Marketing Obituaries: 3 Terms That Are Already Dead

By Doug Scudder

Death is a part of life. Not only does this cliche apply to our childhood pets (RIP Brownie), but it also applies to terms that marketers use every day.

Marketing terms die for many reasons, but most of the time terms become obsolete because technology has changed. As marketers, part of our job is keeping up with the evolution of our industry, and we can’t do that if we are still using the same terms we were ten years ago.

1. eMarketing (or “e-” anything)


eMarketing passed away in 2000. He had a good life.

eMarketing was created at the dawn of digital advertising to describe a powerful new tool that marketers were just beginning to understand. Sadly, once internet usage became commonplace eMarketing was doomed. The word infers that “electronic marketing” is somehow different and separate from analog or “real” marketing. But that hasn’t been true for a long time.

Knowing how to use social media, PPC ad networks and SEM isn’t a speciality anymore. These are basic tools that even a beginner should know.

Blog: The Basics of Search Marketing: What You Need for Success

eMarketing is survived by his brother email and his son eCommerce as well as his parents, the Internet and the desktop PC. Services will be held at Our Lady of Perpetual Obsolescence on Saturday, May 21st 2001.

2. Email Blast


Email Blast was found dead in his home in 2003. Although he had shown signs of poor health, the the CAN SPAM regulations passed by congress were convicted of his murder almost immediately.

This was a term born out of a more savage time in our history. Before the CAN SPAM laws were created, the internet was the wild west. Email blasts were the gang of outlaws that the sheriff just couldn’t catch. The ability to push a message to hundreds of thousands or millions of people without their consent was just too much power for marketers to not abuse.

Blog: Marketing Tech Friday: Email Marketing Platforms

Email marketing has changed. Building a giant list of email addresses isn’t the goal anymore, now brands want highly targeted lists filled with contacts that will actually want to engage with their content.

Email Blast is survived by his estranged wife email and his cousin a Kenyan prince in need of help relocating his fortune to the United States. No memorial service is planned at this time.

3. Viral Marketing


Viral Marketing, much like Batman, was more a symbol and an alter-ego than he was a person. Viral Marketing wasn’t so much born as it emerged from the rotting cesspool of early ’90s email forwards. His best known work would be done after meeting his wife, Social Media in 2005. According to the autopsy long term overuse was ultimately the cause of death.

Although content can spread quickly and in all directions, similar to the way a virus spreads from cell to cell, creating a field of study around viral marketing assumed that this process of spreading is somehow automated or predictable. A marketer who attempts to predict that a game, video, whitepaper or tweet will “go viral” reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of how content consumption works in 2015.

Blog: Viral Marketing Campaigns Straight Out of Hollywood

YOU don’t make anything “go viral.” All a marketer can do is create the best most valuable content they can. Their audience will decide if that piece of content is worth sharing. (Remember: people share something because it makes them look smarter to be associated with that content, especially the title.)

Viral Marketing is survived by his wife social media, his daughter LOLcatz, his son the Dancing Banana, and his grandchildren Buzzfeed and UpWorthy. Many suspect that he is still alive living under the name “Content Marketing.” Services will be held at the Chocolate Rain Funeral Home on Saturday morning.

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