Marketing assumptions and misconceptions

As part of a Twitter chat I did with Citrix* GoToWebinar, I was asked a series of questions about marketing today. One of the ones that stood out to me was:

This is an important question, because too many marketers are working with outdated misconceptions about what still works in marketing. Here are just a few examples:

On-Page SEO: Very few things you do on your website matter when it comes to ranking well. Things like keyword density (beyond what would be normal speech), bolded keywords and phrases, H1/H2 tags, etc. matter very little these days. What does matter? Google and other search engines have continued to weed out technical tricks, so what’s left is relevant, fresh, diverse content that’s mobile-friendly and popular with audiences.

Email Marketing: The idea that you can just send haphazard emails and still achieve any kind of results is long past. Consumers are now so overwhelmed from messaging in every direction that mediocre or bad emails never get opened. For far too many marketing programs, email marketing is a bolt-on, an accessory, an afterthought rather than a core part of strategy. If you don’t intend to commit significant content creation resources to email marketing, it’s better not to do it at all.

Social Media: Build it and they will come has been the unspoken mantra of too many marketers, but that ship has long since sailed. Social media today resembles broadcast media far more than a virtual water cooler, but marketers who still treat social like another checkbox are going to see what few returns they get vanish.

However, the biggest misconception that marketers still operate under by far?


The myth of disproportionate results.

This marketing legend is the bane of every data-driven marketer in the world, the legend of the marketing fairy who blesses your average efforts with results that vastly exceed what you put into them. Call it “going viral” or “the ultimate growth hack” or whatever variant you like, the disproportionate results fantasy remains strong in the minds of many marketers. Chasing it instead of investing in your marketing and setting expectations that scale with what you can put into it is a guaranteed path to frustration and unhappiness.

There is no magic wand, no easy button. The only surefire way to see increasing results is to invest increasing resources – time, money, people – in your marketing.

Thanks to the Citrix GoToWebinar team for the great questions!

Disclosure: Citrix is a client of my employer, SHIFT Communications. While I was not compensated directly for my participation or given any in-kind benefit, I receive indirect financial benefit through my employment.

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Life lesson from a salt shaker

Salt shaker

When I sat down to breakfast one morning in Honolulu, I noticed that the salt shaker’s cap was very loose.

Ah, I thought to myself, something in the world that needs a bit of fixing; I put the cap on correctly. A minor triumph to start the day, restoring order to the universe.

A moment later, I tried to use the salt shaker and nothing came out.

It turns out that Honolulu’s morning air was so dense and humid that all the salt stuck together. The previous occupants of the table (or perhaps the wait staff) had loosened it so that you could pour a clump out and sprinkle the salt with your fingers.

This is a small life lesson on the power of delusion, of seeing the world how you want it to be instead of seeing it how it really is. I saw the salt shaker as “wrong” when in fact it was perfectly right for the environment it was in. I wanted things to be different than they were instead of understanding why the world worked in that way in the first place.

It’s a small, painless cautionary tale for everything in life: see the world the way it is, not the way you want it to be. Once you do, you might understand the world a little bit better. I certainly did.

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Simple travel tip: USPS flat rate large box

When I travel on business, I occasionally do pick up things from my travels, such as interesting trade show giveaways, the random souvenir, client materials, etc. After a few trips, you learn to minimize what you pack and travel with. Going on the road is easy – you have total control over what you pack. Coming back after travel? You can get some interesting wildcards in your luggage.

Consider then, what it costs to bring some extra stuff back:


Depending on what you’re carrying, the checked baggage fee may cost more than the items are worth.

For less stress, less heavy lifting, and less money, this has become my new best friend:


The USPS charges $18 for half a cubic foot of space. Granted, that’s not as large as a checked bag, but I don’t have to carry it with me. On my most recent business trip, I had a half cubic foot of extra stuff, and this did the trick. $18 later, my luggage was about 15 pounds lighter and I didn’t have to worry about fitting into an overhead compartment nearly as much. In fact, for future trips, I may be able to even ship basics and avoid the larger bag entirely.

Next time you’ve got some business travel and a little more cargo than you anticipated, don’t forget about the $18 box from the Post Office.

Disclosure: I was not compensated or asked to write about the Post Office’s large box.

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