balled up paper in the waste basket
PHOTO: Steve Johnson

Marketing techniques come and go but some techniques linger longer than necessary. While you can still find value in tried but true marketing methods, it may be time to jettison those marketing techniques that are no longer effective for your purposes.

Marketers weighed in on which marketing techniques they feel are ripe for retirement. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments. 

1. Newsletters

While this advice might go against the grain, it's never a bad idea to question if the time invested in a marketing channel is worth the effort. Companies of all sizes and verticals produce newsletters for customers and prospects, but that effort would best be used in other forms of marketing, argues John Ross, CEO of Test Prep Insight.

“We did the weekly newsletter game up until about a year ago, when engagement just completely fell off,” Ross said. “I know a lot of marketers still see value in it and hold out their newsletter subscriber base as a point of strength, but the reality is that no one reads newsletters anymore. Maybe there is an exception for niche markets where you have a rabid base, but those are far and few between. I know personally I am still subscribed to a few newsletters and every time they hit the inbox on my iPhone, I immediately delete them. Our data showed the same with our own newsletter. Ninety-six percent of them of them were being deleted without even being opened — an abysmal rate.”

Related Article: How Many Marketing Emails Is Too Many Marketing Emails?

2. Inflexible Media

“Marketing moves in tandem with our global conversation,” said Abhi Jadhav, Bay Leaf Digital managing partner and co-founder. “When our technology improves or our communications shift, our marketing is expected to make the same changes. Otherwise, the content comes across as outdated, and the marketing efforts go to waste. For this reason alone, flexible mediums are king in the quickly changing landscape of the current day."

A billboard, for example, is an inflexible medium — one that is well replaced with targeted social media posts, Jadhav explained. The leads billboard advertising generates no longer justify the spend, and the medium isn’t able to digest the quick changes that current day marketing requires. As soon as the eye-catching message is hung proudly over the highway, it’s irrelevant — there’s inevitably something new that needs saying.

Print and television advertising are other examples of inflexible mediums — outdated tactics that won’t achieve your current marketing goals, Jadhav said. “TV commercial budgets would be put to better use if they were directed toward online video content that can be distributed across multiple brand touch points. Cable is losing its audience, but everyone will watch a 15-second clip online. Print ads are similarly misguided. We’re used to making consumer decisions in our virtual lives, and we’re more receptive to marketing that reaches us online.”

3. Purchased Email Lists

Purchased email lists have poor opening rates, meaning most go unopened, said Mika Kujapelto, CEO and founder of LaptopUnboxed. This can increase your chances of being reported as spam, preventing your clients from getting your email when your emails go to their spam folder.

Lists purchased from third parties and used by brands have may have inherent defects, according to Esther Poulsen, Raare Solutions CEO and founder:

  • They are sourced from unsavory vendors
  • They are outdated in terms of contactable name, address and email
  • They have appended data that is equally outdated (income, marital status, net worth, interests, even whether they are still alive)
  • Sending large lists of new customers can decimate your email platform’s reputation and blacklist you as a spammer, which can negatively impact the deliverability of messages to your existing, engaged customers.

However, Poulsen added that some contact lists may still have value. First, verify the list provider through references from peer companies, examining deliverability statistics and reading their case studies. Consider supplementing email lists with a third-party email verification service to make sure that the email addresses are, indeed, current and deliverable. Then hold your list provider accountable for any deficiencies.

“Use lists intelligently,” Poulsen added. “Create small journeys across digital and email channels, and carefully watch engagement. If you have the budget and it makes sense for your brand, do consider direct mail to your highest opportunity conquest prospects. Go small with a 'test and learn' approach to see what provides real lift.”

Related Article: How Marketers Can Break Their Third-Party Data Habit

4. Cold Outreach

If you still doing cold outreach, you are wasting valuable resources, said Martynas Kavaliauskas, TrackingFox co-founder and CEO. There are many ways to reach the target audience so why start from zero? With the abundance of information and resources available, reaching out cold is almost irresponsible.

5. Any Content Will Do

When marketing on social media, one old, outdated rule is that just posting content from your company account is enough, said Kevin Miller, GR0 co-founder and CEO. “The truth is, you have to spend more time looking at what kinds of people and accounts your average customers are following, and then make sure your content speaks to this.”