Marketing is complex, and savvy marketers are worth their weight in gold. But while a smart CEO makes sure to build a powerful marketing department, CEOs should also understand the fundamentals of marketing in their business sector. Here are ten myths which, while prevalent, will lead you down the wrong path:
1. "If you build it, they will come."
Make no mistake, having a strong web presence is half the battle – but it's not the entire thing. Visitors can't appreciate your website if they never find it, and in any industry, you're competing for potential visitors' attention. To be successful you need to position yourself so that potential clients can find you, using search engine optimization, strong content, and other visibility strategies.
2. "Marketing is a quick fix."
Marketing is a powerful force, but a strong inbound marketing effort probably won't produce immediate results. Inbound marketing nurtures ongoing connections with consumers, meaning a strong ROI for online marketing after a period of investment. To analyze your campaign, don't just rely on conversions – look for metrics which presage conversions.
3. "Good site design is a nice-to-have, not a requirement."
Actually, because your website may be your main source of interaction with leads through most of the sales funnel, your website is extremely important. Did you know that 75% of B2B customers admit to drawing conclusions about a company's credibility based on their website's design? From convenience standpoints like whether or not they can find information on mobile devices to psychological standpoints like whether visitors perceive you as professional, your website defines how customers see you.
4. "Marketing doesn't require specialized tools."
While it's possible to run a marketing department with a word processor and a spreadsheet, it's not a good idea. Marketing is data-driven, and the more sophisticated your data handling and analysis, the more sophisticated your efforts and results. Marketing automation and analytics tools can be of immense value. With these tools, you'll learn more about your customers' behaviors and be able to make more informed decisions about where to invest your company's money. If you want to know the ROI of your marketing, you should definitely invest in tools.
5. "Social media is for B2C, not B2B."
Whether you're marketing to businesses or direct to consumers, you're still dealing with a human being who will make the final purchasing decision. Cultivating that social connection, whether through LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, can effectively nurture qualified leads. Even Instagram has been used by creative B2B brands to establish an online presence and build relationships with customers. Don't overlook the value of having a continuous connection with clients and potential clients.
6. "Blogs and content don't turn into sales."
It's true that there's not a flat ratio of blog posts to conversions that you can count on, but blog posts do serve several powerful purposes. Blog posts and other content-rich offerings increase consumer confidence in your product, lubricate the growth of your word-of-mouth reputation, and engage your consumers with your brand. All of these bolster your marketing strength in the long term.
7. "Sales and marketing are naturally at odds."
Sales and marketing have the same goal, in the end: to support conversions. Fostering strong connections between your sales and marketing departments makes for a smoother and more effective sales funnel from beginning to end – and may make for a more pleasant work environment, too. If your marketing is on point but your sales is weak, you're not going to see the return you want. You will have leads sitting untouched, rather than being worked. Both marketing and sales need to work together to get the best results.
8. "Market research is a waste of time."
Specialists tend to perform better than generalists, and that's certainly true of marketing strategies. A strategy which addresses consumers' needs specifically and directly will appeal to consumers more than a general outreach effort – and to target those needs, you need market research.
9. "Direct mailing is the best method of contact."
Direct mail was king in the days when it was the most direct and powerful way to get information to consumers, but these days, its ROI often doesn't measure up. Email campaigns and other online marketing efforts frequently offer lower cost overheads, higher open rates, more customizability and flexibility, and smoother data tracking.
10. "Press releases should be used as often as possible."
Media relations are important, but press releases are often overused – and often received with some skepticism, if the business in question has a reputation for sending press releases for every announcement. Releases should be reserved for big announcements with clear industry value – and should be used to inform an audience, not as a primary tool to create or grow one.
The marketing landscape is constantly changing, and it's difficult for even the most dedicated CEO to be an expert in the field. Still, keep in mind that the wisdom of yesteryear may not remain applicable today, and keep a close eye on what the data for your company is saying.