It is absolutely crazy to me how much BS exists when it comes to marketing. There are so many myths, so many misconceptions, and so many lies that are swirling around. How can you possibly know what to do?
Here are the five common misconceptions that hold people back from growing their business through really effective marketing.
I understand why people don’t trust marketers. Marketers can be liars. You really don’t know what they’re doing unless you have a lot of experience. You pay all of this money, but what do you get in return? Unless you’re really good, most marketing doesn’t work.
I hate to say it: I’m a marketer. I love marketing, but there are a lot of bad players out there. There are lots of ways to just piss away dollars. When I’m sitting down with someone and they say, “Listen, I don’t believe in marketing,” I get it. I understand why. However, if you’ve been doing the same thing year after year and getting the same results and if you’re not happy with where your business is or the level of growth you’re having, then you have to try new things.
The answer isn’t to throw away marketing. It’s about finding people you can trust. Work with people who know what they’re talking about. I’ve seen it year after year. I get the same people who give me the same misconceptions. Frankly, I’m tired of it. So let’s clear some stuff up.
Misconception #1: “I have no time, and I have no money.”
I understand that if cash flow is tight or if you’re in startup or pre-revenue, coming up with funds can be very, very challenging. But here’s the thing: if you have plans, if you’re growing and need people to know who you are, or if you just want to generate leads, how are you going to do that? If you don’t invest the time or money, it’s ridiculous. You can’t grow your business without putting in the time to make it happen yourself and learn the things you need to learn. Alternatively, you can have someone help you out. Hire an agency. Hire staff members. Do what you need to do to make sure the machine gets built.
Misconception #2: “We got this big without marketing. Why would we need it now?”
Sure, lots of businesses grow without advertising campaigns, but businesses do not grow without some form of marketing and without some form of brand. You got to put in the time. You got to put in money. If you do neither, you will fail. If you look at certain industries (mostly manufacturing, B2B, and small companies), you will see that some of them have grown to a certain size without doing a lot of marketing. If you are a manufacturer and you’re selling through retail, maybe you don’t need to do a lot of marketing. Maybe they do it for you. Maybe it’s more of a sales-driven organization.
Here’s the thing: if you’re happy with your current size, if you’re not really interested in doing anything, then don’t do marketing. That’s fine. You got to where you were without doing any marketing at all. Keep doing the same thing. But here’s what I see. I sit down with people and they go, “Oh, we’re losing market share. We used to be the biggest, and now we’re not. There’s a new competitor who is nipping at our heels because they’re building an amazing brand and they’re stealing our customers. We need to meet new people. We need to go into new markets.” Yeah, okay, go ahead and give me the reason that you’ve gotten to where you are without marketing.
Your lack of marketing will not get you to where you want to be. If you want to go to a new place, you better start new activities, and you better do them really, really well. Old thinking will get you old results. It’s now time for a wake-up call.
Misconception #3: “A great product doesn’t need to be marketed.”
Marketing cannot fix a garbage product. If you have a terrible garbage product and market it, you’ll get a few sales, but you’re not going to succeed. So what you need is an amazing product, of course, but even with an amazing product, you better start to grow your market share. You better start to have sales channels. You better connect with people and help explain exactly what it does, why they need it, how it can help them, or why they should be emotionally invested in it. You have to do something.
Unless you have endless amounts of time, you better start marketing because effective marketing shrinks the amount of time it takes for your product to reach your customers. Let’s say you have a great product, the most amazing product in the world, and you decide that you don’t want to do any marketing for it. It’s going to be a lot of work to get the ones and twos, but that’s okay because the ones and twos will turn into threes and fours, which will turn into 10s and 20s, which will turn into hundreds, which will turn into thousands and beyond.
Can you afford two or three years? Can you afford the organic process of very slow growth before it starts to hockey-stick up? Can you afford to be in the market and have a competitor (someone in China) see exactly what you’re doing, take your product, and start marketing it? Then suddenly, now you’re in second place. You can’t give up the opportunity and waste all the time by just trusting that organic growth to take that amazing product to market.
Misconception #4: “We are doing social media.”
Maybe you have a huge following. Maybe you completely rock it. But unless your marketing strategy is to grow through thought leadership and social media alone, it’s not going to replace a marketing campaign. It’s not going to replace a marketing strategy. You’re not going to be able to introduce yourself to all the people that you need to grow. I don’t want to knock social media because social media is a really great way to build a following and a tribe and become an influencer among the community that you build. However, that is a long-term solution, and you have to do it really well.
Frankly, most people don’t. Most organizations do social media so they can say that they’re doing it. They’re not connecting with anyone. They’re not entering into conversations, and they’re not engaging. They are literally just pushing out content. And guess what, no one cares about what they have to say.
It’s awesome that you’re doing social media, but listen, chances are, you should be doing it very well. Unless that’s your number-one strategy, it is not going to replace a proper marketing strategy, brand building, lead generation, and sales funnels. Social media is not going to replace these things. So the answer isn’t only one. The answer is to divide and conquer.
Misconception #5: “Marketing is about getting new customers.”
Yes, your number-one objective should be to market, to gain new customers, to increase your market share, to have more people know who you are, and to build out your list. But that’s not it alone. With how tight the current market is, yes, it is hard for you to get new customers. But what about your current customers? You spend all this money, time, and effort to bring them in. Are you staying in front of them? Do they know all the areas of your business? Are you helping them? Do they feel good when you reach out to them (if you reach out to them at all)?
While advertising is about going out and capturing new customers, marketing is about building a brand and staying in front of people. And that can be for culture. It can be for recruitment. It can be about staying in front of your current customers so that they think of you, so you stay top of mind to introduce new products and services.
Marketing is about connecting with people and building a tribe. Yes, you certainly want to bring in new people to the top of that bucket, but you want to keep the people within your tribe engaged, loving you, and aware of everything that you can do to help them.
As I have said, there are tons of lies out there. These five marketing misconceptions are destroying your business. Successful companies that you all look up to do not have these misconceptions. They do not allow these reasons to slow them down or hold them back. You better get your organization on track. Marketing today is a must, but don’t waste your dollars. Look for the truth, and work with people who actually have your back.