The End of Online Marketing

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Retail stores were empty on Black Friday. Kate Taylor, in an article for Business Insider, delivered the bad news, "Photos of shockingly empty stores prove that Black Friday as we know it is dead" (See photo above). Just 4 years ago shoppers were camping out all night with the full knowledge they could be trampled in their quest for holiday discounts. The amount and speed of the change in customer behavior is startling and a clear call to action for business professionals. 

Retailers are not publically alarmed. They point to a shift to online sales with a sigh of relief. I suspect that in the back of their minds they are thinking, "What's next?" It took less than 4 years to decimate in-store sales. A generation ago the expected lifespan of a corporation was more than a century. It's dropped to twelve years. Take a moment to reflect on what your business will look 4 years from today.

Your New Digital Reality

Marketers are still laboring under the false premise that mass-marketing works. It's used for online marketing for #BlackFriday, #CyberMonday, and #GivingTuesday. Instead of shoppers falling all over each other to get into the stores, marketers are falling all over each other to get into your inbox. The idea of pushing a one-day event to boost traffic is as empty as the store in the photo above. If your organization is looking for an edge in 2018, start here.


Using the digital tools you already possess, gather intelligence on your perfect prospects. Start with social media. Personalize your email messages. Include both first names to start building a relationship. Compose a message that focuses on their individual needs. A generic message sent to your entire database is like a T-shirt with a "One-Size-Fits-Most" tag on the collar. It fits no-one.

Content Sharing

Sharing the intellectual property (IP) created by others sounds great. No need to create your own IP, just copy the value of others. The problem is it dilutes your value, not once but twice. You failed to add your value, then you pointed the prospect away from you.

Instead, write your own posts and publish to your blog, content sites like, or your social media platforms to demonstrate your expertise. If you find a valuable piece of content you simply must share, target the recipient carefully to create the highest value. Not only will it be well received, they will remember who cared enough to share it with them. 

Customer Journey

 Retailers were surprised when lines didn't form outside their doors on Black Friday. They failed to keep an eye on the customer journey. Each business is different, and it evolves over time. The changes are happening quicker than ever. Start by putting on your customer hat. Then use post-it notes or 3 x 5 cards to document not only each step but the segues in-between. Look for what's missing, watch out for distractions that throw them off-track or abandon the sales process altogether. With a plan in hand, update your social media, blog and landing pages to create a smooth path of engagement. 

Mass-marketing is simple. It is also ineffective. in 2018, success will come once you focus on individual customers, train your team to leverage your investment in digital tools and streamline business processed to increase your speed of execution, extend your reach beyond the low-hanging fruit and develop strong bonds of trust with those you serve best.

Digital Leverage for More Sales in 2018

 Each January I conduct an invitation-only session to sharpen my client's tools for the new year. If I wait until January, it will be too late. Please check your calendar for December 14th, 11-1 p.m. here in Jacksonville for a special session. If you like an invitation, give me a call at 904-566-8325. I call it The Gathering.