5 Most Common Marketing Misconceptions

I’ve been profoundly educating myself in the area of marketing for a while now, using different sources. Of course, there are different opinions, conclusions and tips marketing people are giving. Some of them are tested and proven over time, others sound a little bit suspicious. What are the most common marketing misconceptions out there? Read on and see what I’ve found out.

Back in the day

My first encounter with marketing was back in 2011 in my Marketing 101 course at the university. We studied a lot of interesting things, dealt with real cases, researched other companies’ marketing strategies. Each one of us was given a long list with classic and modern books on marketing – to read and then present to the class. My pick was “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout (with the tip from the authors “Violate them at your own risk!“). The book was insightful, enlightening, funny and full of practical examples. I still remember some of the laws I read, such as:

  • It is more important for the companies from a certain industry to be first in the mind of consumers. Take Coca-Cola for example – most people first think of it when they hear “soft drinks”.
  • If your company is not first, make a new category and be first there. Category doesn’t have to be radically different, e.g. if there’s dominant player in imported beer, one can become the first to import light beer.
  • The law of focus is all about what your focus keyword is. For example, Volvo owns “safety” when it comes to automobiles, FedEx owns “overnight” when it comes to delivery. You have to find a focus keyword that best describes your product or service and stick with it, really try to make people think of your company when they hear it.

If you’re interested in the book, here’s a short summary, or maybe you want to hear it – there’s the audio book.

Marketing today. Outbound and Inbound

As KISSmetrics define the two types of marketing today:

Outbound marketing is marketing that pushes the brand’s message out to its prospects. Inbound and content marketing is marketing that pulls or gravitates prospects to (hopefully) a trusted source.

Inbound Marketing

A lot of companies have come to the conclusion that just putting yourself out there and choosing a large platform that fits your target market to spread your message is not enough anymore. Only recently has a new form of marketing emerged. It’s called inbound marketing and is promoting a company through blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, enewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing which serve to attract customers.

To get down to business, after this short introduction, here are the most common marketing misconceptions nowadays:

1. Good marketing delivers results fast

Yes, some tactics can produce instant results, but in reality, the best marketing campaigns focus on building relationships with consumers, in order that sustained, good quality, contact can be made with the target audience. Marketing is an investment and like all good investments, it takes time to deliver the greatest results.

Content marketing, for example, takes a lot of time to show results. Successful content marketing teams don’t just write a couple of blog posts and expect their traffic to skyrocket – it can take months. The great thing is, once that content’s written, it’ll work for you over time by accumulating traffic and generating leads.

It just takes time to get there. If you find yourself feeling discouraged about how long it takes for your content to work its way through your audience, don’t give up, HubSpot advises. You don’t need to change tactics, but you can certainly look for ways to speed up your content execution process.

 2. “Word of mouth” counts as marketing

Word of mouth is and always will be an important piece that contributes to your success—but it’s only a piece. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses with revenue under $5 million should allocate 7-8% of their budget to marketing. How to spend it? There’s no one right answer, but an easy way to see what works (and what doesn’t) is to include a unique promo code for every ad you place, email you send, tweet or post you write, etc. Then it’s easy to track which efforts are successful by the codes clients use to redeem your promotions.

Another trick you can use is to put UTM parameters to the links you send out. UTM parameters are simply tags that you add to a URL. When someone clicks on a URL with UTM parameters, those tags are sent back to your Google Analytics for tracking. A guide how on to use UTM parameters is available on KISSmetrics blog. Another useful platform is Mixpanel. Mixpanel is an analytics platform for the mobile and web, supporting businesses to study consumer behavior.

Word of Mouth Marketing

Photo taken from nicholasreese.com

3. You don’t need to market to existing clients

This is one of the stupidest things out there. The existing clients are the best clients you have. They liked your product/service a while ago and are still sticking with it. The easiest way to keep the clients you have is to remind them about you with a little marketing. Retaining your existing clients is the quickest way to boost your revenue, too: just a 5% increase in client retention typically leads to a 75% increase in profits, according to Bain & Co. Marketing to your clients can be as simple as sending a monthly newsletter via email, giving them a freebie on their birthdays, or offering a discount on their next visit if they haven’t come in for a while.

4. E-mail marketing is too old-school

With everyone from Wired to The Telegraph loudly proclaiming that “e-mail is dead” it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing it’s too late to start an email marketing campaign. While more teens may use Twitter and Instagram to communicate with their peers, email marketing still works. According to a 2013 study from the Direct Marketing Association, 66% of all consumers have made an online purchase as a result of a marketing e-mail. That’s in 2013, not 2003. The way we use e-mail may be changing, but e-mail marketing is far from drawing it’s last breath and it’s still an essential part of inbound marketing that can work for you.

Another proof that e-mail marketing is not dead is an article by McKinsey, “Why marketers should keep sending you e-mails“. According to them, e-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media – nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

E-mail Marketing

Photo taken from jellyfish.net

5. Sales are down, so we need to cut our marketing budget

MisconceptionTough times force companies to make tough budget decisions, but marketing is one place you should try not to cut. Not only can effective marketing can help you break out of a sales slump, but if you stop engaging with your customers and prospects, competitors will be standing by to take your place. Don’t give them the opportunity.

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