Insights | By Howard Tiersky

3 Reasons Tagline Marketing No Longer Works

Marketing ain’t what it used to be. Before the digital age, having a catchy slogan that you repeat and being accessible to your customer was a big part of many very successful marketing campaigns.

Today, that’s far from the case. The internet has diluted the advantages of being locally convenient to your customer, and taglines are no longer as valuable for a brand. 

I’m here to give you three reasons the old way of marketing no longer works and one thing you should focus on instead.

REASON #1: PEOPLE ARE MORE CYNICAL

Traditional marketing is all about telling customers why they should buy your product, but Millennials and Gen Zs have become extremely cynical of everything they read, see, and hear in advertisements. 

In fact, studies have shown that 42% of consumers now actively distrust brands. This means that many customers simply won’t believe whatever you say about your brand or product.

REASON #2: ONLINE REVIEWS

But customers today do believe in two things: their own experience and credible reports of other peoples’ experiences.

While brands used to have the ability to define how customers viewed them, especially customers who hadn’t bought yet and didn’t have a direct experience with the product, online reviews have changed all that.

What you say about yourself is eclipsed by what other people say about your brand because they’re often more detailed and they document authentic customer experiences.

Consider your own behavior. When you go out to try a new restaurant or make a purchase decision, what is the first thing you do? Check the reviews.

REASON #3: EVERYTHING IS AVAILABLE ONLINE

Before the digital world existed, one of the biggest advantages brands could have was their proximity to their customers. The closer you were to your customers, the more likely you were to attract them. Customers focused most of their purchase selections on the products available from businesses close to them.

Today, customers no longer need to worry about how close a brand is to them in order to get what they want (though there are exceptions to this like home repairs, chiropractors, etc.). When customers have only a few options, being memorable with a catchy slogan can work. But with the massive range of options customers have today, this approach simply doesn’t scale.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO INSTEAD?

Focus on Customer Experience

It's fine to tell your customer why they should buy from you, but switch your thinking from the idea of a brand promise to a brand claim. There’s no point in making a promise to someone who won’t believe you anyway.

The difference between a promise and a claim is how you expect the other person to respond. When you say something and expect your target market to believe you, that’s a promise.

But if you claim something, you don’t necessarily think the customer will believe you, but you’re giving them a lens to evaluate your brand with a critical eye.

It is then your job to prove that claim true. I mentioned earlier that online reviews are one form of evidence. The other is your brand’s customer experience.

For example, because United Airlines claims to be “the friendly skies,” their customers will be on the lookout to see if they’re doing anything particularly friendly. If a customer flies with United and doesn’t see or experience them doing anything to back up that claim, it only sows seeds of distrust. 

When United famously dragged a customer off a plane back in 2017, the accompanying video resulted in a huge backlash which was only magnified by their prior claim of being friendly. 

In contrast, customers who have flown Southwest Airlines will very often rate it higher on the friendliness scale than United even though Southwest has never promised or even claimed friendliness because they provide a friendly experience; today, that has more impact.

Proving your claim through your customer experience also results in better customer reviews, so by achieving that goal, you get a double benefit. And if you have previously made a claim to the same effect, customers will notice that aspect of the experience even more, magnifying the benefit further.

This is the formula for marketing today:

Brand Claim + Customer Experience + Customer Reviews

Traditional marketing was great in its time, but now that technology has made everything more accessible and changed how business is done, how you market your products and services also has to change to remain relevant to your customers.

In my Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance, I walk you through the five-step formula that helps you maneuver through the new ways of marketing and winning customer love. This formula is proven, and has worked for many companies that I have helped in the past. You can access the first chapter for free here or purchase the hard copy here.

Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM`s
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.
Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM's
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.