Eight marketing myths busted and everything you need to know instead

Eight marketing myths busted and everything you need to know instead


Visibility is everything in business and that means making sure customers know where to find you.

But spending on marketing can be hard when cash flow is tight so every penny needs to have the biggest impact on your income.

To make things even harder, most business people don’t have a marketing background. That means it is easier to be sucked in by marketing myths, spending money on things that won’t make a difference and ignoring things that really will.

With this in mind, here are some of the biggest myths surrounding how to market a business, together with the truth, according to industry experts.

All publicity is good publicity

Being well known is good, whatever it’s for, right? ‘Absolute rubbish’, says Rachel Allen, who runs social media marketing agency Making Recruitment Social. She points out that in the internet era, any mistakes you make will haunt you for years to come.

‘I know of a business owner who is very concerned about his reputation. When a business deal went wrong, a large sum of public money was lost when they couldn’t deliver the contract,’ she says.

‘There is a journalist who is always keen for a negative story about this individual and their name will always be associated with this story.

‘It comes up whenever you Google their name – they will not be able to shake it off for a number of years.’

The moral of this story is that you should always think about how your actions will affect your public standing, no matter how inconsequential they may seem.

‘Some publicity is bad publicity and it can damage your reputation for a long time, no matter how much good PR you get,’ Rachel says.

What works for others will work for you

It’s easy to look at competitors and think that if you just do what they do, you will have the same success.

Not so, says Karen Webber, ethical marketer and trainer. Karen runs Goodness Marketing and a training course called Unlearning Marketing, where she teaches people they don’t always have to follow perceived marketing ‘rules’.

‘If you see a competitor use Instagram and they’re really successful, then it is easy to think you also need to be on Instagram and post the same sort of content and the same success will follow,’ she says.

‘Instead, you need to try to be a voice, not an echo. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing, you need to be clear on your purpose, values, USP and who you’re speaking to, and own that in your marketing.’

Everyone is your customer

There are very few products that work for everybody, and those that do are probably out there already. Instead, you need to find your niche, and market to it.

‘Don’t try to be for everyone, because that way lies mediocrity,’ says Karen at Goodness. ‘Nobody hates vanilla ice cream, but nobody loves it either. A tub of supermarket vanilla ice cream is nobody’s first choice.

‘It doesn’t get Instagrammed or talked about among friends. Same with your marketing. If your marketing is vanilla, it will be instantly forgettable. If you try to be for everyone, you won’t move anyone.’

I have a website so I don’t need social media

A website is useful but by leaving it at that you’ll be losing out, says Naomi Osei, business coach at Naomi Empowers.

‘With over two billion active social media users, by choosing to avoid building a presence on social media, you’re leaving money on the table,’ she says.

By knowing your customer, you can instead ensure you build a targeted presence to find them where they are.

Your ideal customer may not be a Snapchat user but you may find they regularly consume content on YouTube, for example,’ she says. ‘There is value in showing up where your customers are.’

Marketing, branding and sales are all the same

It’s confusing to work out what the difference is, but marketing coach Simon Ong says a good analogy is speed dating – marketing is what you say to the person sitting in front of you to capture their attention, branding is how you look and come across, and sales is getting results from those conversations (a second date?)

‘If your branding is off, you won’t attract many interested people even if you have a great patter with your marketing,’ he says.

Marketing is only for extroverts

Many people think that, when marketing your brand, it’s the loud voices that get noticed. Jennifer Corcoran is a LinkedIn trainer and marketing strategist, and says that a quiet one-to-one approach can often get the best results.

‘Introverts can mingle online for sure and you don’t need to be the loudest in the room to cut through the clutter online,’ she says.

‘The introverted approach of one-to-one messages always reaps rewards, whether it is on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.’

She says that, when you are using LinkedIn to market, direct messages are particularly powerful, and a similar approach can be taken to other platforms.

‘Everyone looks at a direct message whereas the algorithm doesn’t show the content on the home feed to everyone.

‘Most marketers bang on about the kind of content to create which puts off a lot of people but in my experience having a solid profile and using DMs is just as powerful if not more. ’

You need to broadcast constantly to get results

Smaller businesses find it hard to put out new content all the time, but business and marketing coach Niki Hutchinson, says it is possible to be successful by changing your focus and adding a personal touch.

‘Instead of constantly broadcasting on social media – and often feeling frustrated at not getting the results you expect – try focusing on building relationships, engaging in conversations with people, like you would if you met them in real life, being interested in them, what they do and what they want to hear about, not just what you want to say to them,’ she says.

‘Ask questions, then act on their answers. For example send out a survey to your mailing list and personally thank everyone who answers, including details of how you’re acting on the information they’ve provided.’

If you’re bogged down, she advises concentrating on something specific. ‘If you have to pick one thing, grow a mailing list. And ask people to hit reply to get conversations going.

‘A mailing list is yours, it’s your property, rather than social media which is land you’re only renting,’ she says.

What if you don’t have lots of money?

Marketing is partly a state of mind, says Lucinda Bray, who runs FUTRSMPL.

‘All marketing really is, is sharing your passion for your business with people who need your product or service,’ she says.

‘If you spend a little time understanding who your customers really are and write on your website as if you are having a conversation with that person, you are much more likely to connect with them than you are using the glossy statements on billboards that you feel you’re supposed to be doing because that’s what the big guys use.

‘Think small first. Networking is marketing, spending extra time chatting to customers and getting to know them is marketing, explaining a bit about what you do while you’re dropping the kids off at school is marketing,’ she explains.

‘Connecting with ten people who are likely to engage and buy from you is way more valuable than spending a fortune shouting at everyone possible only for nothing to stick.’

What does marketing jargon actually mean?

Analytics: This is the act of measuring the performance of your marketing to work out how effective it is.

B2B: This stands for ‘business to business’ and means you are marketing your products or services to other companies instead of individuals.

B2C: This stands for ‘business to consumer’ and means your business is marketing directly to households.

Bounce Rate: The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your website who visit the first page and ‘bounce’ straight off, rather than engaging with other pages too.

Call to Action (CTA): A call to action is a button or link on a website or social media post that prompts a potential customer to do something, such as fill in a form for more information.

Click Through Rate: The percentage of people who land on your site or social media post and click through to find out more.

Content Marketing: Content marketing is where you try to create pieces of writing or videos that answer useful questions for customers while marketing your product at the same time.

Evergreen Content: Pieces of marketing that remain relevant at all times, rather than being about a particular season or piece of news.

Inbound Marketing: Marketing that is designed to bring customers to you by creating experiences or content that is tailored to them, for example webinars, ebooks or topical blogs.

Infographic: A graphic representation of a topic containing charts and minimal text that promotes greater understanding.

Keyword: A keyword or phrase is a word that people search for. If your content contains a specific set of keywords it will help it to be ranked at the top of a Google search.

Listicle: A marketing article in the form of a list, such as ‘Ten ways to sleep better’, designed to grab the attention of potential consumers.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): This is a way of improving traffic to your website by inserting key words and phrases that are popular with those searching the web for topics relevant to your product.

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