Marketing Myths Debunked

As sophisticated as our business models get, there are certain things we still can’t wrap our heads around. Marketing is one of them. In fact, it could be argued that marketing is one of the most easily misunderstood areas of business. And as something of a business ‘grey area,’ marketing has developed a few urban myths of its own.

I would like to debunk some of them, starting with the one I hear more often than I hear my own name…

Email marketing is dead

‘Email marketing is dead’ is like the Big Foot of marketing myths – people talk about it, but nobody has seen it. In fact, contrary to Big Foot and other urban legends, email marketing is proving its skeptics wrong.

Recent research showed that 73% of marketers believe that email marketing is key to their business’ growth. Further, 59% of marketers plan to increase their email marketing budgets in 2015.

Trends are indicating that if anything, email is on the rise. And of course it is!

Email marketing is relatively cheaper and more reliable compared to other channels of communication. In addition, your email efforts can be tracked and the ROI easily calculated. On top of that, email complements your other marketing activities such as social media efforts and SEO strategies.

Did you know that email and SEO are the ultimate (bread) winners when it comes to bringing in more business and delivering ROI? How, you may ask? It goes a little bit like this: first you attract people to your site using SEO, then use email to follow up.

So if you are in it to win it this year, I suggest that you invest (heavily) in email marketing. Here is a guide on how to create your first email marketing campaign in 1 hour.

Marketing and advertising are the same

To hell, they are. Advertising means buying space or time to relay a message. Marketing, on the other hand, consists of the systematic planning, implementation, and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers and build a mutually beneficial relationship.

Advertising is part of marketing, but marketing itself incorporates a lot more than just advertising.

The best way to describe it is to think of marketing as a pie; inside that pie you have slices of advertising, market research, media planning, public relations, product research and development, pricing, distribution, customer support, sales strategy, and PR, to name a few. Advertising is only one piece of the marketing strategy pie. All of these elements must not only work independently, but also together towards the bigger goal if your marketing efforts are to be successful.

So no, marketing and advertising are not quite the same thing.

Salespeople aren’t really part of the marketing process

It took product developers years to learn that they’d save tons of time and money if they consulted with their colleagues in manufacturing rather than just throwing new designs over the wall. The two functions realized it wasn’t enough to just coexist – not when they could work together to create value for the company and for customers. You’d think that marketing and sales teams, whose work is also deeply interconnected, would have discovered something similar.

Notoriously, there has always been something of a clash between marketing people and sales people. But there is proof that this lack of alignment ends up hurting business performance, accounting for an estimated $1 trillion in missed business opportunities each year. Yes, there is a difference between selling and marketing a product or service, but these departments need to see eye-to-eye on their strategies and goals in order to drive sales. As the slogan goes, we are stronger and better together!

It is time this myth got shattered and the truth exposed – without marketing, you would not have prospects or leads to follow up with, but yet without a good sales technique and strategy, your closing rate may depress you. Marketing and sales should work simultaneously, rather than being departments that don’t even speak to each other.

Here is an excellent post that will help you align the two processes for maximum efficiency.

Facebook is the only useful social tool

It’s surprising that this particular myth is still circulating around the digital space. Sure, Facebook is the largest social media network in the world, but there is a whole world of opportunities beyond Facebook!

Sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are attracting hundreds of new users each day, so these networks should not be discounted. LinkedIn, for example, is swiftly evolving into the leading social network for professionals. It is a great tool for finding the key people in an organization, which is particularly handy if you are in sales or the B2B sphere, as well as marketing your company or personal goals. It is also a way to foster relationships with businesses and potential (and current) clients.

Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for those of you whose businesses offer a visually attractive product or service. For example, check out IKEA’s Instagram or McDonald’s Pinterest board. There are many useful and creative ways to use these social networks. Don’t limit yourself!

Anyone can write content

Have you ever seen the animated film Ratatouille? Well, if you haven’t, go and watch it pronto; and if you have, you will know the following quote: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”

Similarly, not everyone in your company can (or should) write content, but a good content writer can come from anywhere within your business – most often marketing, but sometimes from sales or customer support.

While everyone may have valid and important knowledge to share, not everyone is successful in expressing those points in writing. Additionally, content marketing requires a very specific skill set. Great content writers not only fully immerse themselves in the subject matter with exhaustive research and investigation, they also need journalistic style and a knack for making complex subjects simple. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either. A good content marketer should have a feel for the type of content and style of writing his or her readers prefer.

That being said, several departments in the business should have a go at creating or (at least) contributing to the content strategy. From the design and product development teams to the marketing and sales departments, everyone should play a part in helping to shape your content strategy—even if they’re not doing the writing.

These are the 5 most circulated marketing myths. Do you think any of the above myths are actually true? Let me know in the comments.