If you are a small business owner searching for the key to instant marketing success, then you need to prepare yourself for disappointment. In today’s competitive marketing landscape, there is no shortcut or quick fix for lackluster marketing. Marketing brilliance requires long-term, sustained dedication and expertise in a variety of subspecialties. Below are ten marketing myths that prove there is no silver bullet in the marketing arena.
Marketing Myth #1: “One marketing specialist is all I need.”
Reality: One single person will not be able to master all of a company’s marketing needs.
Remaining competitive in today’s cutthroat business world requires a comprehensive arsenal of diverse marketing tools with specialists who know how to employ them. With marketing experts identifying over 150 distinct types of marketing, it is virtually impossible for one single person to possess expertise in every type of marketing.
“If ever you wanted evidence of just how sweeping and fragmented ‘marketing’ is, try making a list of every kind of marketing out there. It starts simple enough, with search marketing, email marketing, product marketing, viral marketing — next thing you know, you have over a hundred terms!”
– Scott Brinker, Chief Marketing Technologist, ChiefMartec
In order to best optimize your resources, you will need to identify your key marketing goals and set a budget. This will enable you to determine whether it makes more sense to hire one or more full-time employees or to consider outsourcing your marketing tasks.
Marketing Myth #2: “If I launch my marketing plan today, I will see results by next week.”
Reality: Achieving marketing results takes time. Marketing is more like a marathon than a sprint.
According to Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel Digital, it can take you a couple of days to change your whole website and increasing your digital footprint, but it can take three months before you begin to see the results of your efforts. Patel notes that you might even see a slight dip in results as your website is re-ranked for improved searches.
Maintaining realistic expectations about your marketing campaign is vital to ensuring that you do not become frustrated when you do not see immediate results. Finally, it is important to remember that there are no guarantees in marketing. However, you can bolster your odds of positive results through long-term dedication to carrying out your marketing plan.
Marketing Myth #3: “As long as I invest in SEO, my company will thrive.”
Reality: Marketing success requires a multi-faceted approach.
SEO is not the total solution for your online marketing campaign. In fact, even owners of SEO agencies will tell you that SEO is only one piece of a complex marketing puzzle. While a strong SEO campaign is a necessity for your company, your company can also benefit from other strategies such as direct marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, and word of mouth marketing.
Marketing Myth #4: “Sales and marketing should be treated completely separately.”
Reality: Sales-marketing alignment is vital to attaining company goals.
Tension between sales and marketing teams is quite common within a lot of companies. C-suite executives put their teams on the path to sales-marketing alignment through regular collaboration and sharing of departmental objectives.
“The more that sales and marketing are on the same page, the easier it will be to close your sales cycles. Sales cycles are much shorter when that [marketing] content is ready.”
– Jeremy Boudinet, Director of Marketing at Ambition
Marketing Myth #5: “I can just hire a summer intern to handle my marketing activities.”
Reality: Developing a strategic marketing plan requires the expertise of a seasoned professional.
Entrusting management of your marketing initiatives to an inexperienced or part-time employee could do more harm than good for your company. For instance, a novice will lack the industry experience required to help you gain an edge over your competitors. And interns or trainees will have no idea how to mount a successful SEO campaign for your company. Enlisting the help of a seasoned professional, on the other hand, can help take your company to the next level of success.
Marketing Myth #6: “If I just redesign my website, our leads will increase.”
Reality: While updating your website is important, that measure alone will not increase your leads.
Carrying out one single marketing task might have a modest impact on your lead volume. The key to increasing your lead volume is to develop a comprehensive, detailed marketing plan that includes website redesign and the following marketing activities:
- Ongoing analysis of your target market
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- A direct mail campaign if the majority of your target audience is in the United States
- Paid media advertising
- Word of mouth marketing
- Social media marketing
- Trade shows and other networking events
Marketing Myth #7: “My sales will increase if I focus on targeting millennials.”
Reality: The spending power of millennials is skyrocketing, but you cannot afford to ignore other generations.
Many of today’s marketing professionals have turned their attention to millennials in an effort to jumpstart their sales. In her article, “Why are marketers so obsessed with millennials?”, Kim Speier notes that the fixation on marketing to millennials has left members in other demographic groups wondering why they are being ignored.
Unless you offer products designed for people within a specific age range, you need to make sure that you do not ignore entire demographic groups. In fact, marketing to baby boomers and Generation X is a wise choice because the competition for their attention is less fierce than it is when targeting millennials. As outlined below by Immersion Active, baby boomers are an ideal group to target because they wield impressive spending power and they are currently being overlooked by marketing professionals:
“Baby Boomers spend the most across all product categories but are targeted by just 5-10 percent of marketing. There’s simply a lack of marketing, and that sometimes results in low awareness of cutting-edge solutions by many 50+ consumers.”
– Immersion Active
The Immersion Active team points out that baby boomers own 80% of the money in savings and loan associations and control 70% of the disposable income in the United States. Generation X is another powerful consumer group that is receiving relatively little attention from marketers. Members of Generation X offer great value to marketers because many of them are making purchasing decisions for themselves, their aging parents, and their growing children.
Marketing Myth #8: “Marketing plans are for large companies.”
Reality: A marketing plan is even more important for startups and small companies.
“Imagine building a house without a plan…You would never just lay bricks, put up siding and paint rooms, in random order. It’s the same way with content marketing. To be successful, you can’t just start producing content. You need a specific business objective. You need to deeply understand the needs of your target audience. And you must formulate a plan that will guide your actions.”
– Robert Wendt, Owner and President of Cultivate Communications
Marketing plans are important for businesses of all sizes. Developing a marketing strategy is especially important for budding businesses and companies that have not yet established themselves as a legitimate industry player. Before diving into your marketing plan, make sure that you have a keen understanding of your industry as well as your marketing budget.
Marketing Myth #9: “I cannot afford to devote resources to marketing right now.”
Reality: You cannot afford not to devote resources to marketing.
A solid marketing plan is the cornerstone of success for a growing business. Failure to make marketing a priority can hinder your company’s market traction and growth. In particular, the lack of a marketing plan can cause you to spend advertising money blindly and fail to complete critical tasks in a timely fashion. Even worse, the absence of a marketing plan can mar your industry reputation.
If you are unable to afford a full-time marketing team, consider outsourcing key marketing tasks to an industry expert who can provide marketing services on an as-needed basis. Outsourcing is especially beneficial for small businesses because you can pay for services as you use them while receiving the services of an experienced marketing professional.
Marketing Myth #10: “Once I put my marketing plan in place, I can sit back and relax.”
Reality: A stellar marketing initiative does not unfold in a vacuum – it is constantly evolving.
While you will likely employ some effective short-term strategies, you need a long-term marketing plan that features a five-year or ten-year strategy. You cannot let off the gas once you begin to achieve desired results. You need to continually reevaluate your plan and make modifications to reflect changing consumer trends.
The Bottom Line on Marketing Myths
As outlined above, there are no shortcuts to marketing stardom. Maintaining realistic expectations is vital to the long-term success of your marketing plan, as is a keen understanding of your target market. A fruitful marketing campaign is multi-faceted and constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of your business. The single best measure you can take to develop a five-star marketing initiative is to enlist the guidance of an industry expert. With the support of a seasoned marketing specialist, you can craft an award-winning marketing plan for your business.
Jeff Lizik is a serial entrepreneur and digital marketer. Jeff is the owner of RedShift, a stellar team of creatives and marketers in Pittsburgh, PA. He works every day to help businesses grow through digital marketing strategies and tactics.
You can contact Jeff now or sign up for the Weekly Redirect to have the most important and actionable marketing content delivered to your inbox each week.