Pete and Repete were walking on a bridge. Pete fell off. Who's left?

Repete? Ok, Pete and Repete were walking on a bridge. Pete fell off. Who's left?

Repete? How about we just move on...

In marketing, when something works it gets repeated and repeated again and again. Never letting a good campaign go to waste, imitators will jump on board and drive it into the ground until it's no longer effective.

We've seen this with the Got Milk? campaigns. It wasn't long before we started seeing imitators touting got sand, got rice, got mold, got Jesus and even got poop! (Like, who doesn't?)

The same thing happens with TV and movies. Someone breaks an "edginess" barrier and it's soon a race to see how soon it can be topped without losing advertisers or getting crushed by the FCC. It's hard to believe there was once a time when it was taboo to say "damn" in a theatrical movie, or that depicting a married couple in the same bed was just not something you did on TV!

It's inevitable that yesterday's "big thing" is today's normal thing.

What's new is old again

Online marketing runs on the same principles. While solid SEO and link-building concepts remain universal, there are a number of strategies of years past that no longer work today. Why? Because they have been done to death, rendering them almost completely ineffective.

Remember reciprocal link pages? Mass article submissions? Mass directory submissions? Comment spamming? Link wheels? These are all but virtually dead, dying or soon to be declining link-building strategies that have been used, abused and discarded in the cyber junkpile of once successful SEO strategies.

All this shows the danger of jumping on any single "trick" when pursuing the holy grail of SEO: search engine rankings. These tricks often turn into nothing more than short-term gimmicks, and sites fall down just as quickly as they rose up in the search results.

In online marketing, there are many paths to the same goal. Many will work for most, some may work for all, and others only work for a period of time. Many business owners find one strategy that works and they stick to it, even long past its usefulness. Not every marketing strategy works 100% the time. Those that put all their marketing eggs into a single basket find themselves with egg on their faces when that one strategy comes crashing to the ground with the changing tide of online marketing strategies.

But I get it. We do what we are comfortable with and venturing outside of that is the unknown. The unknown means taking risks and possibly experiencing losses. But it also means possible rewards, and that's what businesses need to be looking at.

Developing long-term strategies that get results

In any kind of marketing, its good to have multiple strategies at play at any given time. Putting aside the whole concept of marketing to specific customer personas, it's not a good idea to put all of your time, money or effort into a single marketing approach. I can easily make an argument for investing not only in SEO and link building, but also in social media, PPC, content, analytics, etc.

Focusing all your marketing efforts onto a single avenue of growth can be effective for a time. However, marketing diversification gives you more opportunity to be even more effective.

If you're limiting your marketing efforts to one or even two avenues, it might be time to branch out. Look at other successful marketing avenues and see how you can venture out a bit. Look at specific tactics and campaigns and see what makes sense for both short and long-term success.

Sometimes it takes trial and error to find strategies that work. Your first attempt isn't always the best attempt, and it should never be your final attempt. You can always piggyback on what others are doing, just don't mimic exactly. Use others' success to build successful campaigns unique to you.

May 16, 2012

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


"Those that put all their marketing eggs into a single basket find themselves with egg on their faces"

Definitely agree with you on this one! People want to invest in what's proven to work, which makes sense, but sometimes that means businesses get tunnel vision. They get so locked in on one specific tactic that they fail to see the world is changing. You have to at least try new things!

"We know half of our marketing is working we just don't know which half". Having a diverse marketing strategy is great. Successful campaigns use many channels to get the message out and reach the intended target market.

To be honest I kind of appreciate the spammers who push a tactic till the search engines work out how to counter it. None of the examples you listed as dying tactics added much value to internet users.

I fully agree with the point that business's should be investing in several channels but an additional point that might be worth adding is that well managed marketing channels can also support each other. For example PRs and Linkbuilding often form a natural relationship.

You make some interesting comments here and I'm left wondering which way to turn. If all of the techniques you mentioned are no-longer valid then are there a selection of strategies that you can suggest?

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