11 Marketing Myths of 2011

December 12, 2011
Marketing myths 2011

As the year draws to a close, it’s time to take a look at the marketing myths that have reigned supreme—and annoyed me to no end—since January. This is by no means an exhaustive tally, so feel free to leave any of your additions to this list in the comments!

#1. Lots of followers = success

Having lots of Facebook fans or Twitter followers is awesome, but don’t fall into the trap of equating big numbers with success. You may have thousands followers, but what good are they to you if they don’t share your content, don’t interact with you, and never become customers? Use interaction and leads and customers generated to measure success.

#2. Great marketing works instantly

I see this connected most often with blogging and social media. Someone writes a few articles, shares them on Facebook and Twitter, and expects the cash to come rolling in. But it’s not that simple. Consider that Digett has been posting articles about three times per week for almost a year, and we’re still not exactly where we want to be. Marketing is a long-term effort, not a silver bullet.

#3. People don’t scroll

Has a marketing manager ever told you that your content needs to be shorter because it goes “below the fold”? Many marketers will tell you that having a long page is a turn-off to visitors — but more and more it’s looking like they’d be wrong. As early as 2006, heat mapping research conducted by ClickTale showed that 76% of users scrolled some, with 22% scrolling all the way to the bottom, no matter how long the page. If you follow proper design techniques—and remember that critical content should go at the top of the page anyway—asking visitors to scroll will not scare them away.

#4. Social media is free

The only thing that’s free about social media is registering for an account on the platform. Even if you decide against hiring a person (or company) to set up and manage your social media campaigns, you’ll still need to do so yourself. Learning the strategies and how to manage accounts and interact with people takes time, and that’s never free. Social media costs, but the rewards can be great.

#5. Any marketing is better than none

Not if it’s bad marketing. Remember Kenneth Cole’s tweet heard ‘round the world? Or Chapstick’s Facebook snafu? Better to not be those guys.

#6. Mobile is the same as regular Internet

People who view your website on their phone are going to behave differently than people viewing it on their computer. Mobile users need relevant information (like location, phone number, and business hours) quickly, while computer users have the luxury of larger screens and more time. Optimize your website for mobile phones. Not sure how? We can help you get started.

#7. SEO is a one-time effort

Search engine optimization requires initial and ongoing strategies. You may have optimized your website’s main pages a year ago, but are you still trying to rank for those keywords? Have you been optimizing your new pages and blog articles, and even your tweets and LinkedIn profile and status updates, since then? Optimize each piece of content you create before it ever makes it onto your website.

#8. Marketing is talking about yourself

People hate being advertised to, and no one cares about your product or service unless it can solve their problem. Spend less time promoting, and more time trying to answer customers’ questions and solve their problems.

#9. When times get tough, cut the marketing budget

It can be tempting in lean times to stop spending money on traditional advertising and other marketing efforts. But your marketing is what brings you new business, and cutting it is like opening a vein. Analyze your strategies and find out which ones are bringing in a good ROI; don’t cut the people and strategies that are bringing you business.

#10. Online marketing is for kids

Before you start ranting about technology and these “these kids today,” take note that nearly 16 million of Facebook’s users are 55+, and that almost 15% of baby boomers have a smartphone. With very few exceptions, your target market, no matter their age, is on the Internet.

#11. Marketing is an exact science

This one is the hardest for me to accept; I need structure, and that doesn’t happen often in marketing. What works for one company doesn’t work for everyone, and sometimes the results of campaigns and strategies aren’t what you expected. Marketing is about constantly trying new things, and not being afraid to fail.

Here’s to a myth-free 2012!

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[Image: Alan Stanton]