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Digital Advertising Evolves: 3 Modern Marketing Techniques

ICON16 keynote
Photo Credit: Wendy Brunner

Consumers are fed up with in-your-face guerilla marketing techniques. Traditional ads, whether in print or seen as banner ads are history. According to data from the HubSpot marketing blog, display ad view rates are steady —not rising— click-through-rates are only at 0.06%, ad blocking has taken over most browsers, and a good portion of internet users find ads not only intolerable, but even worse, untrustworthy.

Traditional digital advertising needs to evolve. And Ryan Deiss, Founder and CEO of Digital Marketer, offers a solution.

Ryan shared a few modern digital marketing techniques during his afternoon keynote at ICON16. His high-energy and lighthearted talk went into three specific evolved “advertising” techniques that are more natural and accepted by prospects and customers.

New Banding 101

Your customers and prospects are like a bank account, and before you can ask them to give you something (provide information, spend money) you must make a deposit. In other words, you must have relational equity before you can make a withdrawal.

This is where traditional advertising has failed. Banner ads are asking for a withdrawal from an empty account.

In today’s world, effective branding techniques include anything that makes a “goodwill” deposit into this relational equity account. Branding now goes far beyond your logo or tag line to how your content makes customers feel about your company and your product.

There are several basic ways to make these deposits into your customer or prospect customer bank accounts:

1. Make them laugh.

Super Bowl ads are almost always a great examples of marketing that makes us laugh. From the Bud-weis-er croaking frogs to the E*Trade talking baby, humor is used as a way to break the ice with consumers and cement the brand name in memory.

Not all humor hits the mark and, for better or for worse, this can also get people talking about a brand (think Mountain Dew’s Puppy Monkey Baby). While these are big name, big money ($4 to $5 million for 30 seconds) examples, Ryan drove the point home that any business can use the same technique.

2. Make them cry.

Another powerful way to create relational equity is to make them cry. Maybe not literally, but by triggering a memory, a brand can be remembered. The Budweiser lost puppy ads (who was eventually found by the Clydesdales) tugged heart strings. Creating an emotional response, whether happy or sad, is powerful for brands.

3. Make them feel part of something.

Another way to build up the “goodwill” in your bank account is to make the prospect or customer feel that they are a part of something bigger. Apple does this using the technique of clearly stating their values and beliefs as a company and thereby attracting a following. Apple devotees have a shared connection.

4. Deliver actual value in advance.

The idea of “going first” is often the last approach taken in traditional marketing. But today, with so many options, consumers are looking to see what unique value you offer before they give up something. Often this is in the form of content; a helpful blog post, an eBook, a how-to video. This is another way relational equity is built, by offering something of value, maybe some of your best work, ungated and without asking for anything in return.

Content Amplification

According to Ryan, “the future of marketing isn’t about who can get the most eyeballs the cheapest…it’s who has the most people pixeled.” Essentially, when an advertiser embeds a pixel in an email or on a web page or document, information, like time, location and the device used, is tracked.

Pixels are placed all the time. The practice is not illegal and not even discouraged. And now, thanks to growth in the data analytics field, its usefulness to marketers has reached a new level. Pixel information is gathered, stored, packaged, analyzed and sold.

This type of tracking data is the new gold mine for marketers, and being the innovators that they are, they are all over it. What marketers are now doing with this data is amplifying their content by retargeting customers and prospects.


Everyone who has searched for a product on the Internet recently has been touched by retargeting. These are the ads that seem to follow you around the internet, the ads that, as Ryan Deiss says, “never leave you the hell alone.”

As annoying, or perhaps creepy, as these ads might feel, they are the next wave in Internet marketing. The good news is that at least we’re moving beyond random ads for things you don’t care about, right? Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you shop for a pair of shoes on your laptop on Amazon, but you never actually buy them. Your pixel data is now with a tracking company. The next day you’re on your phone, using Facebook and may see ads for the same shoes. You notice and think, “How did that happen?,” but you’re not in “buy mode.” You’re busy. Behind the scenes, your Facebook pixel got matched with your Amazon pixel and you see personalized ads for the shoes you might still be thinking about. Then, in your email account on Saturday morning you get a friendly email telling you that those shoes are on sale, if you’re still interested, plus, there’s all these other shoes you might like. It’s Saturday, you’re scanning emails before you even get out of bed and those shoes look real good now and their on sale! Click. You buy.

That’s a simplified example of using retargeting to amplify content, but Ryan stressed one final critical point:

The most important aspect of content amplification is the production of high-quality content.

Companies should be diligent about producing content that provides value and builds relational equity. In the words of Ryan, “Don’t amplify crap, it will make you look like crap.”

Ryan Deiss knows what he’s talking about. He is the CEO of Digital Marketer, a company fairly obsessed with digital marketing. And, this is not a company that just talks about how to market, they are actively selling and building brands for their customers, and having huge successes, not only in selling, but in advancing technologies, techniques and analytics to create better, more valuable experiences for customers.

ICON is a conference filled with positive energy and an abundance of support and encouragement for small businesses. With a focus on providing value, business owners are no doubt in good hands with WriterAccess as a partner in providing valuable, high-quality content.


WriterAccess writer Wendy BWendy B is a story-powered travel writer and copywriter who has helped companies create content that connects. Find the story. Write the story. Everybody learns.

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By WriterAccess

Freelancer Wendy B

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