5 marketing terms that will disappear in 5 years


Digital marketing is a dynamic industry. New concepts and terms are always being born, and others are always dying.

The language of marketing tends to evolve at a much slower pace than the industry itself. Sure, we like to make up words and concepts at a regular interval, but we have a much harder time doing away with outdated and irrelevant marketing terms. We keep certain concepts well past their expiration date, sometimes out of habit, but oftentimes out of fear of what might come next.

Here are five marketing terms that will have become wholly irrelevant in five years and arguably have already started their decline in usefulness.

Black-hat SEO

Put this concept to the “should be gone already but strangely isn’t” bucket. Black-hat SEO tactics—shady tactics that marketers employ to game search engines—have long been frowned upon by much of the industry. (At least outwardly. I’ve certainly known marketers who publicly decried black-hat SEO but secretly gave some pretty questionable advice to clients when the microphones were turned off.)

The tactics have persisted for years because, well, they worked pretty well, at least for a time. Keyword stuffing, selling and farming links—people did get a boost from these tactics, so there were always plenty of people willing to provide such services. Sure, it was risky. But the potential reward, especially in the short term, was big enough to merit it.

As we knew it would be, the party is over. Google and the other engines weren’t born yesterday, and they’ve decided that marketers need to knock it off. With its 2012 Penguin update, Google doled out the granddaddy of all spankings to sites making use of aggressive black-hat tactics. Some of those sites are still trying to undo the damage.

Of course, for a time, we’re still going to see plenty of black-hat SEOs trying to crack the code and find another easy win in the search game. Old habits die hard. But if they haven’t already, most marketers are going to realize very soon that good things don’t come easy in the search world—not anymore. Time to bleach that hat or take it off altogether.

Link bait

This ties into the previous point regarding undesirable SEO strategies, but it doesn’t necessarily cross the line into black-hat waters. Rather, “link bait” conjures mixed reactions among the marketing crowd. Some see it as a goal in creating content—the idea that others would see a piece of content and deem it worthy of a link. Others see it as a scandal involving low-quality content and manipulative headlines. It can be both, but it is usually the latter.

Link volume and nothing else shouldn’t be the end goal. To continue mindlessly creating “link bait” content is a fool’s errand. Stop. Step back. Think about quality. Think about relevance. Yes, getting high-quality and relevant links back to your content over time can help your SEO efforts immensely. Amassing a ton of low-quality back links with trite, rehashed, or needlessly inflammatory content won’t do you much good in the long run and can even damage your site’s search engine reputation. So knock it off. If you want to refine your thinking on the subject, I’d recommend checking out this article from Moz that distinguishes link bait from linkable assets.

Mobile strategies

Don’t misread here. “Mobile” isn’t going anywhere. Quite the opposite. My assertion here is that mobile will become (and arguably already is) so ubiquitous that the idea of separating “mobile” out as a strategy on its own will become simply ridiculous—if not impossible. Mobile shouldn’t be an add-on or silo—not today, and certainly not in five years.

People do not and will not remember where they first (or last) engaged with your brand. They simply remember the experience and how they felt about it. If that experience sucks, then your brand sucks—remember that. More and more of those experiences will happen on mobile devices in the future, and so that has to be the experience you’re thinking about when you think “strategy” at all. Mobile site? Website? It’s just your site. It—and everything else—had damn well better work well on a mobile device.

Traditional media

TV. Magazines. Newspapers. Direct mail. Billboards. Today we accept that these represent “traditional media” purchases. On the digital side, we covet the “old school” dollars and have been chipping away at those budgets for years.

These channels are not going away. Some—in certain cases, many—of the outlets and incarnations of these media will, but the notion of TV, magazines, etc., will persist. However, in the very near future, there will be nothing “traditional” about these media purchases.

Any newspaper or magazine purchase will be intricately and essentially tied to digital media as well, be it within an app or web/mobile site environment. Many of these “traditional” purchases will be only digital opportunities in the future. (Some have already made this transition.) Though TV certainly isn’t going anywhere in the next five years, the notion of buying a simple 30-second spot in prime time will. The processes of buying online video and TV are necessarily converging, and the measurement of these integrated purchases is scurrying quickly to keep up. It’s not there yet, but it will be.

Social media

Let’s put this one in the “hopeful” bucket. Like “mobile,” the relevance and usefulness of distinguishing certain media as “social” is fading fast. If you find yourself evaluating a media opportunity that has absolutely no social properties to it whatsoever, you probably shouldn’t be evaluating it at all.

Increasingly that applies to “traditional” media as well (see my previous point). TV, billboards, even print media—these media plays have to be made with an eye toward the digital realm, and that digital realm is inherently and inextricably social.

In the near future, we hope, we won’t see a need to make the “social” distinction. It unwisely buckets media opportunities that should ever-more be viewed in an integrated, holistic fashion.

Drew Hubbard is a social media strategist and owner of L.A. Foodie . A version of this post first ran on iMediaConnection.


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12 Most Abracadabra Ways to Make Difficult People Disappear

12 Most Abracadabra Ways to Make Difficult People Disappear

When working with others in a fast paced environment, conflict and stress will occur, but it doesn’t have to stick around or become the norm. Both elements can disappear if leaders are willing to make one decision: allowing stress and conflict to lead the team or leading its impact to a minimum.

Leaders who choose the first option focus daily on those creating and suffering from conflict, along with those on the sidelines who feel involved or impacted by the stress of others. This choice makes things worse and fortifies its staying power. Leaders who choose to minimize the impact of people with difficult behavior are often pleasantly surprised that at some point the behavior, and occasionally the very people sharing it, just disappears.

Consider these 12 solutions to help you “deal” with difficult people, and achieve better results:

1. Change your perceptions

Perceptions are our point of view and as we don’t tend to argue with our own data, what we see, is real, at least for us. The key question then becomes: are your perceptions accurate and a true reflection of what the other person is thinking or meaning by their behavior? Did they mean to rattle your nerves on purpose or are they just doing what they do… just like you? In my book, Make Difficult People Disappear, I explain that most labels we have assigned to others are predetermined judgments that are unfair. When we’re focused on everything and everyone being difficult and interfering with progress, we sabotage ourselves and employees. Just as magically as we want the difficulty to disappear, more of it seems to show up when we assign labels that don’t make sense or help the situation.

2. Reduce stress

Leaders experience feelings of overwhelm and anxiety just like everyone else. They are subject to stress. Stress is the result of one’s needs not being met. Those you lead are looking to you to meet their needs. Whether they have a need for action and results, as many leaders do, or perhaps that of recognition for specific accomplishments, stability, certainty, constancy, popularity, or being able to express themselves, your efforts to meet the needs of others will reduce your stress. Knowing what YOU need — and ensuring that you’re getting those elements — will also reduce your stress. When anxiety is reduced from both perspectives — yours and theirs — productivity and fun in the workplace soars and serves to continue a stress free cycle of working together.

3. Set boundaries

How many times a day do you hear “gotta sec?” In an environment where leaders are seen as effective if they have an “open door” policy, but are often struggling with delicate balance of getting things done and being available, setting boundaries can be difficult. The truly successful managers and leaders effectively block out time and politely let others know when they are available, with an open door or other signals. Also, they let people they lead know their preferred form of communication. Do you respond to emails or texts faster than a voicemail? Do people know you’re always accessible, even if it’s adding to overwhelm? Difficult people may grimace when you’re not at their beck and call, but they’ll adjust and disappear if you consistently train them how to treat you by setting appropriate boundaries.

4. Assess before you arrest

We often label others as difficult rather quickly. If they don’t communicate the way you do, as the leader, conversations are strained and for simplification we “convict” them of being difficult. Assess what they need from you first, and not just in the way of task fulfillment or achievement, but what do they really need. Consciously make an assessment before you make a figurative arrest and put them in the land of the “difficult.” Why? Once you assign a person THIS assessment, it has a tendency to stick. You’ll soon begin looking for ways to affirm that label.

5. Eliminate conflict

Conflict occurs when two parties vying for what they need to hear, feel, or experience, aren’t getting it and continue to request it in a way the other individual doesn’t understand. To eliminate conflict, listen longer before you speak and review the needs of the person with whom you are communicating. Then consider the timing of yours and their request. Most come into a conversation with good intentions, but sometimes struggle with articulating what is needed. Leaders learn to recognize what is under the emotional communication in conflict and begin to address the real issue at hand.

6. Communicate more clearly

In the book, Make Difficult People Disappear, communication skills are a key focal point. When a leader communicates more clearly it doesn’t mean they speak louder. Those who look to you for leadership aren’t deaf; they may not understand your direction. What can you do to alter the delivery of your message so that it is received in a language others more readily understand?

7. Give others what they need

Using the personality preference descriptions as an example, Commanders communicate with a sense of urgency and focus on results, whereas a more passive Relater team member will communicate with added empathy and people focus. They are motivated by “getting along” and will not understand a Commanders subtle use of “when you get a sec,” which for them means “right now.” Clarify your communication so you get what you need, and meet the needs of others, too.

8. Ask for what we want and need

Super-specific language will benefit everyone, as you will need fewer words (and energy) to explain and instruct. Choosing your words carefully and succinctly is beneficial for a couple of reasons. First, fewer mistakes are made when direction and goals are expressed with clarity. Second, asking for what you want and need sets a positive example for others. It leaves less to misinterpretation, shows you are decisive and confident, and is another way of setting boundaries.

9. Abide by rewards and consequences

Everyone likes recognition for their efforts. However, the KIND of recognition they prefer differs widely. In fact, there are four types: Public, Private, Tangible, and Intangible. Give the private person a public display of accolades and they are likely to do anything and everything in the future, up to and including sabotage, to ensure they are never that publicly pointed out or embarrassed again. Have you reviewed your recognition plans lately? Do you know the needs of the individuals you lead? Reinforce behavior with recognition in the way they prefer and you are ensured continued stellar performance of that which you recognize.

10. Maintain the “big picture”

While it may appear that making difficult people disappear involves a magic wand or giant magic beans, it is less about magic and more about mindset. The people you lead are… well… people. They have individual needs, preferences, backgrounds, and motivators. Identifying and then meeting these needs will remove the vast amount of stress and conflict in your office. It takes practice. It is not meant to make you the office psychologist, but rather it is intended to make your job easier and allow for self-management of the talented adults you have the privilege of leading. Maintain the big picture for your leadership focus and look at the needs of those you lead with an interest in meeting them and your desired outcomes for productivity and performance.

11. Follow your disappearing act

Your disappearing act is one of an internal nature and when you enact these steps, you’ll find that the difficulty dissipates and those who wish not to follow your boundaries, behaviors, and actions will self-deselect. They will move on to remain difficult elsewhere.

12. Create and keep the culture

Yes, you can make difficult people disappear. The challenge is to commit to putting these suggestions into practice on a daily basis.

Creating the kind of culture and leadership we have covered is a significant step. Maintaining the practices and mindset takes effort that is well worth the energy. Managers who are adept at assertive communication, setting boundaries, and refusing to label others always come out ahead.

How did you rate on this 12-point list?

Featured image courtesy of  gnackgnackgnack via Creative Commons.

Monica Wofford


Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development strategist, blogger, speaker, and author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear. As the CEO of Contagious Companies, Monica is best known for designing and delivering leadership training programs for managers who were promoted, but not prepared. She and her firm provide training, coaching, and consulting to executives and team members of many Fortune 1000 companies.

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