Learn from the pros who disproved common marketing myths through experience.
A dropped penny will kill you. Einstein failed math class. Humans and dinosaurs coexisted. These are just a few myths that we’ve popularized over the years, and though it’s tempting to think that we used to ride velociraptors into battle, it’s important to understand what’s real and what’s not.
Marketing, like any other industry, harbors its own share of fictions, falsehoods, and fantasies. Falling for these marketing myths can cost you time and energy, which is why we’ve asked five successful marketers, entrepreneurs, and digital strategists to share, in their own words, the biggest marketing myth they ever fell for. This way you won’t have to.
Shounak Gupte, Web Development and SEO Wizard in Australia
Biggest marketing myth: You can “set and forget” SEO.
Initially when I started out with SEO/Affiliate Marketing back in 2008/09, I had a mindset that SEO is something you “Set and forget”. I had put up nearly 50 sites, built a few links to each, and hoped they’d all magically rank.
After 3-4 months of setting up sites and moving on to the next one, I did some more digging into the SEO game and talked with a few people who had been in the field longer than me. That’s when I realized I have to look after my sites regularly.
Lesson learned: Quality over quantity. Don’t hope that Google will start liking your site some day! Work on it regularly to improve the quality score of your site to help with the SEO process.
Alicia Kan, Brand Strategist for the Digital Agency Globe Runner
Biggest marketing myth: Print is dead.
Given that everyone pretty much has to shovel out their inbox daily, a well designed and executed print campaign cuts through clutter and can be a strategic supplement to digital methods. Marketers are coming to realize this, hence the resurrection of print catalogs and the rise in popularity of oversized mailings. People don’t get much physical mail these days so something oversized that looks exciting gets opened quickly.
It’s like coming home. Early in my marketing career I was direct mailing around 80,000 per quarter for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and it was fascinating learning how response rates would go up or down depending on the headline, offer, even the choice of envelope. I’m now experimenting with print as a supplement to digital, and now know that the two not only can coexist, but they breathe life into each other. We sometimes forget how pleasant it is to exercise our tactile senses instead of just appreciating something of beauty onscreen.
Richard Lazazzera, Owner of the Online E-commerce Incubator ABetterLemonadeStand.com
Biggest marketing myth: If you write really great content, Google will find it and acknowledge it.
I thought Google was smart, and don’t get me wrong, it is, but when it comes to SEO, methodically choosing your keywords and incorporating them in your post can make a massive difference over just writing about a topic and hoping Google recognizes it.
For just over a year, I worked on the Content/Growth Team at Shopify. That’s where I realized just how important SEO was and how to properly do SEO. In my time there, my team and I were able to increase the Shopify blog traffic by a factor of 10x.
Now, for my personal blog and my online stores, I always do my keyword research ahead of time. One of my favorite tricks right now is to find stores and other blogs of similar size/authority as mine and run them through a tool like SEMrush. SEMrush tells me all the keywords they are ranking for and which of those pages are ranking for each keyword. This allows me to “steal” the keywords that are driving the most traffic to them by simply writing more comprehensive content, focusing on the right keywords, and getting a few more backlinks.
Steve Longoria, Copywriter and Digital Marketing Manager
Biggest marketing myth: Ranking high in Google is just a matter of technical means.
It’s wrong because it completely ignores the most important part of ranking high and receiving a lot of traffic from Google; creating something people want.
Many people made a lot of money from technical, black-hat SEO throughout the years without creating any value of any kind, it was all Search Engine food. I’m sure that world still exists today, but any results they see are fleeting.
(For more on the subject, read Steve’s post on Medium)
This realization has affected my career for the better. I now focus on trying to make a dent in the universe!
Andreea Ayers, Founder and Product Marketing Expert at LaunchGrowJoy.com
Biggest marketing myth: When I first started my business, I thought that the more broad my audience was, the more I was going to be able to sell.
I learned that this was wrong when I sat down at my computer and I thought: “How do I market to EVERYONE?” That seemed to be an impossible task, so I decided to narrow down my focus and have “women who do yoga” as my starting point.
This was especially important when I had a limited budget for marketing (and who doesn’t?) and I needed to focus your attention on one thing at a time. It’s a lot less expensive to run Facebook ads, for example, to readers of Yoga Journal magazine, than it is to run those same ads to readers of 10 more magazines so you can reach your entire audience.
This realization has changed EVERYTHING in my business because I realized the importance of being as specific as you can when it comes to who your audience is.