But this worked four years ago?

I was sitting at the mall waiting for my niece to get out of a certain store that had huge round mouse ears, I watched a gaggle of tween-age girls walk by in outfits that I hadn’t seen, and honestly hoped never to again, since 1988. The leggin’s, oversized sweaters and neon bracelets in the hundreds made me think about marketing and design. Because let me be honest”¦everything does.

With that story out of the way, let’s get this entry rolling. I hate to burst your bubble right out the gate, but marketing trends are much like fashion trends. While as all trends do, often enough, come back around”¦ the revival of an old trend tends to be the very thing you hoped would never again see the light of day.

I love when I meet someone who hands me a piece of marketing material or directs me to a website that clearly hasn’t been updated in years. The design is outdated, the content is so old the addendum explanation ultimately could be it’s own piece, and more times than not the reason for this is that some head honcho, maybe even you, was really, really proud of it”¦a long time ago in a marketing plan/budget far, far away.

The reality is that today’s buyer is getting younger and younger. These potential clients are becoming savier to the lack of time or effort you put into your whatever it is. They really don’t want you to dust off the remaining brochure from four years ago you somehow still have and parade it around at a networking function. They want the latest and greatest.

I hate to regurgitate other people’s ideas. Rather than do that take a look at Kim T. Gordon’s The Hottest Marketing Trends for 2008. I agree with her points of engaging your customer, integrating your off-line and online campaigns and following your customers. The one trend that would seem obvious through her suggestions, but is missing is a trend to actively create new/fresh content. All of the trends that she mentions rely completely on having new information to share with each of these trends.

You’d be surprised how many business owners, marketing managers and sales people get stuck in the trend of repeating and regurgitating half a decade old pitches, gimmicks and what not without realizing that their clients see them as tired and old. The widget may work, the sales person may be able to sell sugar to a diabetic, and customer service staff may be the best in the world, but if your customer can’t get beyond the feeling of “œI heard it” or “œbeen there, done that and just had the same thing better pitched by your competitor ten minutes ago” then the new trend you’ll see is a lack of revenue.

What trends do you see today that should have stayed dead and buried? Do you know business owners or marketing managers that are still clinging onto that shred of hope that this could be the year for dusting off that tried, but not true piece? What new emerging trend do you see having legs in the future?

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Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

One thought on “But this worked four years ago?”

  1. Alive and well but should be dead:

    1- The fake limited time offer. Works better if scarcity is real.

    2- Unrelated freebies as bait for sign up. If your site is about gourmet coffee makers, what makes you think I want a free ebook about knitting my own mittens?

    3- Bait and switch of any kind. If it’s really on sale? Stock. Up.

    Great post. Been waiting to get that off my chest.

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