Marketing Myths

Following the advice of marketing myths is a surefire way to waste your investment. O&P Business News presents common marketing myths to avoid.

Better than nothing at all

Myth 1: Doing any marketing at all is always better than doing nothing. That is crazy. Marketing costs money. Unless the marketing is smart, on-point and creates a substantial return on investment, marketing is just a way to camouflage the act of throwing thousands of dollars out the window.

Same old, same old

Myth 2: Advertising and marketing are the same.I am telling you they are not the same. Advertising means buying space or time to relay a message. It can be important to marketing or irrelevant, depending on the company and its goals.

We told one of our retail clients to stop advertising and sales increased. That is unlikely to happen often – that is sales increasing when you stop advertising. But the point is that sales did not decline, either. Instead of throwing $250,000 out the window, the owner put the money in his pocket.

Beautiful and creative products

Burning money
© 2008 iStock International Inc. /Gary Alvis

Myth 3: The best marketing presents a company and its products as beautiful or creative or sexy. Who says? I will tell you that the ego-driven creators of beautiful/creative/sexy marketing. What they won’t tell you is that they don’t care a whit about your return on investment. They just want to be told what creative geniuses they are.

Some of the best marketing uses (as one aspect of an integrated approach), infomercials with people telling you how they lost 850 pounds taking placebo pills filled with polyester packing material. Art? No. Return on investment. Yes.

Needs to be expensive

Myth 4: Great marketing is dreamed up by highly paid executives who make ads and brochures and Web sites and then let them loose in the marketplace. That is the way it is often done and that is another reason most marketing is not up to par. To achieve effective marketing, you must reverse engineer the process so that decisions about what the company needs to market successfully and how it should be created, are made at the point of sale and then traced back to the “geniuses” at headquarters. Only a salesperson can really tell you what he or she needs to make a sale. Start there.

Don’t include the salespeople

Myth 5: Salespeople aren’t really part of the marketing process. This is nonsense. They are the centerpieces – the big enchiladas. Yes, there is a difference between selling and marketing, but if the marketing process leads to a sales team empowered to close, and the salespeople are schmoozers not closers, sales will be few and far between. That would be $1,000 out the window.

Non-closers and closers

Myth 6: With the right training, you can turn non-closers into closers. You can forget about this myth. You can’t train non-salespeople to sell and you can’t stop salespeople from selling. Find the latter and pay them well.

Award-winning companies

Myth 7: Great marketing agencies are the ones who win lots of awards. So choose them. Okay, if you want to borrow awards to place on your mantel. But if you want sales to grow, go for the award-less agencies that live by the credo – the best marketing is the product of the least expense that results in the highest return on investment.

Follow the rules

Myth 8: Good marketing is based on rules. You should spend X% of your revenues on marketing. Great direct mail generates an X% response rate. Hogwash to it all. Every company, every time in history, every product/service/every goal is different. So how can there be universal rules. And if you are told that the best return you can get on direct mail is 1%, don’t use direct mail. Or seek to generate 10%.

Rules are for schools. Results are for businesspeople. Great marketing and inspired marketing, can be the most powerful force in growing companies large and small. The great marketers – Bill Gates, Mary Kay, Tom Watson, Ray Krock, Sam Walton – avoided the myths, avoided bad marketing and drove their companies to the mount. You can do the same.

Eight Other Common Marketing Myths

Avoid these additional marketing myths and drive your company to success.

  • If at first your customers don’t respond, then that means they will never respond.
  • You need to create new ads or your prospects will become bored with them.
  • One follow-up conversation should be enough to convert a prospect.
  • Prospects aren’t important – the only thing that matters is sales.
  • It takes a long time before your advertising starts producing any results.
  • The purpose of ads should be to sell your product or service.
  • Advertising can get people to buy products they don’t really want.
  • Good advertising can make a bad product successful.

For more information:

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions. She can be reached at

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