So Over It: 6 Trends Past Their Prime

January 23, 2020 Christine Otsuka

Maybe it’s not relevant to your industry. Maybe it’s something more consumer-focused when you’re B2B. Maybe you just don’t believe the hype. Whatever your reason, there are some trends you’re never going to adopt and, frankly, are sick of hearing about. Well, you’re not alone. 

In a survey of 330 marketers, we asked what trends they wish they would just go away and they told us. Some were quite passionate about these past-their-prime trends. So let’s dive in! And, if you’re so inclined, add a few more to the list in the comments.

Top Trends Past Their Prime

Far and away, marketers were most sick of hearing about influencer marketing and chatbots to the tune of 52%. When we asked why, the response came from the same place—the messages delivered here felt inauthentic and impersonal.

Here are the full results:

330 marketers selected 439 trends, which means some selected more than one trend to hit the road. 

Other defunct trends included social ads (based on diminishing effectiveness), robo calling, Twitter, mailers, cold calling, overuse of email, and VR.

Why Marketers Are Saying Good Riddance

Curious to know what has caused this “good riddance” attitude? Let’s take a look:

Influencer marketing

When it comes to this form of marketing, most marketers said it was very inauthentic, overhyped, and overrated for demand generation. Others pointed to the lack of ROI they’ve seen from this strategy. While it might work for some clothing and jewelry brands, it’s not applicable to all industries. For Sam Simon, Digital Content Coordinator at Madrax, it’s the term more than anything else. “It conjures up visions of Instagram celebrities. I think partnering with key thought leaders to create valuable information is a great strategy. But chasing follower counts will only get you so far.”

Chatbots

Chatbots really divide people. You either love them or you hate them. Amongst this year’s survey respondents, there were a lot (23%) of naysayers for this channel. Why? “It removes the crucial element in genuine connection—humanity,” according to Bret Smith, CEO and Founder of HIPB2B. Some marketers likened chatbots to old-school pop-ups, saying they provided good assistance with booking appointments or directing inquiries but lacked in the experience department. Others lamented the sheer amount of time it takes to create an experience that feels even a bit human when it’s automated. 

Live streaming

This once-everywhere trend is being put to pasture by 15% of our survey respondents based on its limited applications. Live streaming is simply not relevant for every audience or every industry and, as such, doesn’t need to be a priority for most brands. So its lack of relevance is at the heart of why marketers can’t wait for the day we all stop talking about this trend. 

For others it’s simply not that interesting and incredibly difficult to do right. 

“Live streaming isn't for everyone, nor everything,” says Alison Frederick, Senior Manager, Social Media & Content, McGraw-Hill Education. “It was hot when it first came out, but it can be a logistical nightmare if you don't have a full-on production setup ready to go. Not to mention, if you don't have a strong subset of interested followers you're really just live streaming to live stream.”

Voice search

While voice search isn’t on many marketers’ must-explore lists, it also isn’t driving them nuts to hear about it. Our survey respondents identified that as consumers voice search has its place, but it isn’t that relevant for marketers… yet.

Only 9% of our respondents suggested this was the trend they wanted to do away with. The consensus was for B2B purchases and education, buyers will still prefer full-fledged blogs, guides, examples, images, and screen recordings. 

“Yes, voice is growing and it's shaping the way that things like search engines operate—but it's going to be a long time before I start asking Siri for advice on 2020 marketing trends while I'm sitting at the office,” says Brandon Rafalson, Head of Editorial, Bizzabo. “From a tech and cultural standpoint, we have a long way to go before it becomes more widely adopted, especially among a B2B audience.” 

Podcasts

For podcasts, it’s less that people want these to go away but more that there’s increasing pressure for marketing teams to create and produce podcasts in what’s fast become an oversaturated market. If this trend dies down, a lot of our respondents who voted this trend the one they’d most like to see disappear (8%), might sing a different tune. Here’s what Roger Beharry Lall, VP of Marketing at Lift & Co., had to say: “While I quite enjoy a few good podcasts, there are simply too many of them. Most are terrible, time consuming, and full of painful personal drivel and ads. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think everyone should have a podcast.”

Artificial Intelligence

For the 6% who chose AI as the trend they’d most like to see kick rocks, marketers voiced their reservations about AI’s ability to achieve that personalized, human experience. Here’s what Erin Conrad, Senior Marketing Manager, ACA Compliance Group had to say: “Marketing is personal by nature and requires a solid understanding of human behaviors to be successful. Bots and AI are nowhere near able to replace human marketers in this way.”

Personalization

And lastly, a percentage of marketers we surveyed thought personalization is a trend they’re just plain sick of hearing about. Delivering a personalized experience has topped most marketers’ lists over the past several years, but like any trend (or hit song), people get sick of hearing the same old tune. Thus, 5% of marketers are over hearing about personalization. “Personalization always gets this rosy light. But there's a pretty large grey area within personalization that feels creepy or stalkerish,” says Megan Murray, Director of Demand Generation, Equifax. There’s definitely a fine line with personalization. So if you want to do this trend well, err on the side of relevance rather than “I know where you live.”

Farewell, Trends?

Whether you’re sick of hearing about them, or completely unbothered by these fleeting trends, marketers the continent over have voiced their opinions (and we listened). But just because a trend is past its prime doesn’t mean it’s not effective. Sometimes trends stop being trends and start being best practices. Take it all with a grain of salt. After all, what works for some won’t work for all. And what’s overdone for others may be something you’re just now willing to explore. 

Didn't get a chance to dive into our Trends Report yet? Get it here.

About the Author

Christine Otsuka

Christine is an experience-obsessed marketer. Officially, she's Uberflip's Senior Content Marketing Manager, where creating engaging content experiences for marketers is a challenge she accepts daily. She believes that if you can't attract, engage, and compel that next action with your content, then why bother? She also has a thing for pugs, but who doesn't.

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