10 marketing myths

For the majority, marketing remains an "exotic" concept. They think they know it, but in reality they confuse it with other business activities or departments. As a result, several myths have developed which need to be debunked.


Myth #1

Marketing and advertising are the same thing

This is perhaps the most established myth. However, advertising and promotion in general (including public relations and sales) are simply components of marketing - in fact they constitute the 4th P of the marketing mix, which refers to promotion. Unlike advertising, marketing identifies unmet needs and tries to meet or exceed them in order to create satisfied customers.

Myth #2

Small businesses do not need marketing

Marketing is necessary for any business regardless of size. The vast majority of businesses are small and medium-sized (which translates into intense competition), which makes it imperative that in order to survive and prosper, they turn to marketing. And this can be achieved without spending a lot of money (e.g. posting valuable content on social media, smart promotions).

Myth #3

Marketing is the responsibility of the marketing department

Marketing is everyone's responsibility, not just the marketing’s department (if there is one). The satisfaction of a customer is a result of the interaction of all the people who contact with the customer (e.g. do you doubt that even the housekeeper can shape the degree of satisfaction of the guests of a hotel?)

There is a widespread story according to which Michael Eisner, CEO of Walt Disney, while giving a tour to business executives as he strolled through the park's alleys, bent down and picked up a piece of trash, which he tossed into the nearest bin. When one guy of the group wondered why the park's sanitation worker didn't pick it up, Eisner said: "Cleanliness at Disney is everyone's responsibility."

Myth #4

Everyone is our customer

No matter how good you are, your product will never appeal to everyone. You should always focus your attention on one or more target markets and tailor your promotions exclusively to them - otherwise, you're just throwing your money away. When you have a clear picture of the market you are targeting (who they are, what their needs are, what their demographics are), then you are on the right track.

Myth #5

If the product is good, it will sell by itself

In a highly competitive market, where every business is trying to grab a piece of the pie, the belief that a good product will sell by itself (through word of mouth) is completely false. The audience needs to know your product and its features, but this is not an easy task. Besides, we should not forget that the average consumer receives a few hundred-thousand messages on a daily basis.

Myth #6

The marketing plan is unnecessary

A marketing plan is a plan for where we want to go, where we want to be a year or two years from now. In addition to goals, budget and analysis of the current situation (e.g. competitive analysis, SWOT analysis, listing the 4 Ps of marketing), it lists all the strategies and actions that need to be taken to get us to our destination with relative safety.

Myth #7

Yesterday's strategy will still be effective today

The environment is changing. Businesses need to adapt to the new environment asap. Something that worked yesterday won’t necessarily work in the future. For example, many small business owners fail to adapt to the digital age (e.g. they have an old fashioned website), remaining loyal to strategies that were once effective. Many of them sooner or later will exit the market.

Myth #8

Marketing will bring immediate results

Advertising, especially online, can bring you immediate results, however marketing takes time. Your company will not become known overnight - brand awareness takes time (and effort). For example, strategies related to SEO (trying to get your company to appear high on Google) or blogging, take time to "thrive".

Myth #9

I don't need a website as social media is enough

Many believe that a Facebook or an Instagram account is enough in order to increase brand awareness and boost sales. However, we all need to realize that a well-designed website (updated frequently with all the necessary information), where all social media searches end up, is the front of our business.

Myth #10

Marketing aims to attract new customers

This is only half the truth. Many businesses discover marketing and advertising when sales are down. But the goal of marketing is not only to attract new customers, but also to retain existing ones (e.g. by providing a quality product and excellent service). If the latter is neglected, then new customers will leave as quickly as they came. After all, it is commonly accepted that attracting a new customer costs 5-7 times more than retaining an existing customer.

Bloggers' picks:

Bill Marriott. 12 Rules for Success

John Protopapadakis is a marketing and customer service expert. He is a professor, an author (has written 20 business books so far) and a seminar instructor.

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