When it comes to internet marketing, everyone in the industry tends to fancy his or herself an expert. I can’t say that I totally agree with this sentiment. Sure, one may have specialties that he or she excels at, but there’s absolutely no way to master the ins and outs of marketing to the entire internet. The internet is growing by the second, and this ever-evolving nature brings about changes faster than you can say, “Yes, I know the Kindle Fire is the hot news right now, but I decided to go in a different direction, okay?!”
That being said, I’m an internet professional…if only in the sense that I work in an online landscape. And within this landscape, people continue to decorate their properties with the same garden gnomes and pink flamingo lawn ornaments ad nauseum. What I mean is that the same clichè “attention-getters” are being overused and are losing their flash. This must end. Creativity must prevail.
Here are my top 5 most
annoying unoriginal internet marketing trends:
5. Treating Your Audience as a Homogeneous Group
Sure, every brand or product has a target audience, but an audience is still made up of individuals. Everyone wants to feel special, everyone wants to feel like his or her voice is being heard; so why distance yourself from your audience by publishing generic, cookie-cutter content? People want to feel like a brand or product is speaking directly to them, even if they know that they’re only one of the many listeners. Everyone has heard a song that he or she knows a million other people have heard, but still feel is written about him or her; I think the goal of internet marketing efforts – or at least online PR – should be to move people the way that music does. Relate to, and connect with your audience in a genuine, one-on-one way.
4. Being Overly Self-Promotional
We get it. You’re trying to sell something. You’re actually trying really hard. Now stop. As this article explains, what all the best fan communities have in common is that they’re all involved in a larger conversation. Marketers should be striving to make products or brands synonymous with feelings and experiences, not striving to stoke their own egos.
3. Being Fake
This one seems like a no-brainer as far as “unoriginal” marketing trends are concerned, but sadly, it’s not. There are so many marketing professionals who outright lie to their audience. Correction: most marketing professionals outright lie to their audience. I’m probably lying to you right now. Everyone talks about “transparency” these days, but there really aren’t that many people who actually practice what they preach. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Be accountable for your words and actions. This goes back to the first point I made about relating to your audience: don’t be afraid to be “human.”
2. Taking Too Many Shortcuts
I always say that it doesn’t feel good to win if you cheat. I think that’s applicable here. Sure, there are certain tips and tricks of the trade to maximize the potential of gaining followers and building an audience, but relying on these tricks alone is lame. If your product or brand doesn’t mean enough to you to put your real effort into, how can you expect it to mean something to your audience? With the sophisticated nature of today’s market, people generally know when they’re being played. The most successful and most respected products and brands do the leg-work. Don’t pull a Mark Davidson and take a shortcut that can blow up in your face.
1. Using the Words “Guru,” “Ninja” and “Rockstar” to Describe Everything You Do
It was cute at first to describe yourself as a “social media guru” or a “SEO ninja;” it’s not cute anymore. Please stop. Please. I’m begging you. These are played-out buzzwords that really mean nothing. I question the validity of your claim that you’re an SEO “covert agent or mercenary of feudal Japan specializing in unorthodox arts of war.” I mean, that doesn’t even make sense. I would, however, like to see “linkbuilding hot dog stand vendor” or something of that nature catch on.
Obviously, these are only my opinions. There are certainly products and brands who employ these tactics, and they work. I’m just sick of seeing them. It’s hard to consider yourself an “expert” when so much of what you do is based on instincts and the ability to predict trends. I hope to see an overall shift in the way people market themselves, or their products or brands online: less talk, more action. I hope to see creativity, originality, and most importantly, honesty, come out on top.
I hope to see less “rockstars” and more “professional hula hoopers.”