamie (don’t get me started on this guy), and “The Box”; and so on. I don’t mind mascots when they personify real products and problems: Allstate’s Mayhem, for example. What bugs me is the trend to either have a mascot just to have one (think Jake from State Farm) or to have way too many.


Marketing gripe: Multi-click articles

Cory Davies, director of client services

That’s probably not the industry term, but you see a lot of posts now that divide a story into 25 parts so that you have to keep clicking “next” to read the entire story. No matter how good the story is, when I see I’m going to have to click through 10-plus times, I’m out.


Marketing gripe: Poor use of influencers

Carly Shuttlesworth, account coordinator

If your influencer doesn’t match with your brand, it appears out of character and disingenuous. I’m all for influencers, but it’s important to choose people whose lifestyles align with your product or service rather than just going with the biggest name you can find.


Marketing gripe: Email campaigns for acquisition

Paul Buckley, president

They’re fine for customers who opt in and want to sign up for your newsletter, but there still is too much spam going on. You can tell that they’re automated and there will be a series of five or 10 emails. The second one will say, “Hey, did you see my first email?”; the third one will say, “Hey, just reminding you to read my last email.” I never respond to these emails.


Marketing gripe: Overdesigned websites

Kyle Phelps, director of design and creative

Companies are getting too tricky and flashy with unnecessary animations on their websites. Just because you can add a lot of unnecessary and overly complex features to your sites doesn’t mean you should — or that it will always work out as planned. With an overdesigned site, you risk driving your audience away.


Marketing gripe: Useless jargon

Brian Kendall, managing editor

Circle back. Action item. Leverage your business. Taking it to the next level. Synergize. Think outside the box. These jargony phrases — and so many others — are just useless fillers that don’t actually say anything. In every industry, but marketing especially, communication should be clear and direct. Write how you talk.


Agree? Disagree? Have something we missed? Vote below to tell us which marketing gripe you most agree with, or drop us a line with one of your own.

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