If you’re a small business owner searching for the key to instant marketing success, prepare yourself for disappointment. In today’s competitive marketing landscape, there’s no shortcut or quick fix for lackluster marketing. Marketing excellence requires long-term, sustained dedication and expertise in a variety of subspecialties. That’s why I’m sharing ten marketing myths that prove there is no silver bullet to marketing success.
Myth #1: “One marketing specialist is all I need.”
Reality: One person will not be able to master all of your company’s marketing needs.
Remaining competitive in today’s cut-throat 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’s impossible for one person to possess expertise in every one.
“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
To best optimize your resources, you’ll 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.
Myth #2: “If I launch my marketing plan today, I will see results by next week.”
Reality: Achieving marketing results takes time. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.
According to Neil Patel, co-founder of Neil Patel Digital, it can take a couple days to change your whole website and increase your digital footprint, but it can take three months before you begin to see the results. 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 don’t become frustrated when you don’t see immediate results. There are no guarantees in marketing. However, you can bolster your odds of positive results through long-term dedication to your marketing plan.
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.
Myth #4: “Sales and marketing should be treated separately.”
Reality: Sales-marketing alignment is vital to attaining company goals.
One of the biggest marketing myths is the division of sales and marketing. Tension between sales and marketing teams is all too common within companies, and the two just don’t know how to work together. 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
Myth #5: “I can hire an intern to handle my marketing activities.”
Reality: Developing a strategic marketing plan requires 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.
Myth #6: “If I just redesign my website, leads will increase.”
Reality: While updating your website is important, that alone won’t increase your leads.
Another of the biggest marketing myths I see is that a new site design is a cure-all. Carrying out a website update might have a modest impact on your lead volume, but just like SEO, it takes time. The key to increasing your lead volume is to develop a comprehensive, detailed marketing plan that includes website redesign and other marketing activities:
- Ongoing analysis of your target market
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- A direct mail campaign for a U.S.-based target audience
- Paid media advertising
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Social media marketing
- Trade shows and networking events
Myth #7: “My sales will increase if I focus on targeting millennials.”
Reality: The spending power of millennials is growing, but you can’t afford to ignore other generations.
Many of today’s marketing professionals have turned their attention to millennials in an effort to jumpstart 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 feeling ignored.
Unless you offer products designed for people within a specific age range, make sure you don’t 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 Immersion Active puts it, baby boomers are ideal targets 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 percent of the money in savings and loan associations and control 70 percent of the disposable income in the United States. Generation X also receives relatively little attention from marketers. Gen Xers offer great value to marketers because many of them are making purchasing decisions for themselves, their aging parents and their growing children.
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 haven’t yet established themselves as legitimate industry players. Before diving into your marketing plan, make sure you have a keen understanding of your industry as well as your marketing budget.
Myth #9: “I can’t afford to devote resources to marketing right now.”
Reality: You can’t 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’re 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 and reap the benefits of an experienced marketing professional.
Myth #10: “Once I put my marketing plan in place, I can relax.”
Reality: A stellar marketing initiative does not unfold in a vacuum – it is constantly evolving.
While you’ll likely employ some effective short-term strategies, you need a long-term marketing plan with a five- or ten-year strategy. You can’t let off the gas once you begin to see results. You need to continually reevaluate your plan and make modifications to reflect changing consumer trends.
Bust Marketing Myths by Hiring an Expert
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 best measure to develop a five-star marketing initiative is to enlist an industry expert. With the support of a seasoned marketing specialist, you’re sure to 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.