5 Words That Can Kill Your Marketing

Joe Mineo
March 6, 2020

Have you ever heard the words, “How we’ve always done it” and immediately wanted to cringe? If you haven’t, consider the following.

Change is constant, especially in technology. In 1965, there were 92 TV shows. For 2005, I found a category article that can’t even contain how much happened on TV in that year. In 2020? You’ll have to pick a content medium before we can start counting the thousands.

Social media in its current form didn’t exist until roughly 2005, when Facebook exploded onto the scene. Since then, each year has brought along new and exciting revisions, platforms and ways to communicate. You already knew all this, since there’s a solid chance you’re reading this on a mobile device that you’ve only had for less than two years. But Joe, how does this play into marketing?

Good marketing requires extra effort

Whether you’re marketing for a big brand, a small business, or even yourself as a social influencer, it’s imperative to stay ahead of the game. Outside of the tongue-in-cheek instances where companies, brands and even political campaigns “try to look young,” not being up to snuff with how your platforms operate can hurt your efforts before they get off the ground. Take Facebook’s 20% text rule for advertising. This rule has been around since at least 2013, and seven years later, we’re still seeing brands jam text in to beat the filter to the point where you can’t even read it.

Having impact on a medium requires more effort than taking your billboard, putting it on mobile display, putting it on social, putting it in a newspaper, or sending it to a magazine. I wouldn’t make an event poster and read it verbatim to my friends; it would sound weird. If I’m an influencer, I’m not going to Bermuda and taking pictures of brochures; I’m showing video, audio, photos and writing descriptions of what I’m doing and where I’ve been to entice my audience in a special way.

Growing up, writing teachers always taught the difference between writing for the ear and writing for the eye. The same rules apply for marketing, and they apply across video, audio, blogs, and any other way you communicate. If these concepts make sense, and you’re all about change and you’re ready to learn more about marketing, you’ll never have to read the next five words: “How we’ve always done it.”

Updates happen for a reason

For advertising, tech companies are diligently working on the next best thing, and working to improve the current best thing. Updates roll out to our phones every so often, and we don’t think twice to update that software. Updates keep us moving efficiently—they’re designed to make things better. Why wouldn’t you keep up with your marketing efforts in the same way? As hard as it might be to believe it, a lot of companies think they’ve found a secret sauce, and they won’t change the recipe in a world of ever-changing tastes. 

Take Facebook’s Learning Phase, for instance. Ad companies use machine learning to figure out who likes what, who clicks on what, who purchases where, and what drives you to specific locations, all based on your interests and behaviors online or within a platform. Facebook has learned a great deal about us in 15 years and leverages those learnings in something they call the “Learning Phase.” Once ads complete 50 actions, they will exit the learning phase, where costs will stabilize and improve over time. If you don’t reach 50 actions within a week, Facebook will struggle to stabilize advertising delivery, and you may notice campaigns acting unpredictably.

The learning phase launched in 2017, and Facebook has updated the protocol every few months or so to continue making their platform the top destination for ad dollars. One of the more recent updates was to Ad Volume, which impacts delivery based on how many images, videos, or versions of text go in front of an audience. If you’re an advertiser who likes to send out dozens of ads to test dozens of messages, you may be out of luck soon, as this change will impact your campaign, cost you more, and result in fewer actions.

In ten years, there may not be a Facebook. In ten years, we might all have insanely powerful phones that serve augmented reality ads in real time as we’re using our cameras to take selfies. Things might not change at all, but you can rest assured platforms will update and adapt to new ecosystems, laws, regulations, consumer tastes, behaviors and most of all, revenue streams. Whether or not you agree with where technology is headed, if you’re marketing something, please don’t ever settle for “how we’ve always done it.”

If you or your team needs to revamp their strategy, learn more about tech in the industry and figure out how to navigate the white water rapids of advertising, reach out! We’re always here to help.