Internet Marketing is Dead, and Marketers Killed It

Yes, internet marketing as you know it is dead. Now, before you grab your torch and pitchfork, allow me to explain.

When I first got into this business almost 20 years ago, internet marketing was a very lucrative business where banner ads, referral programs, and email marketing ruled the world. It wasn’t unheard of to have a conversion rate of up to 40%, and it was a viable method of marketing your business. (Side note: anyone new to marketing right now is either shocked or thinking I’m a liar, but those are real numbers).

However, over the last 15 years the internet has changed; It’s gotten noisier, users are wired into too many different channels and their time has become much more valuable. Today we have things like social media and ad-blockers, which means a 0.01% conversion ratio for a banner ad is phenomenal. Email marketing conversion rates are so low they aren’t even quantifiable; instead, we look at open rates to see if the user opened the email before they deleted it and unsubscribed. (Hint: they didn’t.) Internet marketing is dead. Period.

How did we end up here? It’s simple, really: the world is versatile, but business is traditionally not. The world changed how they consume content, but marketers kept broadcasting and pushing it the same way they always have. Enter social media, where this is very apparent. Businesses apply this same practice of broadcasting information and end up losing not only the user, but the opportunity to deliver their message to the user as well. I don’t know about you, but that scares the crap out of me. Losing the user is one thing, but to not even have the opportunity for them to see my message at any point in the future is substantially worse. This is why so many pages are desperate for post engagement and will use “click bait” or shock posts to get it.

The question then becomes: if a user’s time is so important, how do you get your message in front of them? The answer is easy: you have to add value. That’s what it all comes down to. Pay it forward first and you have a better chance of converting a user into a customer. Let’s not assume value is always financial: it’s simply something that appeals to the customers interest at that time. It’s a picture that tells a story, and the way we tell that story differs based on the social media platform on which we tell it. I’m not going to break down the differences between storytelling on Twitter vs. on Snapchat, but I am going to remind you that it’s 2017, and if you are still marketing like it’s 2004 you are wasting a significant amount of time and money that could be better-spent.

TLDR: Stop marketing like it’s 2004 and realize that the world has changed, and you need to change with it.