There is no shortage of marketing mediums to choose from in the digital age. Run a search for the word “marketing” at a retailer like Amazon, and you’ll see tens of thousands of results.

Those are just the books with the word in the title. The number doesn’t touch the surface of what’s actually out there.

Much of the advice is great, some stinks and some worked at one time but is so far out-of-date that continuing to take it would do your business more harm than good. In the following article, we’ll be focusing on these well-meaning approaches to running your business. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1. Walls of Text

A list of marketing techniques in Victorian times might have told you to look to the page-long paragraphs of Jane Austen for your structure. Not the case today!

We now live in an age where so many forms of media are competing for our attention. It’s enough to force you into a snap judgment regarding how you spend your time.

What to Do Instead

With such competition, you have to make your content accessible. If you are going to use a lot of text (through blog posts and user guides, for instance), you have to make that content scannable.

That means heavy use of white space, headings/subheadings, and short sentences and paragraphs. It’s all about making your content less intimidating for the reader.

2. Heavy Promo Messaging on Social Media

Another of the marketing techniques you absolutely have to avoid is over-promotion on social media. It’s a practice that has deeply affected people, particularly females, in the last couple of years.

Multilevel marketing businesses have come between female friendships. (So much so that the Washington Post did an exposé on it in early 2019.)

What to Do Instead

Stop following cookie-cutter approaches to building connections. Don’t push a product. Push a lifestyle.

Celebrate, showcase, and spotlight what your friends are doing instead of pushing desperate pleas for people to sign up underneath you on a pyramid scheme. Putting yourself second and forging sincere relationships will make your friends more apt to listen when you need them to.

3. One Size Fits All

Another of the tired old marketing strategies that have to go is cramming your customer’s attributes into one “ideal” image. Your customers are unique, and they’re at different points in the buying process. They’re not going to listen to content and messaging that’s irrelevant to them.

What to Do Instead

Instead of going the one-size-fits-all approach, valuing your audience’s diversity is one of the best marketing strategies you can use. Do this by fragmenting them based on their pain points and needs.

Some in your audience may be ready to buy now. Some have already gone with a competitor and are wondering if they made a mistake. Still, others are in the information-gathering phase and don’t plan to buy for a very long time.

Figure out where they are. Then, tailor your messaging based on it.

4. Paper Marketing

Particularly tiring among outdated marketing methods is the heavy use of paper. Direct mail may still be marginally effective if you’ve taken the time to cultivate those relationships on the front end.

However, it still creates unnecessary overhead for your business. It also annoys your target audience every time they “rediscover” your brochure on the floorboard of their car or lurking in a stack of junk mail.

What to Do Instead

Create real value. You can do this through free content that addresses one of their pain points. Make sure it’s opt-in and you’re not trying to “fool” them into a sales pitch.

This can all be done digitally through social media, your website, or online courses and webinars at a fraction of the cost. Best of all, they’re usually looking for you (or what you can offer).

5. Afterthought Videos

If you’re not using video content, then your brand is probably suffering the curse of outdated social media networks. More people are consuming video content through sites like Facebook and Instagram, so it’s important to get on board with the trend.

Word of warning, though. Don’t treat it as an afterthought. People are in a hurry, and they’re not going to slog through the lousy parts to get to the good stuff.

What to Do Instead

Put some thought into the production and content. Invest in an editor or editing software, and make sure your videos are fun, captivating, and informative. The days of slapping together a rambling mess on your smartphone are over.

6. Email Abandonment

Email is one of the oldest forms of digital communication that we have. As such, there’s a tendency to overlook it in favor of flashier and quicker connections with the public like Facebook and Twitter.

You ignore email at your own risk, however. That’s because people still highly value their inbox space.

They don’t give their addresses out to just anyone. When they sign up for your email list, they’re qualifying themselves as a highly valuable lead.

What to Do Instead

While you may be able to get your message in front of more eyeballs more quickly with Facebook, the connections it creates won’t be as deep. Value your email list because it’s a vital part of your marketing funnel.

You can do this by offering them value with each message. Ditch the sales pitch in your emails, and allow that value to close the deal.

7. Yellow Pages

Do you remember the last time you cracked open the phone book and flipped to the very back of it to the obviously-titled “Yellow Pages”? We’re betting it’s been a long time.

Many people no longer keep a phone book in their homes. The ones who do probably can’t tell you where it is. Instead, we turn to our phones, tap in a few letters until we see the AI display our result, and select the appropriate choice.

What to Do Instead

Forget about the Yellow Pages. Instead, pour your efforts into local SEO and geotargeting practices. The better your game is, the better chance you have of ranking in the top three positions on a mobile user’s device.

8. Marketing That Looks Like Advertising

There’s an old saying in the world of advertising that people love to buy but hate being “sold to.” We’ve found there to be much truth in that statement.

For proof, look no further than the furniture or car salesman. You go to a store or a dealership excited about seeing what they have to offer and before you’ve even had a chance to know the options, they’re coming your way, lame icebreaker line at-the-ready.

While you probably hate it, there’s a risk your messaging is doing this very thing to your target audience. You’re pushing so hard for the sale that they’ve discounted any merit you bring to the table.

What to Do Instead

Educate. Your audience, above all, wants to make an informed decision, and they want to arrive at it on their own.

You can help get them there by pitching the benefits of the product or service you’re offering. Particularly, you’re helping them to see their lives after the buy-in.

9. Canned Endorsements

How many of you actually still think that William Shatner logs onto to book his hotels and flights? He has an assistant to do that stuff, and he doesn’t know the first thing about taking care of it on his own!

Still today, businesses will invest a significant portion of their advertising budget in getting a high-profile spokesperson to rattle off a personal anecdote about how great their product is. It’s great if the spokesperson is sincere, but more often than not, he’s reading a scriptwriter’s empty words and it shows!

What to Do Instead

Focus more on solving people’s problems. Once you do this, you’ll have an endless supply of customers who are willing to become your brand evangelists for free. All you’ve got to do is ask them to speak out on your behalf.

Using real people to show that you solve real problems will go much further than a canned endorsement ever could. It’s also much easier on your bottom line.

10. Telemarketing

Telemarketing is so ineffective at qualifying leads, getting the sale, and building a good image for your brand that it’s hard to believe people still use it. Don’t be part of the problem!

What to Do Instead

Respect people’s time. Invest in less invasive forms of technology that will encourage opt-in steps to be taken by the consumer. Otherwise, be prepared to watch your reputation circle the marketing drain.

These Marketing Mediums Have Got to Go

Hopefully, these outdated marketing mediums are on the way out of your business plan or organization. If not, they should be. Get started today by analyzing what you’re putting out there and how you’re getting it to your audience.

For every one of these you eliminate, you’ll be able to put your marketing game on overdrive. Good luck! While you’re here, check out some of our other posts on business and marketing.