Ryan Hanley

author, speaker, marketing geek

Marketing is NOT Dead

marketing is not dead

It seems like recent trend in attention grabbing headlines is to make boisterous prognostications about the future of marketing and advertising, specifically that traditional marketing is dead.

It’s an easy concept to grab onto.  Find a few fortune 1,000 companies with recognizable brand names who’ve filled out some survey projecting increased spending on social media marketing and the point is validated.

Who wouldn’t want a read an article titled, Marketing is Dead.”

It’s a divisive idea within the marketing industry.  Traditional marketing and advertising tactics are how a vast majority of today’s marketers got their chops

After listening to a few expert opinions and examining the marketing initiatives of my own small business I decided it was time to make my own boisterous prognostication:

Marketing is not dead, it simply doesn’t work the way it used to.

I would agree that traditional marketing done the traditional way is dead.  The Connected Generation hates traditional marketing…

…actually it’s worse than that.  The Connected Generation doesn’t just hate traditional marketing, Connected Generation consumers have been so inundated their entire lives by traditional marketing tactics both online and offline their brain simply ignores ads.

You know how some times when you’re driving a road you’ve driven a thousand times, say your route home from the office, you’ll blank out and all of the sudden you snap back into the world and you can’t remember the last 10 minutes of driving?

No matter how hard you try you can’t remember.

Did I pass someone?  

Was a speeding?  

What the hell was I doing?

Your brain having performed the routine so many times, stopped functioning on an active level and your consciousness was able to focus on something else.

This is how the Connected Generation surfs the Internet. 

Think about if every piece of media you consumed for entire life was associated with advertisements, your brain, (just like it does with when you’re driving home from work for thousandth time), turns the ads off without you knowing.

Traditional forms of advertising and marketing have become routine to the Connected Generation consumers brain.

Subconsciously our brain is doing us a solid and turning them off.

Think about this:

You surf Google every single day.

Do you see the ads?

I don’t.

Now think about Facebook.

Can you remember one ad listed on the right hand side of your news feed?

I can’t.

Now newspaper sites.

Name one company with a flash ad on your favorite online newspaper?

No idea.

The longer we spend online the more our brain ignores advertisements.

Our brains simply don’t have the capacity to process all the advertising information thrown at us.  To combat this, our brain doesn’t waste time remembering the ad, it just moves on.  (read How Your Brain Deals With Google and Facebook Ads for more on this).

Traditional marketers and advertisers understand this concept, so their only option is to interrupt us.

Interruption Marketing is based on the belief that if we separate enough people, enough times from what they are doing and interject our latest discount, product or feature a  few of these people, in that exact moment, will have a need and purchase.

Which I guess sounds like it could work, except who the hell wants their life interrupted so someone can sell us something?

That’s value to the advertiser, not value for the consumer.

How many videos on sites like the NY Times, Wall Street Journal and Yahoo have you NOT watched because they force you sit through a thirty second commercial before the content you actually wanted to see?

For me it’s everyone.  I don’t care how hard the guy got kicked in the balls, the small laugh is not worth a thirty second car commercial.  Thirty second car commercials are the reason that I stopped watching TV all the time.

Interruption marketing is dead or at least dying quickly.


The entire game changes when we start marketing to individuals and businesses who already attach some level of value to our brand.

Here’s a confession.  I lied before. I can actually remember three ads from the right sidebar of my Facebook news feed:

  • Neil Patel’s new product
  • Travelers Insurance
  • Infusionsoft marketing automation

The reason I can remember these three traditional advertisements is because I attach value to all three brands.

I think Neil Patel is a genius Internet entrepreneur and marketer, I work with Travelers Insurance every single day and Infusionsoft is revolutionizing the customer experience we provide at my insurance agency.

Traditional marketing and advertising techniques including interruption marketing are dead, unless that individual already considers your brand valuable.  When you’ve already established a relationship with the consumer then the advertisements become communications.

How You Implement Traditional Marketing to the Connected Generation

1) Facebook Promoted Posts

Facebook promoted posts

I use Facebook Promoted Posts quite a bit in my insurance agency marketing.  But I only use promoted posts for people who already like our page, never Friends of Fans.  Friends of Fans is an interruption, but a promoted post to our current friends is just a communication. {for more on Facebook advertising listen this Jon Loomer podcast episode}

Certainly don’t promote every Facebook post you publish but things like:

  • New products or services
  • New location
  • Vital story or article
  • Content you know your community enjoys

These are all great promoted posts.  The goal with a Facebook promoted post is to beat Edgerank and get your message in front of consumers who already value your brand.

2) Google+ Email Notification

Google+ email

Be very careful with this one.  I almost never use this, in all honestly I may have used it twice.  By clicking the check box to email your circles you will be sending an email to people who have NOT opted into receiving emails from you.

Technically, by using Google+ they did, but that is not going to be the perception of the person who receive the emails from you.

Emailing your circles is definitely interruption marketing in it’s purest form.  However, if you have established brand value and the message is relevant both in subject matter and timeliness then emailing your Google+ circles can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool.

Abusing this feature will get you un-circled and potentially blocked in no time… especially by me.

Marketing is NOT Dead

Marketing is not dead it just doesn’t work on consumers who haven’t previously attached any value to your brand.

This is why an active content marketing strategy is so vital to new business growth.  Content marketing is how we make ourselves available to new relationships.  Traditional marketing can then be used to notify and communicate with those relationships.

It’s a very important distinction and why I firmly believe that marketing is not dead, just different.

Thank you and Good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley and if you enjoyed this article you’ll love the Content Warfare Newsletter, get it here.

SPEAK YOUR MIND: Is marketing truly dead?  Do the tactics I outlined turn off current clients? How do you communicate with current clients?

About Ryan Hanley

I help make sales easy through content marketing. My work as a marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and Amazon bestseller author will help your business establish authority, attract an audience and grow revenue. Hire me to speak at your next event or grab a copy of my new book, Content Warfare.

  • http://virallyapp.com Alex Clifford

    Marketing isn’t dead, but irrelevant advertising certainly is, Ryan! Very good article.

    Sponsored facebook posts to a engaged audience. Retargeted ads which follow you across the web. Adverts which have been targeted at us because of something we’re interested in… surely that is the future of advertising.

    As for content marketing, that definitely the future of marketing… as you’ve proved with your own insurance company!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      It just seems to me that if the advertisement isn’t a part of our story than what is the point?

      I’m not sure I have that concept completely hashed out in my brain…

      Thanks dude,


  • Brent Kelly

    Although I am technically part of Gen X, I definitely can relate to the way Gen Y (as well as others) view interruption marketing. Although it can still have some success, most small business and entrepreneurs don’t have the resources to pull it off. People want value, truth, great content, and definitely want to connect with others.
    Marketing is definitely not dead, but traditional marketing is dying a slow death. Great post.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Its the idea that advertising and interruption marketing are part of your story. I don’t mind being interrupted by the MLB Network commercial because I love baseball. So targeting or opting in to be Interrupted I think still works.

      Still working on this concept in my brain.

      Thanks dude,


  • http://www.rightmixmarketing.com Tom Treanor

    Agreed Ryan – marketing is far from dead but it is evolving quickly. Thanks for the great post and for the nice tactical examples for Facebook and G+!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      Let me know what success you have. I hesitate with the emailing circles but with the right message I think it could be a great tool.


  • http://www.theyoungerprofessional.wordpress.com Melissa

    Ryan, this is great. I laughed out loud at the comparison of seeing ads online to that awkward ghost-trip home everyone can relate to. Fantastic analogy.

    Your point (that marketing is NOT dead, just different) is not unique, though the execution of it was. Definitely a must-share.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley


      I’m so glad that the analogy resonated with you. I’m definitely not the first person to express this thought but it’s an idea that needs to spread.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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