10 Of The Most Annoying Marketing Tactics

Face In HandsHave you ever been annoyed by marketing tactics?

Most of us would immediately raise our hands emphatically.

I think a few bad apples give marketing and sales a bad name. At least that’s the case sometimes.

Marketing and sales can be a great thing. In my experience, most marketers and salespeople do have the consumer’s best interest at heart. The reason they do is because when the consumer wins, the capitalist wins.

Any kind of pushy or annoying tactic ultimately backfires. Even if it works in the short-term it usually bombs in the long-term.

So let’s look at some of the most annoying marketing tactics and maybe fix our own marketing efforts. I know I’ve been guilty of a few of these in the past…

1. Intrusive Ads

This is getting really bad on major online publications. Usually the ones that are the biggest culprits are the former newspapers or TV channels that are trying to monetize their online channels.

Go to a local newspaper website and the odds are good that you’ll see popups, interstitials and all kinds of crazy things. A video might even begin playing really loudly and you won’t know where the thing even is on the screen.

You won’t even know if you’re on the article that you wanted to check out. And the page will load so slow because of all the ads that you will get annoyed and leave.

This is a dying form of marketing and that’s a good thing.

2. Facebook Tagging

This actually seems to happen as often for personal reasons as it does for business reasons. Someone wants to get people’s attention and instead of just posting something on their wall they tag numerous friends.

This tactic does guarantee that those tagged people will notice, but you run the risk of irritating them.

There is a good way to use tagging. Let’s say you have something positive to offer those that you tag. Maybe just a funny piece of content or something like that.

Tagging and asking for something runs the line of irritating and annoying especially if you do it often.

3. Connection Request + Immediate Business Message

This happens on most social networks, but I see it on LinkedIn the most. But I know others see it on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Someone that has an interesting profile and background asks to connect. You go ahead and connect and within hours they come back with a template direct message asking you if you’re interested in what they’re selling.

Look, I’m all for selling a service, but that’s not what social media is for. It’s for forming a relationship with someone and perhaps down the road a sale can be made.

4. Gated Content

These aren’t too bad. I get it. Sometimes content might be good enough to charge for or to use as a way to get email addresses. But this tactic can be overused. It can definitely be oversold.

The last thing you want is to offer something like a video course or an ebook and once people signup with their email they get it and are disappointed.

The content better be a lot better than what you offer normally or you’re just going to annoy and turn away your audience.

5. Industry-speak

This one isn’t really done on purpose, but it still happens all the time. I see it often when I visit business websites. You get on a company’s homepage and you can’t figure out what they’re actually selling.

They use acronyms or words that you don’t recognize.

When you’re heavily involved in an industry it’s easy to use industry terms, but even your customers probably don’t know what the heck you’re talking about.

Don’t try to sound smart. You don’t have to sound dumb or anything like that, but try to write and speak with basic language so your audience knows what you’re talking about.

Avoid words like:

  • Integrated
  • Comprehensive
  • Intuitive
  • Etc.

You know the ones…

6. Over Hashtagging, Hashtag Hijacking

This one is kind of like overtagging that looked at earlier.

I’m definitely a fan of using hashtags. In fact, I think people underutilize them.

But there are some that go a little overboard. I don’t know if there’s a good rule to follow. Maybe 3-5 hashtags per update?

The real issue is when you start using hashtags that really don’t have anything to do with your update. That’s kind of hashtag hijacking. You’re sharing your content on a popular hashtag just to possibly reach a larger audience.

But really anyone following that hashtag will just wonder what your content is doing there.

7. Premature Email Subscribe Popup

I read a lot of blog posts. It’s a great way to learn things.

One of my biggest pet peeves is opening a post from social media or Google and the first thing that happens is a popup asking me to signup for their newsletter or their ebook or something.

Give me a second here. I just got on your site. I was expecting to read your blog post. Maybe after I’m done reading I would be interested in signing up for something, but give me a minute here…

8. Overly Long Email Drip Campaigns

I don’t want to put across the impression that I don’t like email programs. I like subscribing to email programs when they’re not too intrusive and when they offer something I’m interested in. And that “interest” is totally subjective. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean that others don’t.

But one thing that seems to be overused is overly long email drip campaigns. This means that you sign up for a program. You’re expecting to get certain content, but instead you get a new email every day with just a piece of the content you were expecting.

Maybe it’s like a chapter a day instead of the entire ebook. Or just one video snippet each day instead of the full video. Or one lesson a week instead of the full course at once.

9. Confusing Commercials

This happened recently while I was watching the Super Bowl. An ad would come on and I would have no idea what was being sold or what the brand even was that was promoting something.

Have you seen these?

After watching that during the big game I started thinking about all the confusing commercials I see on YouTube and other channels. I have sympathy for advertisers. It’s not easy to make compelling ads, but sometimes I think we overthink things.

Rule One should be to make sure that viewers know what we’re offering and who we are.

10. Blatant Product Placement

We’re seeing this all the time in movies and TV shows now. I don’t mind if a TV show uses Ford vehicles. They need to use something. What gets annoying is when they really zoom in on the Ford logo all the time for no reason.


These are just some of the blatantly annoying marketing tactics out there. More certainly exist. And there are some great marketing tactics and campaigns. Usually things get annoying when marketers get desperate and start worrying about short-term conversion.

A good approach is to focus on the long-term. Focus on understanding the customer, asking questions and getting to know them. Just like you would if you met someone in real life.

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