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From the Trenches

5 Marketing Misconceptions That Need to Change

Will Davis | July 14, 2009

When I explain our business to people, I immediately get hit with questions.  And I love questions — it shows people are paying attention, interested and engaged (or at least somewhat good at pretending to be).  So questions are always good.  Sometimes what I hear, though, is somebody really looking for us to confirm a myth for them.  A few of those questions seem to come up time and time again and are easy to spot.  Here my Top 5 right now:

1). Why should we be on Twitter?  I don’t care what you had for breakfast.

Well sure, I don’t care what I had for breakfast either, or probably what anyone else had for breakfast.  Just like any other communications or content channel, there are folks using this channel well and some using it not so well.  We have already published a few posts on good ways you might use Twitter already (Read more on Measuring Social Media ROI, and on Five Ways Professional Services Firms Can Use Twitter) so I won’t go into detail here again.  But, just keep in mind most of the same people who think Twitter is about telling people what you had for breakfast thought bloggers were just a bunch of people living in their parents’ basement and would never have an impact.

2). I should just put my whole marketing budget in PPC search, that will be my most effective marketing right?

Maybe – but it really depends on your marketing objectives, industry, goals, products, services, and everything else.  PPC Search is great for many businesses, but it usually isn’t a magic bullet, but rather part of an overall plan.  Often we find PPC is a testing ground for a more informed Search Engine Optimization (Read more on The Obvious Yet Underused Way to Build an SEO Program)  and that we run the two together, or that PPC search doesn’t meet your goals.  My advice – Never put all your eggs in one basket.

3). Why should we have our marketing team do anything with Social Media?  We have an intern here that can get us up to speed.

I seem to be hearing this one more and more often now.  While your intern may be ahead of you on the social media front because he/she has more friends than you do on Facebook, that doesn’t mean they are the right person to handle strategic marketing.  Having extra help in managing your online presences is great – indeed it can be time intensive — but make sure you have the right strategy and a plan in place that you can then engage people (including maybe the intern) in helping to execute.  And, like with anything else – Make sure you bring in the right help to generate that plan if you aren’t equipped to do it yourself.

4). Why would I use landing pages for our campaigns?  That’s why my website has a home page.

We’ve talked about when you should use a landing page vs. a microsite in more detail before (read Microsite or Landing Page?), but it’s important to understand a landing page can speak to a specific audience and ask for specific actions, while your home page by nature has to be much more general in nature.  Utilize landing pages for campaigns when appropriate rather than pushing everything to the home page and your conversion rates will increase.

5). I just need to reach a bunch of people, can’t I just buy an email list?

(Preparing for backlash from list brokers…awaiting angry emails…OK, let’s go)

In all my experience I have never seen a client have great success with a “bought” or “rented” list.  There are opportunities to engage folks via email, but where I have seen success is in mailing to those that have truly, clearly opted in to hear from you, and from placements in relevant emails that follow this same principle.  Your results may vary, but if nothing else you are tempting fate on a huge spam backlash, blacklisting, etc.  I think you are most likely to be successful with many other strategies and tactics before this one.

What are the misconceptions you run into most frequently?  Feel free to submit your own in our comments section below.

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