Ignore the “Old School”? The Truth About Marketing

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Twitter Marketing vs Old School

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Yet again I am being bombarded by the social media bandwagon. It is in full force. And it’s pretty annoying to me.

Not because social media isn’t useful – it absolutely can be. But because “experts” are trying to make it out to be the end-all, be-all solution to every problem that has plagued any business ever in the history of man kind.

In fact, I am writing this latest rant after receiving an email telling me to ignore the “old school” and fully commit to social media. I quickly hit the “unsubscribe” button.

As you can tell from this post, and this one, I take issue with anyone labeling anything as the go-to solution across the board.


There are times when social media is the right solution.

I recalled a conversation that I had with a former colleague. He claimed that his younger, teenage, brother never uses email. I found this hard to believe.

Then I asked my younger, teenage, sister. She can be a pretty useful resource sometimes (don’t tell her I said that).

She confirmed that she does have an email address (I guess you pretty much have to in order to get onto social media to begin with), but only checks it every once in a while.

She went on to tell me that she doesn’t see her friends using Facebook as often as they used to. They prefer Twitter. Interesting…

Among her age group (at least the people that she interacts with) Facebook is used primarily as a photo-sharing platform. Maybe Mr. Zuckerberg knew what he was doing with Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for a whopping $1 billion (just like LinkedIn knew what it was doing when it purchased SlideShare :) ). Other communication happens on Twitter.

My Theory

Why is this happening? My theory is simple: information overflow is now a standard.

Facebook faces a very serious problem when it comes to making people happy – it doesn’t update often enough. And on top of that, it filters your results to only show you updates from the same people – the people you check in on most often.

That means that you can log into Facebook over and over again only to see the same updates you saw the last time you logged in…and the time before that…and the time before that.

Twitter, on the other hand, goes through rapid updates. You will never see the same update – and you’ll probably miss many. Perfect if you’re bored.

Plus, according to my sister, “you can keep updating yours status on Twitter without pissing people off.” True – even if you update every few minutes, your updates will get watered down by everyone else your followers are following.

And that is something a lot of people find annoying with Facebook – do you really care when your friends are going to the gym?

Lesson: Ignore Facebook and Email – Right?

If I was one of these so-called experts that I get messages and emails from I would tell you to ignore Facebook. It’s already old school. And certainly ignore email – that’s ancient! Go all in on Twitter!

But that’s not the case.

What I’m going to tell you is that this only plants a seed. And it’s worth further investigation.

Looking back on my teenage years I didn’t use email nearly as much as I do now. Now I don’t get off of it. So social media may be the platform of choice if you are targeting teenagers.

Twitter might be a good choice if you are targeting teenage girls in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. It may be a good choice if you are targeting teenage girls. And it may be a good platform if you are targeting teenagers in general. It’s worth investigating.

Now Let’s Back Up a Second…

There’s a kicker to all this. I am also going to make the assumption that as these teenagers grow older and take on new responsibilities (i.e. college, work, etc), they will increase their use of email.

Speaking of email, you should put yours into the convenient little box in the bottom right corner of your screen to get updates :) .

And to further confuse the situation, it’s worth taking a look at who is doing the purchasing. Is it the teenagers themselves? Or is is their parents?

Because if it’s the latter, we’re back to square one – get their email address. By all means, promote your brand where your target audience is hanging out – but for god’s sake capture the information of the person with the check book (or probably credit card).

Plus, there’s something personal about an email address isn’t there? I don’t care if you follow me on twitter. But I certainly care a lot more about who gets a hold of my email address.

Let’s back up even further. Let’s get more personal than email. What about a phone number? Or what about a written letter sent to someone’s address?

Just look at what using actual, physical mail, and a few brownies, did for Sean Malarkey.

It seems the more old-school a marketing tactic is, the more personal it is – and possibly the more effective.

But phone calls and written letters are much more time consuming and expensive. So let’s pick a middle ground and stick to personal communication that is also cost-effective: email.

So the real lesson? The email I received is dead wrong. You can choose to ignore the “new school” – but don’t dare ignore the “old school.”



3 Responses to Ignore the “Old School”? The Truth About Marketing
  1. Kerra

    The first point of your post about social media being touted as the penultimate business solution is one worth exploring.

    It’s useful, yes. But a very important and painful lesson I learned this week is that sometimes people mistake likes, fans, and followers for real relationships. Their goal is to create buzz or amass a following, but after achieving this (if they do) they don’t know how to treat them well. Basic human impulses like dignity and respect are thrown out of the window.

    Tangental to this is the new emphasis on the power of (social) networking. The strongest people in my network are people I met offline. We developed relationships because we established trust and developed consistency. It’s the quality, not the quantity of our relationships that matter.

  2. Jeevan Jacob John

    Nothing is old school ;)

    Email might be the oldest form of communication in the internet,but it is still the largest forms of internet communication (if not one among the largest).

    All we need to do is change our focus needs to change depending upon our target audience. Like you mentioned, we need to focus on social media sites such as Twitter and FB, if we are targeting an audience that spends their time on those sites.

    (I am still astonished by the fact the teenagers are using Twitter – I thought otherwise. Well, I myself am a teenager, but my case is different, since I am a blogger :D ).

    Like you said, Twitter has rapid update system (it is indeed good to see more and newer updates, but we will certainly miss others. Unless we use promoted tweets feature – or unless we get a lot of re tweets, our tweet isn’t going to be visible for a long time).

    Anyways, thank you for the post, Eugene!

    Jeevan Jacob John

  3. Volker Schnaars

    I prefer and recommend the “Marketing in the round” approach.

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