Marketing is evolving – or maybe it’s that consumers are evolving and marketing needs to evolve with them. What worked last year, might not work this year. So, I ask this question about marketing: what’s working and what’s not?

To help answer that question, Kapost put together this infographic on the Ghosts of Marketing. I’m not sure it tells us anything we didn’t know already, but it’s a nice visual of what’s working and what’s not in marketing.

What’s working and what’s not?

What’s not!

Cold Calling: It probably comes as no surprise that cold calling doesn’t work. Yet, that doesn’t seem to stop the myriad of businesses calling my house. And, I’ve NEVER bought anything from someone on the phone. Using predictive analytics (the marketing future) helps predict who will buy and makes cold calling more effective, but I think we need to question how long businesses can use cold calling before the government steps in — especially given the receiver may pay for the call if it’s a mobile phone.

Content farms: Google made sure online marketers would focus on content, but many simply turned to content farms that mass produce poor quality content then sell it for ridiculously low prices (such as $1) to multiple sites. Well, Google fixed that along with other SEO tricks. I recently bought a subscription to CopyScape because I’m getting so many guest posts that I need a way to ensure they’re original.

I think, along with content farms, we can put all types of content into the bucket of what doesn’t work, including tweaking your old posts and re-publishing them as new content, which was a common practice. Sure, updating topics is valuable, but ensure that you have significant unique content in the new posts. Google now uses NLP (natural language processing) so just changing words to their synonyms doesn’t work.

Ignoring your market: businesses that ignore their market or fail to effectively segment it, lose opportunities to engage their market and produce ROI. But, just personalizing your emails isn’t enough. Firms need to understand their market and segments within that market, then create unique content to solve their problems. Building this understanding by analyzing interactions more holistically, rather than focusing on sentiment, goes a long way toward building an effective marketing campaign.

Sites that aren’t responsive: Take a look at your analytics to see how much traffic comes via mobile device (although I question the validity of including tablets with smartphones as mobile devices). I bet you’ll be surprised — I know I was. That prompted my switch to a responsive design. Similarly, supporting 2 sites doesn’t work anymore. You need a responsive site that works well on mobile devices and looks great across all major browsers. Test your site on multiple screens to ensure it looks good.

An alternative is to create an app for mobile devices, but ensure you understand that mobile users not only have smaller screens, they expect different performance from a mobile app than the full site.

Keywords: OK, keywords still work, but not to the extent they did prior to Hummingbird. Google doesn’t even give you keywords in your analytics reports any more. Plus, keywords are longer and less literal; including synonyms. Keyword stuffing is definitely out. Think about questions your target audience asks, then answer them and you’ll be fine.

What is working?

High quality content (especially visual content like images, video, podcasts, and infogrpahics), apps, market automation, enhanced analytics (both owned and purchased), inbound marketing, and targeted email marketing are just a few examples of what’s working.

The limits to consumer narcissism are boundless. so cater to that need.

Marketing IS marketing

Something missing from this discussion is the reality that marketing, whether online or off, whether social or traditional, is MARKETING. Despite what folks might think, marketing is a rich discipline with it’s own theories and concepts. Unfortunately, it’s not like HTML where, if you do it wrong, your page doesn’t display properly.

Marketing LOOKS right, so it must BE right. WRONG!

Take a look at my series on “Back to Marketing Basics” to learn more about incorporating marketing into your digital marketing strategy. And, if you have questions about marketing basics, please send them to me either in the comments or at [email protected]

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