5 Marketing Myths

Myths and misconceptions are abound in the marketing blogosphere. Sometimes I can’t help but think that we have a pseudo religion about the way the industry is.

In actuality, a small group of blogging voices laud these best practices and ideas based on their experiences or beliefs, which for all intents and purposes are valid. From a research perspective this data represents a small sampling, in turn creating myths about marketing that don’t apply to the whole profession. Here are five common marketing myths I hear about frequently.

1) Analytics Make Your Marketing Program Succeed

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We are in the midst of a data revolution with marketers racing to extrapolate reports into meaningful outcomes. Marketers promise that the use of analytics will deliver the ROI they are looking for. Let’s not get too excited here. Analytics will inform marketing toward the best way to encourage desired customer behaviors. They will not make a brand better at marketing (myth revealed).

In the words of Kevin Spacey (hat tip to to Jay Acunzo and his excellent Content Marketing World speech), “It’s the creative, stupid.”

Creative alone is wild and unpredictable. Data alone informs direction, but can’t stop crap communicators from producing, well, more crap. Together, informed creative is flat out dangerous.

2) Visual Media Is a Snack

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Write a great blog post and publish it with no visual media assets at all. Publish a great photo (which takes as much time to shoot and produce, by the way), video or infographic without words. Post both on your social networks and see which does better for engagement, shares and inbound traffic.

Look, you need words with visual assets for keywords and search ranking, but don’t kid yourself. One medium is the meal today, the other is the side dish. Snackable media is not just a marketing myth, it is also a misnomer.

3) Blogs Are the First Tactic of the Content Marketing Future

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Blogs are not the first go tactic in the content marketing future. They are the past and the present, but in reality text based media is not well consumed on small devices. And smartphones and other portable media are becoming the primary Internet access device for most Americans.

I wonder what its going to be like reading this blog post on an Apple Watch. Maybe Siri will read it to me. Or she’ll serve me a “snack” instead.

A study Tenacity5 managed on behalf of Vocus last June with Market Connections revealed as much. Of all the distribution channels noted by marketing survey respondents, blogging was considered the least effective. Only 35 percent rated it as a 4 or 5 (highest). One-quarter of respondents didn’t even use a blog.

It’s almost 2015 folks, this isn’t about a new technology becoming widely adopted anymore. Brands would rather invest elsewhere.

To be clear, blogs in their conventional form have a role on the web site for customers and stakeholders interested in a brand’s topics. This is especially useful if the blog posts help resolve the same problems the brand is addressing with its other offerings (hat tip #2 to Jay Acunzo). Every blog post has an opportunity to delight, brand and empower people to opt into your total customer experience. But you better have a bigger strategy.

4) Video Is Easy and Cheap

No, video is not easy and cheap, and if you shoot it on your iPhone or camera you will produce low-quality crap. Easy video is a huge marketing myth.

If you want quality videos, you invariably have to invest in a pro cameraperson/producer or not more. There is a reason why 71 percent of CMO Council survey respondents are predicting video spending will increase by 5 percent or more.

5) CMOs Trust Influencers

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Well, this one kind of hurts. I thought my online profile was everything. That was until I read a recent SiriusDecisions report that showed CMOs trust marketing bloggers and influencers the least of all sources when it comes to making purchase decisions.

Then I kind of thought about most of my conversations about influencers with CMOs and I got it. They just want influencers to feel important so they will say good things about them. Duh. The marketing myth is that CMOs actually believe in what influencers are saying (unless it is conveniently favorable to them). Instead they think bloggers are trying to sell them consulting services or something.

Disappointing. Perhaps I’ll become a reality TV star instead ;) Or a photographer.

What do you think? Have any marketing myths to add to the list?

14 Replies to “5 Marketing Myths”

  1. You are spot on with these 5 myths. I believe that knowing about the customer is most important thing to market a brand/service/product. Analytics is a a tool but the question is that does it really interprets what a customer wants? No. At Cloudways, my main focus in my daily activity is to read the live chat transcripts. I read 50 chat transcripts a day in the morning and it gives me a great idea about what customer needs and where we need to improve. I steer my content and marketing strategy through this feedback. We are not only able to achieve our goals but we are making a 100% leap every single month in the profits.

    1. Nothing like listening backed with data to make the case. Love that you pay attention to your customers this way. Jobs used to do the same thing, listen in on customer service calls. Smart.

    2. “The fundamental things apply as time goes by.” Like knowing the customer better than they know themselves. So much marketing jibber-jabber strays from that fundamental point. Awesome!

  2. Right on all counts, Geoff. Specific to number 3: The myth only exists because it used to be true. But then the market became saturated with an excess of bad articles (blogs or pubs), leaving fewer and fewer people to click on the links and waste their time for banal content. Unless an organization is willing to work toward being in that top 35 percent (as mentioned in the Vocus study), blogs aren’t a priority (even if they are and will remain important for other reasons).

    1. Yeah, and really you need quality AND frequency for it to work well, in my opinion. One without the other is not enough, which creates a tactic for those who can and will invest the necessary resources to deliver day in day out throughout the year.

      1. I agree. Quality and quantity/frequency is WORK… and that means time, and even my son when he was five said, “Time is money!” (But he didn’t hear it from me. He heard it from Sponge Bob… but I digress.) So for independents like us (at least for me), this is our marketing budget… our time.
        And we all know that some entities spend their marketing budgets well, and others not so well. Ergo, to get the most out of our budget, the content’s gotta’ be good, and the frequency needs to keep us fresh and relevant.
        (I hope I don’t sound wanna-be prophetic here. As I write, I learn, so thanks, Geoff and Rich, for a great thread!)

  3. Geoff, you touched on themes small businesses must deal with every day. Standing out in this noisy world is tough for many. They don’t have the technical expertise in house, are stumbling when it comes to writing and publishing “smart” content that informs and engages and video for many is an after thought, if at all. I think we are truly living in the “dog years” economy: everything is compressed in a 7-1 ratio. I loved this post and the inherent tactical marketing strategy. Thanks!!!

    1. I really think the resource issue is a big one. I’d rather see a smaller brand do one or two things well than try to hit the tic tac toe Internet marketing formula.

  4. Number 5 is insightful and, at the same time, to be expected. It’s human nature. The biggest factor in a sale is “trust.”
    It’s my belief that C-Levels don’t want to hire bloggers or even thought leaders. They want someone who can help them solve a problem or exploit and opportunity.
    Blogging is marketing. Thought leadership might get me in the door, and it can start a conversation, and that’s great! First mission accomplished!
    But what ultimately prevails is a truly customer-focused sales process. (Oh, how old-fashioned, right? But the fundamentals remain!)
    I’m finding this to be powerful: “Keep it simple in marketing; go deeper in sales.” Spark interest, sure, then be professional in your first face-to-face. Diagnose long before you prescribe, and try to craft the ultimate solution together!
    Stimulate interest, engage and explore, build trust.
    Thanks for this perspective, Geoff, to spark the above thoughts!

    1. Yeah, and I like it when blogs support that overarching mission, helping customers do better at the problem you are trying to resolve for them. Salient points here, Jack. Thank you for adding them.

  5. Geoff, can’t miss the irony that you are announcing blogging’s demise in a blog post. ;) // I wonder about those mobile stats. I read that much traffic counted as mobile is not the smart phone used on the subway — but the iPad viewed while sitting on the sofa. If that is the case, the trend is much less pronounced. // Which augments your point #1. Not only is data not sufficient on its own to drive results, sometimes data is not even saying what we think it is.

    1. Mobility is where it is at. The tablet dominates nigh time browsing, and the big loser is the desktop. Tablets are easier on the eye for text than mobile phones, but its not the same.

      On blogging… Well, I did say “To be clear, blogs in their conventional form have a role on the web site for customers and stakeholders interested in a brand’s topics.” I just don’t see them as the primary content product for most brands anymore, rather a supporting role.

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