5 things marketers need to stop saying

I keep seeing these mistakes being made over and over again by marketing professionals and it simply has to stop.

1/ “We need to market to millennials”

There’s this prevailing idea that millennials are one big segment. But they aren’t. Sure, demographically speaking they may have top-level propensities but psychographically they are as varied as any generation before them. Which means blocking them together for marketing purposes isn’t really a good idea. If you don’t think so, just ask McDonald’s or Pizza Hut.

2/ “We tried that already last year so…”

The consumer and competitive landscape can shift dramatically and quickly. So something that failed as little as six months ago could work now. This not to say all ideas should be on the table always, just keep in mind the context in which the test did or didn’t work. This response is a close cousin to…

3/ “Best practices tell us…”

Like “we tried that already,” the “best practices” line holds up a particular use case as proof. Unfortunately, not all use cases are the same. Again, context is what really matters.

4/ “We’ll just use our TV ads online”

Brands have found that simply re-purposing TV ads for online/mobile use doesn’t really perform as well. Let’s be purposeful and create a ads that are germane to the format in which they will be consumed.

5/ “We created a brand position by brainstorming internally”

Yeah, that may lead to a brand position you can use but in all likelihood will result in one that works for the employees, not your target markets. In order to build an effect brand position, you need to research. Yes, with internal stakeholders but also with current customers and, to the extent future customers look different than your current ones, non-customers.

Bonus - “Brands can no longer dictate brand position to customers”

Ok, that hasn’t been the case for decades. By now anyone working in brand had better be basing their decisions on how the product or service needs to fit into the consumers’ lives. And that had better be done using research, not conjecture.

Time to change.

If you think this is just carping on about pet peeves, ask a friend or relative who is not in marketing to describe how they feel about it? They hate it. Why? Because they think it’s about selling them crap they don’t want or need. For too long we as an industry have gone about, not matching product/service to need but selling. Marketing has a brand problem (which is just insane when you think about it). Hopefully we can all start to get it together to change that.




Brand/marketing executive, former Netflix, MZ. I write on startups, strategy, business, culture & design. Also on Instagram @craftbarry @inthechipswithbarry

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Barry W. Enderwick

Barry W. Enderwick

Brand/marketing executive, former Netflix, MZ. I write on startups, strategy, business, culture & design. Also on Instagram @craftbarry @inthechipswithbarry

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