Grow Your Business: 25 Marketing Misconceptions to Break Free From

With so many ways to promote a product or service with marketing, it’s not always clear cut which marketing channel you should use.

There’s also the question on whether the marketing works.

It’s understandable why you might be apprehensive with marketing. You might have been at a company where the marketing didn't work (or wasn't implemented properly). Not seeing results in the past can affect your marketing in the present.

With that said, I've compiled a list of 25 common misconceptions about marketing to break from free, so you can grow your business.


1. “Our Business is Small. We Don’t Need to Do Marketing”

2. “We Are Email Blasting — That’s Our Marketing Plan”

3. “We Have an Email List”

4. “I Know Everything About My Customers”

5. “I Don’t Need to Market to My Existing Customers”

6. “We Don’t Have the Time or Money to do Marketing”

7. “No One Uses Social Media”

8. “Marketing Gives Quick Results”

9. “We Don’t Need to Do Marketing Often (aka, we don’t need consistency)”

10. “Great Products Don’t Need to Be Marketed”

11. “Lowering Prices Leads to an Increase in Sales”

12. “Marketing’s Job is Only to Generate New Leads”

13. “Old-School Marketing Tactics Are Dead”

14. “Marketing is Separate from Sales”

15. “It's Marketing’s Responsibility to Bring in Leads, Sales will close the Deals”

16. “If I Hire a Marketing Professional Today, My Company Has to Increase Our Sales Soon”

17. “Personalize Your Marketing Content”

18. “Outsourcing Marketing Will Make Life Easier and Cut Costs”

19. “I Read a Few Marketing Articles I know...”

20. “Grammar Will Always Matter”

21. “The More People Involved in Your Marketing, The Better”

22. “Sales Are Down, We Need to Cut Our Marketing Budget”

23. “I Can’t Afford Marketing”

24. “My Marketing Professional Doesn’t Need to Know About The Company’s Financials”

25. “I’m the CEO/President/(C-Level Title), I Need To Do Everything Including Marketing”

1. “Our Business is Small. We Don’t Need to Do Marketing”

Do you want to grow your business?

Do you want to stay in business?

If you answered yes to either of these, keep reading.

How do you look for something you want to buy it? What about future purchases? How do you do compare products?

If your answer is “I look online,” that’s what I suspected.

Most people with Internet access look things up at a certain point of their "buying journey." Meaning, people are looking online for a solution to their problem.

Your business should have an online presence — and you should be online to help them solve their problems with your solutions.

Digital marketing allows potential customers to find solutions like yours. It’s a no-brainer.

2. “We Are Email Blasting — That’s Our Marketing Plan”

Email blasting isn’t a plan; it’s spraying and praying.

If you've been praying for a while and haven't seen any sales, it might be a good idea to change your "marketing plan."

If you’re targeting people without a cohesive plan in place, how do you expect to see results?

A proper marketing plan has various moving parts, which email is one component.

If your organization is sending emails, send them to people who have subscribed to your website. If you're emailing contacts from lists you were given or bought, your open rate will be low. While emailing blasting used to work, it's not how things are done now.

Adapt.


3. “We Have an Email List”

“Who's this person? Why are they emailing me?”

Have you ever reacted this way when you received an email from a person or company you don’t know?

Imagine how they feel.

Before sending any emails out, please check the following:

Clean Up Your Mailing List

When did you get these contacts?

You should go through your contact list(s) every quarter. Delete contacts who haven’t opened emails in months. Delete contacts that never opened an email.

These contacts take up space.  Space (and time) is valuable. Depending on your emailing service provider (ESP), you might be billed by your contact list size or the number of emails sent per month.

If a percentage of your contacts don't interact with you, don't waste time (or money) on them.

Before deleting contacts, you can send them an opt-in email. Depending on your ESP, you can automate this process.

If they don’t respond or interact with your email, delete them.

Don’t Buy Lists or Get Them From a Third Party

If contacts didn’t subscribe to your website, give their information your company at an event, don't email them.

Build an email list by creating targeted content your potential audience is searching for. Once your website is coming up in a search engine, you can ask readers to subscribe to your website. Strategically place gated content offers on your website to exchange for additional information.

A digital presence should attract visitors to your website. It should also enable your company to have a conversation with prospects, without you actually being there.

4. “I Know Everything About My Customers”

Maybe you do.

If that's true, wouldn't you be able to use this information do you currently have an endless supply of leads and customers?

The fact of the matter is, it’s impossible to know everything that your current and potential customers are thinking.

Tastes change. That alone should get you to think otherwise.

This is why it’s important to engage with them using blog content, live chat on your website and social media.  Surveys also ensure you’re current customers are happy with your service or products.

5. “I Don’t Need to Market to My Existing Customers”

Nothing lasts forever. What happened to these companies:

- Toys “R” Us

- Borders

Many major companies have lost business by being complacent.

This can happen to a small or medium-sized business like yours. Even though your business has an established pipeline of loyal customers, it doesn’t mean these customers won’t check out your competition if they see a better deal.

In a B2C scenario, this usually happens with customers searching for deals online.

Can you stop this?

No.

But you can continue building the relationship you have with your current customers. Treat them like you want to be treated. Give them good products/services. This will ensure customers come back and become promoters of your products/services.

6. “We Don’t Have the Time or Money to do Marketing”

Excuses.

If you care about growing your business, you'll make it a priority.

Start with free and low-cost tools. If I can do it for my personal website, you can do it for your business website. The cost to run this site and my marketing and sales automation tool (grandfathered plan, so keep that in mind) is under USD $500 annually.

Digital marketing costs significantly less than its traditional advertising (print, TV and radio).

Checking your website from your smartphone to make sure it looks good on mobile is free. Optimizing your website and indexing it with Google and Bing is free. Ensuring your website menu and contact forms work is free. Adding Google Analytics to your website is also free.

It boils down to how bad you want to grow your business.

7. “No One Uses Social Media”

Numerous studies show that the average age of Facebook users is growing. But that doesn’t mean you should spend your money on paid LinkedIn and Facebook ads (yet).

Start with free posts.

When it comes to using social media to increase the visibility, you need to figure where your target audience is.

You can start by posting on all social media channels consistently and see what sticks. From there, you can decide to turn the highest performing free posts into paid ads.

8. “Marketing Gives Quick Results”

There’s no such thing.

Good marketing builds relationships with customers and that takes time. You want to build a brand.  While I don’t like admitting it, marketing requires patience and time.

This is what large companies do to see results:

- Conduct research

- Create a proper website

- Write a lot of (delicious) blog content

- Create and execute an SEO strategy

- Create and execute a PPC strategy

- Social media strategy that includes free posts and paid ads

- Create all the content for the social media posts and ads

- Create and edit video content for YouTube

- Distribute content on other social media channels

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a sale the minute you send an email or redo your website’s SEO.

Life isn't ideal and most small to medium-sized companies might not be able to do all of these things in one sitting, let alone in one month.

Things take time.

Benchmarks need to be set for each of these. If you were getting zero traffic on month one, but you received 50 unique page views on month two after creating blog content — you’ve made some progress.

Adjust your expectations and set realistic goals. With time, you can expect to see results.

9. “We Don’t Need to Do Marketing Often (aka, we don’t need consistency)”

Consistency in marketing is important; it helps your company build brand strength. Brand strength will yield results.

10. “Great Products Don’t Need to Be Marketed”

If that’s the case, how will anyone hear about your amazing products?

Marketing lets people know about your product.


11. “Lowering Prices Leads to an Increase in Sales”

Things aren’t that simple.

Is your business B2B? B2C? D2C?

Have your sales been declining for some time now before you decided to lower your prices? If so, how long has that been going on?

Decreasing prices don’t always guarantee an increase in sales. There are plenty of factors which include your industry and who your target customer is.

I would think about the aforementioned before you rush to lower your prices.

12. “Marketing’s Job is Only to Generate New Leads”

As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to build your brand through marketing. It's also important to continue to have a conversation with your existing customers.

13. “Old-School Marketing Tactics Are Dead”

The success of each “old-school” tactic dependents on a few variables, especially execution.

Let’s look at direct mail.

Direct-mail might work if you’re using account-based marketing (ABM). This is when a specific set of companies are researched based on their potential. Then, personalize communications are sent to each of the said companies.

This can work with a number of old-school marketing tactics, but one should keep in mind the following:

- What is your budget?

- Industry

- Target audience

- How your competitors market their products/services

- Setting realistic SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) Goals/KPI’s

- Testing execution

- Your results based on the realistic SMART Goals/KPI’s

Traditional mediums shouldn’t be used as your company’s primary marketing strategy  — digital should be. Using a traditional medium for a ABM strategy such as direct mail can be costly, when compared to its digital counterparts.

It also comes down to dollars and I don’t think a small to medium-sized business should use this tactic, unless they are already making strides with their digital marketing.


14. “Marketing is Separate from Sales”

Marketing isn’t (and shouldn’t be) siloed from sales.

Learn each other’s jobs so you can have a better understanding of the challenges you face. It will also make it easier for marketing to pass over leads to sales.


15. “It's Marketing’s Responsibility to Bring in Leads, Sales will close the Deals”

This sounds like it came from a company with siloed departments.

If your marketing and sales teams don't work together, it’ll be obvious to your customers and leads you're trying to acquire.

Marketing and sales should be working with each other at each step of customers’ (and leads’) journey. Each department should communicate in the same manner. This should be the case for your website, emails, online chat or collateral.

Your sales team should be doing outreach of their own, as marketing strategies don’t convert leads into customers overnight.

During this process, they should seek support from marketing to help them achieve their quotas. This ensures their outreach aligns with the company’s overall marketing strategy. Quarterly check-ins ensures a smooth transition when leads are handed off from marketing to sales.

16. “If I Hire a Marketing Professional Today, My Company Has to Increase Our Sales Soon”

This is unrealistic and you’ll be disappointed.

It also depends on the marketing professional's level of involvement and your previous marketing:

How many hours a week does the marketing professional work?

What kind of marketing was your organization doing before this marketing professional started?

What does your current website look like?

Does time need to be allocated to optimize your website?

Has your organization ever had a marketing plan and executed said plan?

Have you had a discussion about your expectations?

These are some of the things you should consider when setting up goals and expectations for marketing and sales metrics.

Lastly, don't offer marketers commission (or at least ask them if they're open to). Marketers don't close deals, they can only pass on leads, provided they have the resources.

I've encountered this and it was usually someone with a sales background making the offer with a low wage. Pay your marketer a fair wage and treating them with respect is a good way to start your relationship.

17. “Personalize Your Marketing Content”

Using a [first name] in an email isn’t what I’m referring to.

Every marketing activity should have your current and potential customers' pain points in mind. It’s obvious when you’re trying to push your agenda on them with an “I need sales now mentality.”

Too much of the content out is self-serving and is asking for something in return (at the wrong time).

Interview your current customers; use the insights you find to improve your marketing. Sprinkle these insights throughout your content: on your website, on your blog, in your ebooks, on YouTube videos or social media posts. Make sure you cater to your audience.

Test any changes you make with your current customers and repeat.


18. “Outsourcing Marketing Will Make Life Easier and Cut Costs”

How do you define outsourcing?

Are you hiring someone in-house because you can’t do the marketing yourself? Are you hiring freelancers or an agency/marketing company?

Is this company domestic or foreign?

While I don’t think outsourcing your marketing is a bad idea, I've seen firsthand how it can be.

If you’re going to outsource your marketing, I recommend learning it (doing certifications and taking free company courses). Reading a handful of articles doesn't count. You might think that this is counter-intuitive because you’re outsourcing it to save time, money, etc.

But it's not.

The problem is that the marketing field in itself dances on the fine line of subjectivity. A lot of people try to do, but not many execute well.

Take a month or two to learn it on your free time can help with the following:

- Setting realistic expectations (for agencies, freelancers, and employees)

- Knowing what you’re paying for when you get a proposal. This helps you call out what services you don’t actually need versus services that are nice-to-haves

- Understanding what you’re paying for; I’ve seen a handful of proposals from India that are laughable (and so were the results)

- Understanding what services and marketing tools you need, which will save you money

19.  “I Read a Few Marketing Articles I know...”

Just because you read a few articles, doesn’t mean you know how to do marketing.

If you read an article on WebMD, that doesn't mean you know as much (or more) than your doctor.

If you decide to outsource or hire in-house talent, they would greatly appreciate if you trust them. If marketing isn't your background, know that your micromanaging prevents them from doing their job.

If you're hiring an in-house marketer, you would be to see how much they know. Having an understanding of marketing enables you to work with candidates that might not be as strong. If a candidate has potential, you can work on certifications together. Eventually, you should leaving all the marketing to the employee.

20. “Grammar Will Always Matter”

Image courtesy of    The Open University   . No copyright infringement is intended.

Image courtesy of The Open University. No copyright infringement is intended.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, serious grammar issues in any of your content can hurt your business’s image.

21. “The More People Involved in Your Marketing, The Better”

Too many hands in the pot will spoil the sauce.

Too many cooks will spoil the broth.

You get the idea.


22. “Sales Are Down, We Need to Cut Our Marketing Budget”

You should do the exact opposite.

If you have a solid marketing plan, you should work with your accountant and marketer (or agency) to push through this low sales slump. Your organization should constantly monitor the effectiveness of your marketing and overall marketing plan.

If at a certain point (a set time should be established) leads and sales aren’t increasing, your organization should re-evaluate its marketing plan.

23. “I Can’t Afford Marketing”

You’ve run the numbers and you can’t afford to pay a freelancer, hire a marketing professional or an agency.

If you work five days a week,  use your days off to study and implement marketing for your company yourself.

What if you’re too tired?

That's an excuse. Some people do work crazy hours, so it’s understandable.

Do you have a salary?

See if you (and any of your business partners) can take a temporary salary cut.*

Many businesses struggle when they first start.

There’s also a hunger associated when someone first starts their business. This hunger can leave once people experience some success. Complacency and living a certain lifestyle is great, but not if you want to grow your business.

Taking a small salary cut* — for the sake of growth — is a good thing and can reignite that hunger you once had.

Why wouldn’t anyone make a temporary sacrifice to make long-term gains?

Would you?

*Please pay yourself a living wage

24. “My Marketing Professional Doesn’t Need to Know About The Company’s Financials”

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about marketing. A good marketer will put their nose where you think it doesn’t belong.

It’s a marketer’s job to paint your organization in the best light possible. To do that, they should be asking lots of questions before suggesting any strategies. A marketer needs to understand a company’s financial situation, so they’ll have an understanding of what they can do and can’t do.

This doesn’t account for taking stock of:

- What marketing tools you have

- Your budget for marketing tools

- Your budget for paid digital ads

If your marketer doesn’t ask questions, I recommend hiring a new marketer.

25. “I’m the CEO/President/(C-Level Title), I Need To Do Everything Including Marketing”

If you're hiring a marketing professional (or anyone for that matter) you should trust them to do the job.

If you don't trust the person or agency you hired, you need to ask yourself why.

Are there other things at your organization causing this behavior?

The whole point of outsourcing or hiring some to do a job is so you don’t have to do it. This is what many small and medium-sized business owners don’t realize. When you stress out, panic and pressure others around you, it doesn’t improve the way work is done.

Conclusion

Marketing takes time and resources.

When it comes to spending money to grow a business, things can be stressful. At the end of the day, you know yourself best. If you aren’t ready to invest the money, time and trust people to do marketing, then don't.

If you want to implement marketing and grow your company, make sure you're willing to trust your employees (or the people you’re outsourcing to). If you don't trust the people you've hired, you'll waste more time and resources.

What are your next steps?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section!  If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it with someone you think might find the content useful.

Also, let me know if you see any errors or outdated information!

Interested in learning more branding and marketing insights?