It’s Time to Stop Marketing Like It’s 2005

It’s time to stop marketing like it’s 2005.

Because it’s not.

Yet companies are still latching onto traditional ineffective marketing like it is.

Let me explain.

According to, in 2005 the average email open rate for email was 22 percent. In 2015, that number was 13.6 percent. That’s a 38 percent decrease in a little less than 10 years. But why?

People are inundated with daily emails including work-related messages, promotions, and outright spam. As the amount of email consumers receive increases, the window to grab their attention gets smaller.

What’s even more insane is that companies spent $46 billion nationwide on direct mail(2014). With 44 percent of direct mail going unopened according to, that’s flushing roughly $20.24 billion down the toilet every year.

We’ve worked with clients who have gotten access to big mail lists and asked for our company’s advice on sending out mailers — trying to bank on spray-and-pray marketing methods. Our advice is simple: don’t do it.

Understanding millennial buyers

Millennials will be the biggest buying generation of all time, so it’s time to start paying attention to the marketing methods that resonate with them.

First, millennials don’t want to talk on the phone – unless they call you.

So stop calling them. I often hear from business professionals that say, “I’m a people person. I want to make real connections with people so I prefer to call them.”

Newsflash: millennials don’t want to talk on the phone with you. Hell, they barely speak with their friends and family on the phone.

According to the Wall Street Journal, calling someone without notice makes it seem like you’re prioritizing your time over theirs. Keep this is mind next time you pick up the phone.

You have to give value up front before you ask for it back from someone.

Millennials want to get value before they pick a business to buy from. If something doesn’t give value to people, you shouldn’t do it, period.

The above person, Jessica, is a great example of a businessperson giving value. She’s a real estate agent who recorded a quick video outlining five tips for first-time sellers. She’s not asking viewers for anything. She’s giving the viewer valuable information, then the viewer decides whether they like her.

It’s not about Facebook, Twitter or commercials — it’s about attention

Marketing has never been about commercials, flyers or Facebook. It’s always been about consumer attention.

In 1950, commercials worked. People paid attention throughout their duration because they were consuming every piece of media that they could. Although commercials are still on TV today, where do your eyes go every commercial break? To your phone.

So as consumer attention shifts from platform to platform, marketers need to be equally as nimble — ducking and weaving and hitting consumers with tactful marketing messages.

If you can’t commit to the long game, then don’t play the game

Great marketers understand the importance of the long game. If you’re making decisions around short-term gains, all you will ever have is short-term gains.

Creating connections with consumers is about embracing the long game. It’s easy to get discouraged when you start a marketing initiative and the numbers don’t come back the way you’d like.

Take the post above for instance. I put eight to 10 hours of work into this blog post on LinkedIn, only to produce 74 views.

Now I have two choices:

Get mad and give up on content marketing

Be grateful and amazed that 74 people stopped their day to pay attention to what I was saying

Imagine if that was a speech I was giving at a meet-up. 74 warm bodies — that’s an audience size I’d be excited about.

With that thinking in mind, get excited when you see your efforts getting 25, 30 or 40 views because it’s impressive.

If there’s one takeaway from this post, it’s this: don’t market how you want to market; market how your consumer wants to be marketed to.

If you want to get caught up on the latest marketing tactics, head over to our YouTube show, In The Cave, where we cover topics on marketing, social media, and business.