Hall of Shame
I threw out my Rolodex in 1999. The word itself dates me. When I received this nicely designed, clearly expensive card from a vendor, it got my attention. Upon opening it, this throwback actually made me question the relevance of an otherwise responsive, well-regarded company.
Direct mail – when personalized, well designed, and on message – demands its target audience’s attention in a good way. This is a miss.
Marketing that is off message and dated in its approach, language, or design can counteract any of the progressive work your company might be doing in product design, operations, and e-commerce. It also gives customers the perception that you're doing the same old thing. What's worse is that it sets your salespeople up to do the same old thing – positioning them as order takers rather than consultative sales people.
We see examples of outdated marketing every day, including:
- Company and product names that are "of an era" – Check out Carphone Warehouse and its collection of smartphones and tablets.
- Logos with heavy outlines, bad clip art and word art, and overall poor execution – This site compiled some gems, including:
- 40-slide sales presentations – Especially coil-bound and used as handouts
New approaches and new technologies demand new tools to sell. The same old tricks won’t cut it for developing and maintaining relationships with today’s customers. A large part of moving past business as usual is the shift to digital. Read our post on allocating more of your marketing budget to your online presence.
Here are a few other resources to modernize your approach:
- Inc. and the Young Entrepreneur Council asked 10 successful young businesspeople their picks for the most outdated marketing practices. Among those mentioned are spamming, continuing to teach a scripted sales pitch, and still viewing brand development as a 9 to 5 job.
- Though your company facelift most likely wouldn’t require changing its name, if you are thinking of re-branding with a new name, HTRLaunchPad offers some helpful tips for choosing the right one. FYI, Greek mythology is so overdone.
- The ultimate guide to logo design: 40 pro tips – Pretty self-explanatory.
Even the most competent of companies will seem inept if they continue to employ strategies from simpler times. Stop and think, kill off the techniques that are outdated and losing impact, experiment with the new, and raise the perception of relevance with your prospects.