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Team Orange PegsNov 1, 2023 7:00:00 AM6 min read

The '90s Revival: Why These 6 Marketing Trends Should Stay in the Past

The 90s — a decade defined by grunge fashion, boy bands, and the birth of the Internet — have been making a steady comeback in our collective consciousness. From fashion (we see you, mom jeans) to music and even interior design, it seems like the last years before the millennium are alive and well in today’s culture. 

Like most nostalgia-driven revivals, the impact of the 90s reboot is twofold. First, the resurgence of the decade’s trends rekindles memories for anyone who grew up in the 90s. It also piques the curiosity of younger generations, who missed the era entirely the first time around. 

As a result, it’s no surprise that marketers everywhere are seizing an opportunity to capitalize on this yearning for the past.

Retro Isn’t Always the Way to Go With Growth Marketing 

However, not all 90s practices are worth resurrecting (you keep your hands where we can see them, pencil-thin eyebrows). And, unfortunately, when it comes to marketing practices, there are a lot of 90s strategies that only feel like they’re making a comeback because they’ve actually never left us.
If you’re struggling with outdated marketing techniques in your business, we’ve got you. After 10+ years in the business, the Orange Pegs team of growth hackers, designers, and creatives are certainly not the New Kids On The Block when it comes to developing proven, data-driven marketing tactics that expand brand reach and client base. Our team makes it our mission to get your sales and marketing team NSYNC to optimize campaign outcomes and boost revenue generation.

Here are six outdated marketing practices from the 90s that have not stood the test of time — and need to be Quantum Leaped right back to where they came from.

Outdated Marketing Trend #1: Cluttered, Clunky Websites 

The world was getting its first taste of the World Wide Web in the ‘90s — and we took whatever our dial-up Internet access could get. All these years later, we still see cluttered, clunky websites that aren’t user-friendly or SEO-optimized. A clunky, hard-to-navigate site can impact your company’s credibility.  Even worse, because there are so many competitors in virtually every industry, having a website that is outdated or slow can drive potential customers directly to your competitors.

Simplify your website, make it user-friendly and engaging to navigate, and don’t clutter it with competing offers and unnecessary information. Today’s market is drawn to minimalist and bold styles. Design aesthetics that stand out are often sleek and high contrast. 

Bottom line: When it comes to the 90s, there is really very little about UX/UI and web design that you should bring with you into this century.

Outdated Marketing Trend #2: Intrusive Pop-Up Ads

If you lived through the 90s, you know just how obnoxious pop-up ads were. So much so, that many household desktop computers installed a “Pop-Up Blocker” at some point, an app that stopped pop-ups before they could get to you. 


The logic was sound. A pop-up interrupts a user's action and provides information that otherwise might be missed. Pop-ups for new products, sale items, giveaways, and other notifications were common. 

The problem with the intrusive pop-up ad is that it is overdone. Pop-ups are still relevant, but they’ve become much more refined. 

Today’s marketing strategies include a softer and much less frequent approach to pop-ups. Consider a pop-up for abandoned cart alerts or notifications of upcoming event registration reminders — leave the multiple pop-ups advertising sales in the 90s. A more subtle approach to pop-ups can keep them relevant without bothering the customer to the point of abandonment.

Outdated Marketing Trend #3: Iconic 90s Commercials 

We all know the ones …

There was always a song, cheesy dialogue, and usually some overly choreographed dancing. While the jingles still stick with us long after the 90s, the messaging and the products? Not so much. 

Today’s market is less concerned with the look and feel of a commercial and more about the message being conveyed. 

Why do I need this product? How will it change my day-to-day life? What are all of the uses for this product or service that I might not have considered? Where can I get it?

Successful modern marketing commercials today look like online ads, typically shown via social media platforms. The message is stronger, clearer, shorter, and not masked by jingles and dance moves. To stand out, you need to get your point across to an audience that has a shorter attention span than ever before. 

Catchphrases and jingles aren’t necessarily OUT — but knowing the best way to present them is key to succeeding in a consumer market that is inundated with advertisements and video content.

Outdated Marketing Trend #4: Keyword Stuffing 

As the Internet emerged in the early 90s, so did the idea that you could use keywords to drive traffic to your website. By including the right keywords about your company, online traffic across the entire internet could more easily find your content. 

Enter the era of keyword stuffing, the act of jamming keywords into content — even in unnatural locations throughout a website or article — to boost your SEO score. 

Now we recognize that keyword stuffing feels off for a very good reason. Over the years, Google’s algorithm has evolved to help recognize and even penalize this shady practice. In the worst-case scenarios, keyword stuffing can prompt Google to blacklist a site entirely.

Today, there are much more natural, organic ways to boost SEO without randomly and aggressively inserting keywords into copy. Targeted, quality blog content, optimized meta descriptions, maintaining a consistent social media presence, and properly indexing pages and blogs are just some of the ways that we now choose to tackle SEO ranking.

Outdated Marketing Trend #5: Spammy Emails 

Spam emails first appeared on the scene in the '90s — and have been plaguing our inboxes ever since. Back then, it made sense (kinda). A booming '90s economy coupled with everyone signing up for their own personal email account presented a unique opportunity. Marketers realized they could deliver information to consumers without the upfront cost of mailers or purchasing an advertisement in print format. 

Spam emails began and boy did they come on STRONG. 

Since the '90s, we have learned that email marketing is a massive driver in revenue and provides an excellent avenue for marketing that is a low- to no-cost strategy. However, the importance of personalizing emails and respecting your reader’s inbox cannot be overstated. 

Outdated Marketing Trend #6: Trendy Marketing Guided by Guesswork

If you take one thing away from this list, know that just jumping on the bandwagon of randomized marketing tactics is not going to get you anywhere when it comes to sustainable, scalable marketing strategies. 

The '90s were full of fad-heavy content, irrelevant celebrity endorsements, and commercials that just didn’t make sense. 

Fortunately, 21st-century business owners don’t have to rely on guesstimates and what everyone else is doing. Why? Because today’s entrepreneurs have access to an extensive supply of data to help inform and guide them on what’s resonating with consumers. 

A data-driven process is also easier than ever to implement in today’s business environments. With best-in-class tools, modern technology, and a whole suite of online learning opportunities, there’s no excuse not to learn how to analyze and implement data.

Orange Pegs is Leaving Behind the Ghosts of Marketing Past 

Ready to say Bye, Bye, Bye to '90s marketing strategies that are hindering business growth? Orange Pegs can help.

Let’s connect! Click on the calendar to schedule a convenient time to talk. 


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