5 Marketing Strategies That Don’t Work in 2023

What worked yesterday in digital marketing might not work today. So what do you do to adapt and stay ahead? Our experts share the solution.

October 3, 2023

If you’ve blinked at all in the last few days, you’ve probably missed quite a bit of change in the marketing world. That’s just par for the course for the industry in 2023: change happens rapidly, and what worked earlier doesn’t work now and won’t work in the future.

Knowing what just won’t cut it these days is critical to keeping up. Marketing aficionado and strategist Lindsay Miller gave us the lowdown on the current environment and the approaches you should consider changing if you want to be a modern marketing success. 

Sharing Information, Not Stories

According to Lindsay , one big shift in marketing is the focus on quality content and being authentic. She says, "There are more apps and platforms than ever, but breaking through the noise is tough. People are all about quality content and real stories."

In a world flooded with ads, consumers want the real deal. Being genuine and telling a compelling story can set your brand apart in the digital jungle.

For example, a post that talks about features and benefits—even a compelling use case—can be beneficial even today. But it’ll be ten times better if you tie an actual human into the narrative—and not worry so much about keeping up appearances as being authentic.

Relying Solely on Organic Traffic

“Organic” was the golden word in digital marketing for the longest time. After all, what’s better than free?

Not so much today. Lindsay doesn't beat around the bush when she says, "You can forget about organic success these days. You've got to pay to play."

Platforms like Google Display Ads and Meta ads have taken over, and organic reach is shrinking. To reach your audience, you've got to open up that wallet for paid advertising. Ignoring this reality is a surefire way to limit your marketing impact.

That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from organic traffic. It’s still an important pillar of a comprehensive marketing program. Just don’t expect the same kind of traffic and attention, and realize that paid has to make up the shortfall.

Staying Stagnant with Yesterday’s SEO

Speaking of organic, search engine optimization (SEO) will alway be key as long as search engines are around. (Which, depending on when we get cyber brain implants, might be a long time.)

Talking about SEO, Lindsay says, "You don't want to get left behind because marketing strategies change all the time. You've got to roll with it."

SEO is like a chameleon, adapting to search engine changes and user behavior. When changes happen, they can be dramatic and can tank traffic for websites that are caught unawares.

If you're not keeping your SEO strategies up to date, you're basically waving goodbye to your hard-won search rankings and potential customers.

Just Following Content Trends

Content will always be critical, but not all content is created equal—and our approach to creating it has shifted considerably.

Lindsay believes that in this content-saturated world, "The coolest marketers are thinking outside the box. They're not following the trends; they're setting them."

With everyone and their dog producing content, businesses need to be bold and innovative to stand out. It means taking risks and coming up with fresh ideas that resonate with your audience.

Look around; if your competitors are all doing the same thing, you need to figure out the next step beyond that thing. 

Note, though, that you shouldn’t just avoid trends. Instead, you’re looking for a way to put your unique spin on what’s going on in the ether. 

As Lindsay likes to say, “Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with joining the conversation, even if it is a trend. There’s nothing more annoying than a friend who won’t like a band because everyone else loves them. If it’s good music, dance! If there’s a trend that correlates with your business, join it!”

Avoiding Mobile-Friendly Websites

Businesses have often thought that one website is as good as the next. But there’s one complication: people view your website in multiple different ways that don’t always play nice with one another. 

Lindsay doesn't mince words: "Most people are glued to their phones, checking out websites and social media. So, mobile optimization isn't a choice anymore—it's a must."

With mobile devices ruling the roost, businesses can't afford to ignore mobile optimization. A smooth mobile experience is key to keeping your audience engaged in today's marketing scene.

(Just be careful with having too many pop-ups; people will probably never stop hating those.)

How to Stay Ahead of the Game

To keep up with the ever-changing, can’t-stop-moving world of digital marketing, Lindsay advises, "Stay connected, stay in the loop, and don't get left behind."

Use tools like Sprout Social (or enlist the help of an ever-vigilant marketing strategist) to keep your finger on the pulse of trends. Stay active on social media and consume content regularly. Follow other people in your industry. Read newsletters, watch videos, and listen to podcasts.

“Most importantly,” Lindsay says, “don’t get discouraged. Gradual growth is still better than none.”

Change doesn’t sleep. Neither should your marketing game. Embrace today’s reality, get creative, and never stop hustling. (And don’t blink—you’ll miss something.)

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