At the outset, and with every best intention, even with the right tools in hand, when we embark on our marketing journey it is worth pointing out that there are many marketing myths and common misconceptions that exist around exactly what marketing is all about and what it can do for your business. One thing is for sure though, expert direction in marketing definitely constitutes sound leadership in running a successful business.
Don’t fall under the spell that threatens to cast negative aspersions over your marketing strategy – myths are just that, myths….
Don’t fall under the spell that threatens to cast negative aspersions over your marketing strategy and don’t believe everything you hear. Myths are just that, myths; especially when it comes to marketing. Marketing is not rocket science, yet, as a management and leadership discipline it does rely on many different forces working together cohesively to ensure that your brand stands out and gets the full attention that it deserves. So, we took up our magic marketing wand, waved it through the mist of misconceptions, and investigated some of the more common myths around marketing and how they can be dispelled.
Myth number 1: Does size really matter? Small business or large corporation?
Irrespective of whether you are a one man show or a team of ten people, a marketing plan is an essential tool to have in your arsenal from the outset. Your marketing plan is your calling card. See it is a blueprint, a prerequisite tool that you take to market that, at a glance, provides an outline of your target audience, an introduction to your brand, your messaging framework, what channels you use to reach your target audience and the tactics that you employ to get your message out there. Don’t be hoodwinked into believing that having a dedicated marketing plan on the table is exclusive to medium to large enterprises, in this case, companies of every size matter and failure to develop an integrated, cohesive marketing plan will cripple your marketing efforts and result in a complete waste of money.
Myth number 2: I am not interested in social media and it is not going to make any difference to my business
Wrong! The reality of today’s world is that, whether we like it or not, the world has gone digital, even when it comes to human relationships in business. As a result social media is here to stay and the conversations that take place in your sphere of business are going to happen… with or without you. So, don’t waste a second, take control and make the effort to participate in these conversations. Become visible and actively involve yourself in the process, since no matter what business you are in you still need to deliver content and create a digital presence. The key is to market effectively in a digital world using digital platforms to market offline events.
Myth number 3: When the going gets tough – they tell marketing to get going…
For any organisation, there are times when the going really does get tough and when this happens many companies make the mistake of taking a large cut out of their marketing budget thinking that the funds could be better spent elsewhere. This knee jerk reaction, rather than saving money in the long run often has detrimental effects on the business. In most cases, maintaining an effective marketing drive during these times, even if it is a relatively small financial investment with a larger focus on non-paid for platforms, will see the company through to better times ahead. Here is where it becomes necessary to exploit the numerous less expensive forms of marketing available on the web and take full advantage of social media opportunities. What needs to be kept in mind is that once there is a decline in engaging with your audience, not only does your audience wonder where you disappeared to, but, so do your competitors. Once your competitors realise that something is wrong, they will not hesitate to exploit the opportunity to take your place.
Myth number 4: If it’s not perfect, it’s not good enough
Like many companies who have held back in the face of ‘if it’s not perfect, it’s not good enough’, if you get stuck in the rut of waiting for your product or service to be perfect before you start marketing your business you could find yourself missing out on valuable opportunities to obtain constructive feedback on what could be done to make improvements. So, put it out there, even if you think there are flaws. You will never know until you try.
Myth number 5: my business is going relatively well, why do I need to market?
When you have a steady flow of customers don’t make the mistake of putting your marketing efforts on hold. Two distinct problems ensue — firstly, you are not getting anything into the pipeline and secondly, when the flow of customers begins to slack off or cease altogether, you take desperate marketing measures. No one wants to deal with desperate people. Remain consistent in your marketing madness!
Myth number 6: Measuring marketing is like trying to estimate the speed of a flowing river
In this day and age almost all marketing activities can be measured, especially where online or digital marketing is concerned. The trouble is that in most cases people don’t actually know what it is that they would like to measure which puts a lid on things at the outset. The trick is to define goals and identify what measurement tools are in place that can help to achieve an accurate view of where you are at. A good place to start where online marketing is concerned is to test the waters with for example, Google Analytics or Facebook. Daily statistics are immediately evident which provide an ideal platform for regular review. Once you can monitor and evaluate such trends, the task becomes that much easier.
Helen Fenton: Senior Analyst, Business Optimization Training Institute, Helen.firstname.lastname@example.org www.boti.co.za