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Ben Plomion CMO GumGum

Marketers, Please Put These 3 Tired Trends to Death, Now

I love thinking about the art of marketing. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you probably do, too.

But I also hate a lot of marketing. (Again, I’m guessing you probably do, too.) And not just the bad, clichéd marketing that I’m bombarded with as a consumer, but the bad, clichéd marketing that other marketing people hit me with.

Is there anything worse than annoying marketing directed at marketing people by other marketing people? I’m not a psychologist (though as a marketer, I sometimes play one in meetings), but I’m thinking a diagnosis of the phenomenon would involve some mixture of sadistic tendencies, self-defeating personality disorder and passive-aggressiveness, to begin with.

That said, given that it’s always good to work on anger management, I’m sharing three of my current bad-marketing-by-and-for-marketing-people pet peeves as a sort of emotional release, with the hope that you might share some of my frustration (or stop doing this stuff if you’re doing any of it!):

• The Endless Slide Deck That’s About... Having a Slide Deck

What would happen if you had to do a presentation for other marketing people that didn’t center around a slide deck? One possibility: Maybe people might actually listen to what you have to say instead of taking advantage of the dimmed lights to check Instagram or Snapchat on their phones while you grind through your slides.

It’s amazing how many marketing “pros” at the trade conferences I attend think that the way to convince the audience of their expertise is to inflict an endless deck on them. Even worse: a presentation about cutting-edge media that uses static slides (presentation technology that’s how many decades old?) to bore us to death with bullet points. If you really need to show something on a screen, then consider offering an online experience such as Ceros or Qwilr. It won't take longer than creating a PowerPoint and your audience will thank you.

• The Self-Absorbed Newsletter

Newsletters are supposedly hot again—e.g., theSkimm, the daily news digest email for millennials—which means every B2B marketer should be publishing one too, right? No. Please, no.

In one monthly newsletter I recently received (from a company whose name I won’t mention to protect the guilty), there were 12 references to the company sending it and zero references to the people reading it. There was even a cute team picture at a client event—and, guess what, no client featured in the shot!

This shouldn't be news to any marketer, but human beings are by nature selfish, so newsletter editors, please remember that newsletter content is supposed to be informative and useful. Next time you create a newsletter, ask yourself if you'd like to receive it. If not, then ditch the beast and start working on content that's actually helpful.

• The Webinap — I mean Webinar

Oh webinars, why are you still around? We’re supposed to get excited when we run a webinar and see an attendance rate higher than, say, 40%. But think of the last webinar you “attended.” Be honest: How present were you, really?

Remote demos do have their place in B2B marketing. But with any webinar that runs longer than 10 minutes, you can be sure that, five minutes in, most of your attendees will have minimized the webinar screen while they get their actual work done in other windows on their desktop. Consider using online tutorial creation software like WalkMe or a video slideshow service like Animoto to create a brisk, self-guided narrative about your product that won’t make your customers and prospects feel like they’re being held hostage at their desks.

OK, there, I’m done with my rant. For now, at least. I feel a little bit better!

And I hope you do too—unless you’re guilty of inflicting any of the above on me, in which case now hopefully you feel a bit worse.