10 Marketing Myths

Jeanne Grunert
Don't build products before knowing your customers.

Although the Myth Busters team hasn't covered this list yet, the top 10 marketing myths can now be officially classified as 'busted'. Like the myths of entrepreneurship, marketing myths tend to lead people astray. Learn myth from fact and keep your marketing efforts on the right track.

The Top 10 Marketing Myths

Each of these 10 marketing myths contains a grain of truth. That's the confusing thing about myths; most of the time, a myth contains at its heart a tiny kernel of truth. Yet if you believe any of these myths and base your company's marketing around them, you'll probably have a lot of explaining to do when sales plummet!

Marketing Myth List

Without further ado, here's the list of the 10 biggest marketing myths business people believe.

  1. Marketing Is Synonymous with Advertising: Marketing and advertising are not the same thing at all. Advertising refers to a specific promotional activity, while marketing encompasses product development, pricing, customer and market understanding, and promotion. If you talk about your 'marketing' in a magazine, you're mixing up marketing with advertising.
  2. Word of Mouth Marketing Is Sufficient: Many people believe that if they provide a great product or service, word of mouth alone is sufficient marketing. It's not. In today's day and age, you need outbound communicates to generate awareness.
  3. The Crazier the Promotion, the Better: Talking lizards and dancing raisins aside, crazy promotions and cute mascots do not equate good marketing. Crazy promotions may generate attention but it's the rare campaign that garners lasting results.
  4. Sexy Sells: Sexy sells - to a point. But sexy is not always the desirable atmosphere for a product. Sexy might work to sell lingerie. It probably won't work for foot odor pads, computers, or carpet.
  5. Sales People Don't Know Anything about Marketing: Sales people are usually the ones in the company who actually get to talk to customers. And customers are at the heart of marketing, because understanding customer wants, needs and desires is essential to good marketing. So before you dream up your next marketing plan, talk to your sales team. They have valuable input you ignore at your own peril.
  6. If Customers Don't Respond, Try Something Else: Remember that all marketing myths contain a kernel of truth. This one in particular is tricky because it's partially true. While it's truth that if you've tried promoting a product or service to one group of customers and they don't respond that you may need to try something else, it's also true that successful sales often requires multiple contacts. Five years ago, the rule of thumb was that at least three contacts needed to be made before closing a sale; two years ago that number had risen to five, and this year, many marketing agency executives say that number has risen to seven or more. The nonstop blare of advertising on the internet, television, radio, magazines, checkout lines at the supermarket, and everywhere consumers turn has resulted in consumers tuning out most of what they hear. It's also resulted in greater skepticism from consumers, which in turn means that marketers must work harder and longer to garner trust and close a sale. So yes, if customers aren't responding to a promotion, you may need to try something else, or you may simply need to hang in there and keep stating your message until they respond.
  7. There's One Right Way: It's like magic. There's got to be one right way to do marketing for an industry, a company or a product. Successful marketing and promotional activities reflect the convergence of many factors: customer understanding, timing, marketplace forces, high quality product, and excellent creative efforts. But over time, customer wants, needs and desires change. The marketplace changes and new competitors enter the scene. What worked last year may not work today. There's never just one right way to handle marketing.
  8. Good Advertising Can Make People Buy Anything: Clever advertising generates interest, but if the product is poorly made and doesn't live up to the advertising promises, the best ads in the world won't convince people to purchase it.
  9. Nobody Responds to Direct Mail Anymore: While it's true that more and more people are turning to the Internet to shop, direct mail remains a viable means of acquiring customers. The only way you'll know for sure whether or not it's a good marketing tactic for your company is to test it.
  10. Pricing Is Not Part of Marketing: Pricing should be an essential part of any marketing strategy. Whether pricing products to remain competitive or pricing products to generate an aura of exclusivity, pricing decisions play an important role in how products are bought, sold and promoted.

Good Marketing Begins and Ends with the Customer

Good marketing always begins and ends with the customer. Successful business people know that it's customers who buy products, and if the products and services they sell do not appeal to customers, the slickest advertising and promotion in the world won't generate the enthusiasm needed to be successful.

Always start by understanding your customers, who they are, their wants, needs and desires. Next, look for ways to satisfy those desires at a price point people can afford. Years ago, supermarkets came out with generic brands of products such as napkins, canned vegetables, spaghetti sauce and the like. They did no advertising. The product packaging was white with black writing and a bar code. There was no kindly Aunt Jemima, no Keebler Elves dancing around, no Jolly Green Giant promoting the products. Yet the products sold. Why? Because they'd found a way to satisfy their customers' needs for nutritious food at low prices. Use this formula, and find ways to make your customers happy, and your marketing will be based on fact rather than myth.

10 Marketing Myths