I was asked recently:
“What are some of the most prevalent marketing misconceptions you’ve run into?”
This is an important question, because too many marketers are working with outdated misconceptions about what still works in marketing.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 add-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. Plan instead to create content like a broadcaster and pay to promote it.
However, the biggest misconception that marketers still operate under by far?
The misconception of disproportionate results.
This marketing legend is the bane of every data-driven marketer in the world. It’s 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.
Why? It’s partly human nature to want a fast, easy solution, especially when we see anomalies that do (for a short time) achieve disproportionate results. Vendors, too, reinforce the disproportionate results as part of their sales pitches. They promise much more than many of them deliver.
Chasing it instead of investing in your marketing and setting expectations that scale with what you invest 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, knowledge, effort – in your marketing.
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