We just can’t: Seven marketing things we’re tired of

Published Jul 25 2023 5 minute read Last updated Apr 11 2024
7 things we're tired of
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  • Sean Dougherty
    Written by Sean Dougherty

    A copywriter at Funnel, Sean has more than 15 years of experience working in branding and advertising (both agency and client side). He's also a professional voice actor.

Like the latest fashion trends, the popularity of certain marketing concepts can wax and wane. One day it’s a cutting edge new technology. The next? We wonder why it was ever considered a good idea. (Any crypto people out there?)

We all have our fair share of marketing concepts that we feel are overhyped. And with so much disruption to the marketing industry lately, we thought it was the perfect time to look for some of these marketing things that we’re ready to leave in the past (alongside our skinny jeans…) 

So, without further ado, we present the seven marketing concepts that Funnelers are tired of hearing about.


The Metaverse

Ah, yes, the metaverse. Neal Stephenson originally coined the term in his book Snow Crash. It refers to a universe within our own universe (specifically, a virtual one) where digital avatars serve as representatives for real world people and businesses. This digital world is accessed by real-world humans through virtual reality headsets and other hardware. 

It’s sort of like playing the popular video game The Sims, but in first person. 

Recent popularity and interest in the metaverse coincided with technological breakthroughs realized from work on Web3, which itself refers to a decentralized internet. This is the movement that also gave us the blockchain. 

The problem, at least according to our performance marketing manager Tommy Albrecht, is that the metaverse is not a new idea – nor is it destined to succeed. 

“We tried SecondLife, and it failed already,”  said Tommy. “People do love their gadgets, but nobody wants to hold meetings with legless avatars.” 

Indeed, as part of Facebook’s rebranding into Meta, they showcased their vision for the metaverse where colleagues could meet digitally. Though the graphics were widely panned, it did show some promise in revolutionizing how we work. 

Many well-known brands jumped on this most recent hype train to build their own micro-worlds within the metaverse. Perhaps, though, this was all a pipe dream that was influenced by the global response to the pandemic when remote digital work was the standard. 

We will have to wait and see if it takes off this time around, but for now, let’s not mention the word metaverse around Tommy. 


Brands on TikTok that don’t get it

TikTok has taken the world by storm. The platform’s explosive growth and status as the preferred entertainment platform (especially for Gen Z) has made brands everywhere take notice. 

It was only a matter of time until those commercial brands would start sharing their own content on the platform in hopes of reaching their audiences. Like any emerging medium, some users and brands understand what works on the platform while others fall flat on their faces. 

Funnel account manager Abby Fischer is quick to point this out. When we asked her what she was tired of, she exclaimed “brands that hop on TikTok video trends. If you’re selling face cream, don’t try to use the Corn Song. It’s not the vibe.”

Indeed, if your brand and products/services fit the vibe, then go for it. The truth, however, is that most brands who try to seize the internet zeitgeist come off as old fashioned and out of touch. 

Speaking of brands that miss the vibe…


Copycat social media

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. After all, when humans see something appealing and innovative, they want to figure out how to do it themselves. 

Brands and marketing teams are no different. As with TikTok, as an emerging media begins to stabilize and mature, its users become more sophisticated in their strategies. As successful strategies begin to emerge, brands want to capitalize on them in order to maximize their reach and marketing efficiency. 

Unfortunately, social media is a bit too heavy on the copycats and not the originators these days — at least according to our director of lifecycle marketing, Con Cirillo.

“I’m tired of over-the-top brands on social,” said Con. “Companies like Wendy’s had witty, self-deprecating Twitter presences that worked great for them. Now, many brands (including those within consumer packaged goods and SaaS) are trying to run the same playbook and it feels outdated. Brands should find their unique voice instead of trying to copy someone else’s style.”


Such is the world of modern marketing. While one strategy or style may seem to work right now, there is no guarantee it will work long term. That’s even more reason your brand should have its own personality, attributes, and message. 


Being a slave to the algorithm

While some brands chase the latest trends on social media, others relentlessly pursue hacks and strategies that help them maximize performance of certain distribution algorithms. 

Almost since the advent of Google, websites have been trying to out-optimize each other to ensure a top spot in the search results. And with the growth of algorithm-driven ad distribution on platforms like Google Ads and Meta, brands are trying to figure out exactly what will cause their creative to be delivered to more eyeballs. 

While it is always a good idea to include optimization best practices, your ads still need to speak to people. According to Emma Bäck, Funnel’s content strategist, brands have been losing sight of this fact. 

“It’s easy to spot the difference between an ad creative designed for human interaction versus algorithmic obedience,” said Emma. “Let’s face it — no one will buy your product if you’re talking like (and to!) a machine.”

It’s an important thought to keep in mind — particularly as more marketers experiment with new generative AI tools. Despite the speed and freedom granted to us by these new tools, any creative will need a human touch. 

Marketers must ensure that their ad creatives understand a given audience and deliver messaging that resonates. That goes for business-to-business marketers, too. Ads that are too focused on an algorithm’s preferences (while well intentioned), without some human oversight or intervention, are destined to fail. 


Prompt engineering

Speaking of generative AI, our talent partner Emmanuel Svensson Johansson is a bit tired of some of the jargon being thrown about that space. One of his least-favorite phrases of the moment is prompt engineering. 

The phrase refers to the strategic construction of text-based prompts that are entered into a large language model or generative AI. It’s the instructions you give tools like ChatGPT or MidJourney. 

While AI tools can create material from any prompt, it helps to have a very specific prompt that will produce the imagery, video, or text you are after. By understanding the intricacies of each machine, you can “engineer” the most effective prompt.

Emmanuel isn’t so convinced on the name for the process, though. 

“Don’t get me wrong. I think there is merit [to the process], but it’s not engineering,” said Emmanuel. 


Overly complicated ads

Every great creative director is guilty, at some point, of developing a concept that is so intricate or convoluted that it’s impossible to express the idea in a 15 or 30-second ad. 

Creating great ads is an art. You need to have a great idea that hooks the attention of your audience, uses that hook to deliver your brand’s message, and closes the piece with a call-to-action that drives, well, action. Then, that all has to be rolled up in a short snappy package according to each medium. 

According to our account manager Lauren Adams, some brands need to tighten up their creatives. 

“Some companies create ads that are so unrelated to their business that it’s laughable,” said Lauren. “I find myself questioning my own reality, because I see an ad for a gym and can’t tell if I’m watching an ad for space travel, silent disco, or Duracell batteries. Keep it simple, people!”

The trouble is that a simple ad is very often the hardest to create. It’s a delicate balance between using those attention hooks while keeping the focus on one message that creates action. 


Excel warriors

Don’t get us wrong, Microsoft Excel is a great tool. Created way back in 1985, the software has become a go-to spreadsheet tool for people around the world. 

While the marketing industry has changed a great deal in the decades since Excel’s birth, some marketers still rely on the tool to manage their performance data. Yikes. 

Sure, an Excel spreadsheet can help you plug a gap in the short-term, but it’s not a solution for an organization seeking the benefits of greater data maturity. And our revenue development representative Aeshwarya Raj Prada is quick to point this out. 

“In sales, I am tired of hearing about people messing up their Excel Sheets while reporting,” said Aeshwarya. “We are not living in 2010. Excel is not the answer for reporting anymore. Get a real tool.”

Luckily for these marketers who seem to be stuck in the past, they simply need to make the jump over to Funnel. The marketing data hub has all of the tools you need to manage reams of performance data and extract insights that can inform future success. 

Imagine a world without poorly linked sheets and hopelessly broken cells. 


Did we miss something? 

That’s the seven marketing things we are tired of — at least according to Funnelers. We know that there must be some other concepts and marketing quirks that we missed. But now it’s your turn. 

Head on over to our LinkedIn page to let us know what you are tired of hearing about. Maybe it’s efficiency, or influencers, or something else entirely. Whatever it is, it’s up to you. So let us know!

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