Five Things Marketers Need to Stop Doing This Very Minute

I’m not typically prone to rants but sometimes it just comes flying out of you and you find yourself on that digital soapbox. This is one of those times.

I’m a born and bred marketer. But you knew that. What you may not know is that I have a love-hate relationship with marketing. I love what marketing can do for a product or service. Nothing makes me happier than when these guys get to help make organizations communicate better through their workshops. There’s a thrill when someone’s life becomes easier, more convenient or even just a little bit happier because of something I helped promote.


As with any field there’s a dark side. We’re not even going to talk about spam or black hat SEO because those things deserve to banished to marketing hell and never to be used again. Instead, let’s talk about less controversial but still offensive marketing tactics that need to stop now. 

1. Taking 10 days to remove me from your subscriber list

Why: Why, why, why do this? In today’s era of immediate removal, this makes you seem old, out of touch and incompetent. Even worse? The skeptical among us (and our numbers are high) think you’re just trying to squeeze out more sales even though we’ve made lack of interest known. 

2. Making me log into an account to remove myself from your list

Why: While this all-in-one system might be easy for you it’s much harder on your customer. Never a good thing. People who may temporarily wanted a break will remember what a pain this was and never resubscribe again. 

3. Link bait headlines

Why: Just look at the recent backlash again Upworthy and Buzzfeed. There’s also this downworthy plugin by Snipe that’s designed to decipher the spin. Enough of the "Mind blowing weird tricks and secrets you can learn from dead people" headlines.

4. Pop-ups asking me to subscribe now!

Why: Pop-ups work but users (including me) hate them. While they work their shelf life may be limited and you need to take care when placing them on your site.  And the sentiment is growing. Pop ups on smartphones are especially frustrating. You're reading an article when the screen goes gray and either you click to some site selling insurance or you have no way to remove the pop up so you have to abandon the page.

Pop-ups work but be aware, their shelf life may be limited and new tools are coming out to overcome these digital nuisances. Pop-ups may even harm your overall brand. 

5. Focusing on vanity metrics

Why: Vanity metrics do not always equate to what drives revenue. A while back I went to a blogging conference. Some of the bloggers boasted 100,000 twitter followers but when I dug deeper these folks were barely making ends meet. While I may have a tenth of their #’s I have something more important: consistent clients and money in the bank. 

As the internet grows to 1.82 billion indexed pages …and counting, the signal to noise ratio is tough to combat. You can almost understand why marketers employ these dirty tricks. The downside is that everyone has caught on so users are getting inundated which means a backlash is looming.  I believe in marketing and even the more controversial cousin, growth hacking but hate how it gets bastardized. Don’t be one of those people.

C'mon, admit it. Using these strategies makes you feel kinda dirty sometimes doesn't it?

What to Do Instead

Be authentic. 

Focus on what’s really important. 

Do good work, which naturally attracts people.

 /end rant