Trick or Treat? Marketing Myths Busted

When it comes to marketing your business, there’s a lot of contradictory information out there, and there’s a lot of information that is downright false. To celebrate Halloween, we’re taking a look at some common marketing myths (Tricks) and giving you the information (Treats) you need to correct the record.
Trick: I already have reliable clients/customers, so I don’t need to do marketing
Very few businesses would ever say that they don’t want more growth and new customers. But a more common belief among business owners is that customer loyalty and word-of-mouth is all they need to sustain their business and keep it growing. The temptation is understandable. If you don’t need to market, you could probably save a lot of time and money or invest those resources elsewhere in your business.
Treat: Marketing helps you keep the clients/customers you have and make new ones
Have you seen a Coca-Cola advertisement on TV, in print, or on a billboard and wondered why one of the world’s most recognizable brands bothers to market its product when everyone already knows and loves it? You should take that as a lesson: no matter how established your brand, no matter how loyal your clients or customers, you will always need to market.
Why does Coke market? For one thing, there’s Pepsi. If you don’t market, you can be sure that your competition will, and that puts you at risk of losing existing business and missing out on new customers. Why else does Coke market? Because consumers are dynamic: tastes change, values shift, concerns about dieting and sugar wax and wane. Marketing is the best way to make sure you keep track of changes in markets, consumer behavior, the public’s perception of your company and its products.
Chances are, your company is smaller and your brand less iconic than Coca-Cola. If they can find the value in marketing, then so can you! That said, it’s not true that any marketing is better than no marketing. You have to be strategic, disciplined, and goal-oriented about your marketing or your marketing campaign is sure to be sloppy, exhausting, and more expensive than its worth.
Trick: Social media takes more time and effort than it’s worth
While many businesses are excited about using social media, many others question its value. Sure, they say, everyone uses social media, but that doesn’t mean people are actually motivated to buy products or services because of what they see when they’re browsing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For so much work to keep social media accounts up to date, some people see little reward.
Treat: Social Media can pay off with the right strategy
Yes, social media can be a lot of work. And, no, there is no guarantee that simply posting on social media every now and then will drive customers to your website or business location. But if you take the time to develop a thoughtful social media strategy, use analytics to measure the results, and adjust based on what you see, you can count on social media paying off in the long run.
Why? Well, Experian reports that 27% of all user-time on the internet is spent on social media. You have to meet your customers where they are, and your customers are using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. According to an analysis by Hubspot, social media produces double the leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, and pay-per-click marketing. And those leads turn into results. Hubspot also reports that the lead conversion rate is 13% higher on social media than the average lead conversion rate.
Trick: Print is dead
While some business owners question the value of social media, some digital true believers assert that print is totally obsolete. They assert that print media, such as direct mail, ads printed in newspapers and magazines, brochures, and flyers, is expensive, bulky, and inefficient. Most importantly, people believe that consumers don’t bother to read anymore. If all of this was true, print marketing would be a huge waste of money.
Treat: A full suite of marketing materials, including print, pays off
Thankfully, this isn’t true, and incorporating some print material into your marketing strategy is still a productive and wise marketing decision. The key here is trust. Print media is the most trusted type of marketing material. Consumers are skeptical of what they read online and encounter on social media, but 56% of consumers indicate that they are more likely to trust print advertisements than any other sources. And in Oct., 2016, 82% of consumers said that they trust advertising that they see in print, more than any other medium.
Print is also convenient and familiar for your consumer, which leads to more reliable engagement, both in terms of frequency and depth. 70% of Americans think that direct mail is more personal than other ads. And 98% of consumers say that they open all of their mail the same day that it arrives. Think about how often you ignore emails, in comparison. All told, 40% of consumers who receive direct mail or view print advertising will look at the company’s website, and the return on investment on investment for print marketing is 13 to 1.
Trick: If you build it, they will come
Many business owners believe that if they take the first step of building a marketing presence—making a website, putting up a sign, making a Facebook page, running an advertisement one time—that everything else will fall into place, new customers will come flocking, and your product or one-off marketing ploy will instantly go viral. Often, this becomes an excuse for writing off marketing altogether, because business owners start a marketing campaign, grow frustrated when it doesn’t seem to bear fruit, and then let the whole marketing field lie fallow.
Treat: Marketing Needs to be Fresh, Frequent, and Flexible
In reality, marketing takes maintenance, and most successful marketing strategies are about long-term payoff, not quick results. We all know that get rich quick schemes don’t work in our personal lives. The same is true of marketing schemes that claim to help businesses get rich quick. And as tantalizing as the hope of going viral may seem, depending on going viral is not a viable business plan.
The best marketing campaigns are consistent and persistent. They create a unified sense of product and brand identity that builds and sustains over time, and they keep grinding even when the short-term results might seem disappointing. At the same time, they are flexible enough to identify when something simply isn’t working and a new approach is needed. Then, they can adjust the strategy without abandoning the campaign entirely. The key is to allow your marketing campaign to bend as the need arises, but never to break entirely.
Successful marketing campaigns are also frequent, both in the sense that new marketing materials are produced often enough to hold a consumer’s attention, but also in the sense that they are produced at regular intervals, which helps you remain disciplined as a marketer or business owner and helps your consumer audience know when they should look for new appeals materials from your company. Ultimately, this helps a marketing campaign feel fresh: if materials are produced infrequently, sporadically, or not at all, they might otherwise feel stale.
Trick: More is Always Better
We all have that friend on social media who posts waaaay too much. The same is true of some businesses, who believe that the best approach to marketing is to do as much marketing as they possibly can. This might mean that they update the business’s Facebook page a million times every day. Or, maybe they send out email blast after email blast all day long. Or, they might just not be planning their ads well, so they become plastered on the radio waves, TV, or driving down the street. The theory here is that a super-saturated marketing campaign can become planted in the consumer’s mind, and the more you market, the more likely this is to happen.
Treat: Everything in Moderation
Here’s a quick question: what do you do with that friend on social media that posts way too much? If you’re like me, then you probably hide their posts, or you might just unfriend them or block them altogether if you’re not close to them. Yes, it is true that a little bit of repetition and saturation is smart marketing strategy. Remember, I said up above that frequency is an important aspect of smart marketing strategy.
But the key is moderation, finding the right balance between marketing too rarely and marketing too much. When a sponge becomes supersaturated, it has reached the point when it has absorbed as much water as it possibly can. Pour on any more water, and it will bounce right off the sponge and down the drain. When it comes to super-saturated consumers, any more marketing is just wasted money. Part of having a marketing campaign that feels fresh is making sure that your audience doesn’t grow tired and weary of your appeals. Otherwise, they might start tuning you out altogether. When you allocate resources inefficiently, you risk missing out on new customers by neglecting them and alienating existing customers by abusing them. Find the right balance, and spread your marketing appeals around enough to find balance.
Chances are, you didn’t get into your business to do marketing (unless your business is marketing!) Instead, you had a great idea or a unique talent or a real passion, and you found a way to make money with it. But, like it or not, marketing is part of what it takes to run a successful business. Thankfully, we’re here to help! If you feel like marketing is taking you away from time that could be spent running other aspects of your business, or if you’re finding that the demands of marketing are too great or too confusing, then contact Headline Marketing and Communications! We’re here to help with every aspect of your business’s marketing and communications strategy, so you can back to doing what got you into business in the first place. Call 814-946-7499 or send us and email at

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