9 Digital Marketing Mistakes Not To Make in 2010…


Very reluctant yet insightful “un-resolutions” about marketing by Judy Shapiro… Best caption for me: “Quality, not quantity, is what drives social media.”

– Köksal.


Common Sense, Real Results and Shiny-Object Restraint Will Rule My Marketing Plans Next Year

by adage.com (Judy Shapiro) on 12.29.09

We all know about New Year’s resolutions. We make these decisions about what we’ll do in the next year with good intentions, but we also know that usually, one by one, they go by the way side. So this year, for a change, I’ve started to make “un-resolutions” — things I am determined not to do in 2010.

  1. I will not get seduced by any new digital marketing toy just because some industry pundit thinks it’s the coolest thing to hit the street. Nor will I believe every promise made by every new marketing technology company.

  2. I will not abandon common sense in digital marketing and be blinded by digital agencies’ promises that their “new” campaigns will go viral and get millions of people engaged. I will continue to listen to my gut and if it sounds too good to be true, that’s a red flag warning I will heed.
  3. I will not abandon newspaper, magazines, radio and other forms of traditional media if it is the right vehicle. No matter how sexy digital media may seem because of the perceived lower cost, I will continue to create integrated programs that weave together the best of both the traditional and digital worlds.
  4. I will not give up my attachment to e-mail marketing. Sorry folks — but e-mail marketing done well drives real business results. If your e-mail campaign did not work, either you had a bad list or an inadequate call-to-action or maybe your agency did not know what they were doing.
  5. I will not be fooled into thinking that the ad market is going to rebound in 2010. Nope. The ad market will continue to be buffeted by the tides of an evolving economic landscape and by consumers’ ever fickle attraction to new tech toys like mobile devices. These trends will continue to dampen ad revenue for publishers for some time to come.
  6. I will not blindly follow Google as they chow down every tech industry from telecom to digital publishing in their relentless march toward digital dominance. In the process, they stifle competition and kill real innovation by companies who deserve to succeed.
  7. I will not diminish my slavish devotion to data-driven marketing no matter what new platforms come out that can behaviorally target any audience any way I wish. I know, I know — the BT folks can slice and dice an audience so many ways that it makes a marketer salivate. But unless I can see, touch and feel the data, I will pass for now.
  8. I will not start following every Tom, Dick and Jane to gain more Twitter followers. OK, so I only have about 185 folks following me but at least I know they read what I tweet. Quality, not quantity, is what drives social media.
  9. And my final un-resolution: I will not try appear to be “30-something” (with a suitable amount of hair product) just because I love digital marketing. I know that the median age of people in digital marketing tends to be 27, but my depth in this space has yielded real-world, hard-won recognition. What you see (gray hair and all) is what you get.

What are your New Year’s “un-resolutions”?


By Melissa Roberts | newark, NJ December 29, 2009 05:13:16 pm:
I love this — a humurous way to say that marketing has to serve business needs and not just be dazzling technology. (I especially love your devotion to saying it like it is — gray hair and all).

My resolutions for next year are simple as in “Keep it simple” in marketing. I’d rather have a few programs that bust out than have lots of new technology programs that don’t land.

By nickntime | LA, CA December 29, 2009 05:45:06 pm:
Yep — I dig it 🙂 My resolution — NO RESOLUTIONS! It’s a long standing tradition in my house.
By HarveyMasser | oakland, CA December 29, 2009 05:57:38 pm:
refreshingly candid piece. And I am glad there is at least one other 40+ something person in digital media. Sometimes it gets lonely …
By Robertrbarnet | los angeles, CA December 29, 2009 07:14:26 pm:
Without a doubt – a sound list –
By srpatterson | Columbus, OH December 29, 2009 10:52:24 pm:
I like your stance on older media still being relevant. It’s very popular to say that all the old standbys are dead when they really aren’t. Thanks for keeping our heads on straight.
By mprasanth | Mumbai December 30, 2009 01:14:49 am:
How I wish these ended up as my clients’ resolutions 🙂
By rukallstar2 | Minneapolis, MN December 30, 2009 01:48:04 am:
a good list. very conversational. the only quibble is with point #7. less of a quibble rather than asking to clarify. i’m all for being data driven, but not being data dictated. slavish devotion implies the latter, rather than the former. it also implies a certain rigidness that may not be in full spirit of digital. just a degree, nothing to get everyone’s cottons in a bunch. just follow a 70/20/10 rule. 70% do what you know, 20% improve/evolve what you know, 10% don’t follow any rules, experiment. is that closer to what you meant, ms. shapiro?
By cbaab | Richmond, VA December 30, 2009 09:33:28 am:
In response to your resolution #8, I have to say that there is often good reason for Twitter users to follow back all who follow them. There’s a way that Ashton Kutcher can behave on Twitter and it’s different from the way a struggling publication can and should behave on Twitter. Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to reciprocate interest. See this blog post: http://bit.ly/1WvQjq
By PHILIP | CAMBRIDGE, MA December 30, 2009 09:51:39 am:
Nicely done! A model of independent thinking and marketing integrity.
Phil Johnson
By Doug | New York, NY December 30, 2009 10:54:43 am:
Everything old is new again
By bkjrecruiter | Temecula, CA December 30, 2009 11:40:52 am:
Great Article…. Yes, this technology is “seductive” and while It must be augmented into any business process, we must follow the money/$ to keep our business, economy moving in northern direction… Best to ALL/Happy New Year! Brian-
By LPiDawn | Calgary, AB December 30, 2009 12:05:59 pm:
Radio and print reps across the country are doing the yippee dance.
By solidmarketer | Cedar Rapids, IA December 30, 2009 12:30:04 pm:
Amen to Judy Shapiro! Every marketer’s CEO should read this so they don’t get distracted by the next shiny object. Fundamentals still count and still get results.
By lumsdengr | PALM BEACH, FL December 30, 2009 12:49:49 pm:
May I please add another? Perhaps resolution number ten could become: Until educational levels rise in the U.S.,digital marketing efforts will be limited in reach.
By rw3162 | Calgary, AB December 30, 2009 12:53:01 pm:
Love your comment about integrating the right media tools to suit the message – it’s advertising 101 basics but still very important to consider especially in light of all the new tools available!
By JudyGShapiro | new york, NY December 30, 2009 01:01:40 pm:
Happy New Year all —

Some of you had questions that I’d like to answer about my “Unresolution” list:

To rukallstar2 about #7 (My slavish devotion to data)– Actually, I agree with you that slavish implies a certain rigidity I had not intended. That point was a reaction (albeit maybe over reaction) to a few behavioral targeting companies that sell services but do not allow a client to verify program metrics. In other words, if they say 1,000 people clicked on your ad, you can not verify that behavior within your own systems even though you are paying them per response. That made me crazy.

To cbaab about #8 (A tweet for a tat or the reciprocity of Twitter)
I don’t believe that Twitter is a two way communications channel. In the post you suggested I read, they explain that, for instance, newspapers that don’t reciprocate may be closing themselves off to the very users they are trying to engage.

Not so sure I agree. In my mind, Twitter is a one-way broadcast platform. It can support two way conversations – to a level but not really effectively. If a newspaper wants a 2-way engagement with an audience, Twitter is not the way to go.

In my case, I use Twitter as a very structured way to learn about stuff I don’t have time to explore. If you see who I follow on Twitter – it roughly falls into 3 categories; 1) broad news channels so I know about “big events”, 2) Pundits within technology so I am up-to-date on tech news and 3) people who amuse me or who are good at finding the quirky things on the Web I would never ever find on my own. Too many people works against this.

Reciprocity in Twitter IMHO is a concept that should be retired. Follow someone because you are interested in what they have to say. That should be reason enough.

To bkjrecruiter
Thank you getting the grander point which is that seduction of all this technology too often obscures a critical evaluation of what it can do for business.

There is place for new technology within the marketing mix, but it must be used intelligently and with maturity. Too often, the lure of new technology reminds me of a kid who just got a new whirly helicopter and is goofing around until it crashes to the floor in a heap of useless plastic.

By cbclinch | Los Angeles, CA December 30, 2009 01:06:05 pm:
You’re always one of the bright spots on panel discussions and now you’re offering some wonderfully pure suggestions for us to get a better start on the new year. I’ve stopped keeping track of those shiny new marketing toys that get introduced every quarter by spunky new start ups with complicated, costly but “new” ways of reaching…who? They’re not quite sure, but – ultimately – everybody. Sigh… Thanks for leading the way toward a better marketing future!

Catherine Clinch

By NORBERTO | SAO PAULO -SP December 30, 2009 01:19:05 pm:
Judy Shapiro: All your articles are very interesting and reflect your
interest to develop human behaviour. Congratulations.
By jon.franko | Granite City, IL December 30, 2009 02:31:20 pm:
“I will not start following every Tom, Dick and Jane to gain more Twitter followers. OK, so I only have about 185 folks following me but at least I know they read what I tweet. Quality, not quantity, is what drives social media.”

Couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the very relevant post.

Jon Franko
thinker & writer

By Rodney | Hayward, CA December 30, 2009 03:24:19 pm:
Thank you for being a voice for the people who are not in their 20s or 30s. Also thank you for standing up for background and experience over the latest trend as a measure of marketing know-how.
By cbaab | Richmond, VA December 30, 2009 03:25:46 pm:
Judy, no disrespect intended, but I stick by what I said. It’s reductive to frame Twitter as strictly a “broadcast” medium; that view ignores the millions of Twitters users who aren’t companies or brands but just individuals conversing with their friends, colleagues and neighbors. Sure, Twitter is a “broadcast” medium for the Kim Kardashians and the Bill Mahers of the world, but it is not a “broadcast” medium for the vast majority of users. Of course some self-proclaimed thought leaders and gurus use Twitter for no other reason than to position themselves–and we rightly identify those efforts as pathetic. (You run into these people in “real life” too; they’re only interested in what they have to say, and they imagine that whatever they say is interesting just because they’re the ones saying it.) Besides “broadcast” is still a much too grandiose term when we are speaking of followings of 200-odd people, as in your case, or of followings of 1,000-odd, as in the case of the agency I work for. Bottom line: For struggling publications as well as for small businesses, returning the follow is a good way of signaling mutual respect and regard.

Cat Baab

By JudyGShapiro | new york, NY December 30, 2009 03:42:59 pm:
None taken … 🙂 I welcome this conversation as that keeps us all on our toes.

The thing is that I don’t see a broad base of “Judy Consumer” users out there using Twitter beyond keeping up with the Kim Kardashians of the world. Nor do I see good data on exactly who uses Twitter beyond some stats that suggest Twitter looks like any other community — the 80/20 rules holds (80% of activity concentrated in 20% of users).

On the whole, I largely reject Twitter as an “engagement” opportunity for business (beyond maybe buying ads). I simply have not seen it work that way. I have seen good uses of Twitter where a company “broadcasts” (there’s that word again 🙂 a promo.

I guess my prejudice is that I see Twitter as another kind of RSS feed. If a business wants to show respect, there are better ways to do it, e.g. encourage they join a community etc.

But TBH — I am not sure I am right … it’s just what I have observed. So feel free to talk me off the “broadcast” ledge.

By eleanoraustin | Marysville, NB December 30, 2009 03:49:59 pm:
Regarding your final un-resolution: Thank you for being so honest and forthright about a valid topic that is rarely approached so openly – especially in a media where transparency is a hallmark.

(And it seems until now, “9” has been a highly under-rated number.
Perhaps for an “un” list, it’s appropriate that the number of items be “un-traditional” as well!) 🙂

By William | Richmond, VA December 30, 2009 04:04:07 pm:
Wow, this is a great post. It is always wonderful to see baby boomers adapt to the digital age. Very entertaining! Thank goodness there are younger people who keep us honest. Judy, your post is like listening to Lou Dobbs talk about e-mail or Andy Rooney waxing on about computers on 60 Minutes.

Happy New Year.

Bill Bergman
Bergman Group

By cbaab | Richmond, VA December 30, 2009 05:21:58 pm:
Hey, Judy. Thanks for your response. You might search the hashtag #rva to see a good example of a community of individuals, among them small business owners, all using Twitter for personal reasons, not self promotion.(The hashtag refers to a common abbreviation for Richmond, Virginia, and it’s used by the Richmond community.) This is just one example. One could list dozens.
By JudyGShapiro | new york, NY December 30, 2009 06:19:52 pm:
To cbaab — Cool.

As an oh BTW — I even wrote a piece on how “Judy Consumer” might really benefit from Twitter, but alas I don’t see a groundswell yet. http://adage.com/digitalnext/post?article_id=139272. The post reflects a real world experience.

Happy New Year!

By k24680 | NEW YORK, NY December 30, 2009 08:38:43 pm:
A solid list and I really appreciate the approach of hoping for more integrated on- and off-line campaigns, but I can’t help but notice that you seem to feel almost cheated by new technologies and their effectiveness. That shouldn’t be the case – innovation and creativity in technology are powerful drivers for all advertisers.

Just to caveat that, my 2cents are, before employing any tactic, digital or analogue or finger-puppets, new or old tech, one should always try to set up three basic things: measurement, targeting and optimization. For some reason people tend to misinterpret any data as a result in digital marketing. Data is not the end-product, but the way to business results. After getting X amount of views/hits/friends/leads… The painful questions often are: “Yes, but what did you try to do in the first place? And how does it help us to get to Y?” Simply knowing what one wants to do before you do it, makes it possible to embrace new innovations and come up with more creative solutions to business problems. It also makes the successes and failures stand out, so that one can learn how to make things even better.

Happy new year – i hope to see a lot of new, cool and effective things out there in 2010… and a lot more common sense too.


By abarcelos | East Providence, RI December 30, 2009 09:15:42 pm:
These are so realistic and refreshing. Love them! Mostly because I feel the same way. I will not be lured by bells and whistles and will also proudly wear the grays I accumulated in marketing all these years.
By John | Los Angeles, CA December 31, 2009 11:45:24 am:
ThankyouThankyouThankyou. People here in our office are saying, “Who is this woman? She’s obviously stolen what John’s been saying for years.” Finally, we get a common sense point-of-view from someone who hasn’t drank the Kool-Aid.
By bmaczis | OWINGS MILLS, MD December 31, 2009 12:50:46 pm:
We have a saying on our lobby wall…”If all are thinking alike, then no one is thinking”.
Good stuff, Judy!

Facebook; YouTube; Linkedin; WordPress

By DerekMabie | St. Louis, MO December 31, 2009 01:14:35 pm:
Some Great Points.

I am partial to point #3. To me, that is what really matters. Finding ways to create harmony in a campaign using multiple formats, with one goal in mind, ROI.

Digital extensions should be included on virtually all campaigns, if for no other reason, to have a gauge of brand movement. When you advertise in print, radio, tv, or anywhere…there are conversations and brand mentions taking place online. By measuring those conversations; ie where they take place, who is having them, + or – impact, so forth and so on.

By taking metrics seriously and trying to be innovative in how you obtain those metrics will help keep your eye on the prize. Its that discipline and accountability, that minimizes your chance to be sucked into the bright lights and newness.

As far as the “goog” is concerned, there is no escaping….Who is going to beat them? Microsoft? not a chance…Unless the Lebron James of Search and Communication Technology emerges quickly, I think it will be too late. The only thing in there way is another failed attempt at a phone.

Derek Mabie

By JudyGShapiro | new york, NY December 31, 2009 03:16:06 pm:
To John

You’re very very very welcome 🙂

Actually, I used to work on Hawaiian Punch — so while I have not drunk the KoolAid – I did drink HP — (I am a very very very loyal woman).

Make no mistake about it — I love “Hawaiian Punch” and I do drink it. I just don’t so much of it that I get a belly ache.

The point is that new technology needs to be handled with maturity and intelligence. That can be sometimes hard when many marketing tech companies are dominated by brilliant yet business naive folks.

So bring on the Hawaiian Punch – and let’s party to bring in 2010 – the year when new media grows up and just becomes “media”. (One can hope).

By FFcommunicator | charlotte, NC January 4, 2010 12:29:01 pm:
Good. Did you see our 10 Resolutions for Success in 2010 and Beyond? http://www.famefoundry.com/1540/10-resolutions-for-success-in-2010-and-beyond

Fame Foundry
Charlotte Website Design

By rubbermaidweb | Huntersville, NC January 4, 2010 04:39:46 pm:
I thought the gray hair was just because the photo was in black & white. Be sure to mark your calendar in late December to revisit this post and see how you did.
By Backlinks | raanana, CA January 5, 2010 03:53:20 am:
i really likes what you wrote about google and the fact that many companies who do deserve to live, die. we do get a lot from google services, but in fact we may get too bounded to them to ever leave them for a better thing due to the existing ties related links

About this entry