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Tear Up The Death Certificates: These 4 Marketing Platforms Are Alive

By September 16, 2013June 29th, 2015Marketing Insights & Strategy
Tear Up The Death Certificates: These 4 Marketing Platforms Are Alive

I’m not a fan of articles that claim something is dead. Quite frankly, that’s never the case. Headlines that channel the grim reaper are usually lame, overly dramatic gimmicks designed to get more clicks.

Readers who fall for these headlines learn that something isn’t actually dead. Instead, the author is just predicting the death of something, wishing death upon something that he or she doesn’t like or agree with, or saying that something “as we know it” is dead.

These claims of death always end up being false or at least misleading, thanks to authors who try to position themselves as visionaries by making shortsighted assumptions and predictions based more on opinion and hope than reality.

That’s why I hate those articles.

The world of marketing is not immune to these types of articles. In fact, they’re painfully popular.

Sometimes the articles are about specific roles in marketing. For example, “The CMO is Dead” seems to be a popular theme lately – much to the amusement of hundreds of extremely successful, well-paid CMOs.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll focus on four marketing platforms that insist on sitting up in the coffin despite the efforts of many to bury them.

The Website

Who needs a traditional website anymore when you can just create business pages and profiles on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter? Why waste your money on a website when all the cool kids would rather use apps?

A website is still the foundation of any company’s marketing strategy. Social media, search, mobile, email, traditional advertising, blogs and video succeed with a strong website acting as the company’s online headquarters.

And thanks to mobile, you don’t just go to a website anymore. You bring it with you, wherever you go.

Apps are great, but search engines can’t see app content, which is also difficult to share socially. You have to download an app to use it, and the most popular apps – by far – are for gaming, not business. Websites are wide open and easy to find, with content that’s easy to share.

Honestly, many websites may as well be dead. They sit there like ghost towns, with stale content, lifeless design and no mobile-friendly qualities, hoping people will just show up. But there’s a difference between being dead and poorly maintained.


Email is so 1990s. Nobody emails anymore. Everyone communicates through social media, instant messenger, video chat and texting.


Most of us still use email all day, every day as our primary form of communication and collaboration. Again, thanks to mobile, we check, read, store and search emails more than we ever have.

44 percent of all emails are now accessed on mobile, compared to 11 percent just two years ago. Open rates have jumped to 31 percent, up from 23 percent, which was still a very solid number, just two years ago.

Sure, a lot of email is spam, but we have ways to control that as both email senders and receivers. And that little garbage can icon is easy to tap.

From a business standpoint, email marketing drives sales at a higher rate than any other type of online marketing. Period.

Email marketing works if it’s targeted, personal, measured, tested, has a strong headline in the subject line, and consistently delivers something of value. Otherwise, it’s spam.


The print industry has taken it on the chin over the last 10 years or so. Hundreds of newspapers and magazines have shut down. Sadly, thousands of incredibly talented people lost their jobs.

Newsstand sales may be on the decline, but print and digital subscriptions were actually up during the second half of 2012, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. That doesn’t wreak of death to me.

High-end magazines that target specific niche audiences are doing very well. In fact, with the emergence of tablets and smartphones, many websites are being redesigned to more closely resemble these magazines.

Local weekly newspapers deliver tremendous value for advertisers in their communities. Many of these publications have built unwavering trust and loyalty over decades. Newer publications do well because they’re simply the only source of local information that has a direct impact on the lives of their readers.

After years of fighting the internet, publishers have finally embraced this thing called the world wide web, delivering more value and accountability to advertisers. If there’s a print publication that caters to your specific audience, don’t make the mistake of dismissing print just because the medium is more than 1,000 years old.

On-Air Radio

Radio has had many suspected killers, beginning with television in the 1940s and 1950s. More modern mercenaries have included MTV, CDs, iPads and Pandora.

But here we are in 2013, and 92 percent of Americans ages 12 and up still listen to on-air radio every single week (Arbitron, 2013). That doesn’t include online streams or satellite radio. If you want to connect with a large number of adults within a certain geographic area, there’s no better marketing vehicle than radio.

Also, think about how you’re reaching these people. What other type of marketing allows you to speak directly to your audience for 60 seconds and explain why they should buy your product or service?

Yes, radio has its challenges. The most glaring problem is that most advertisers and creators of radio advertising don’t know how to use radio effectively. Most commercials are just awful. That said, the widely held belief that radio loses its audience during commercials has been proven false in study after study.

When it comes to radio’s core marketing value – the ability to deliver compelling, over-the-air messages that connect with massive audiences on an emotional level – radio is still a powerhouse.

You may think of all of these types of marketing – websites, email, print and on-air radio – as dinosaurs. They may not be the shiny new objects or have the coolness factor you want, as if that should somehow affect your marketing decisions.

But it doesn’t mean they’re dead. They’re evolving. Each may have somewhat of a perception problem, but none have an effectiveness problem.

If you use them the right way, and they’re the right fit for your business, they work. Really, really well.

What type of marketing do you believe to be alive and thriving even though others have left it for dead?

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • akramsabra says:

    I just love when i read a down to earth article. Even Google, facebook, twitter, and linkedin still use the Email to communicate with me, so if they use it then it is for sure not dead and it is their way of making sure that i get the important information. As for the print i want to expand more on this by including printed catalogs, brochures, product manuals,… these is my opinion are and will remain crucial for any marketing mix. for sure it is easier to send an ecatalog but the value will remain in holding a catalog and scribbling on it or taking a brochure in a conference,

    • Scott_McKelvey says:

      Thanks- I check my email all day long just like anyone else with a smartphone because it’s always accessible. I focused on newspapers and magazines, but yes, just about every type of print marketing still plays an important role – not for every business, but for many.

  • Sylviane Nuccio says:

    Hi Scott,

    I’m glad I came. Really like this post. By the way, the photo is hilarious.

    You bet we need a website. No way you can look professional if all you have is a facebook page.

    Wow, in the 1990’s I didn’t have an email yet 🙂 That didn’t happen until 2002 for me, and no, I never thought email was dead.

    I have to say that I don’t read printed stuff much anymore because of time issues, but there are still out there. Stands are sill full of printed magazines and news papers.

    Interestingly, TV never killed radio, and it’s still listen to.

    • Scott_McKelvey says:

      Thanks, Sylviane. I actually just read an article that said 51 percent of millennials cite newspapers as their number one source of coupons and deals. I know print isn’t dead, but that shocked even me!