12 Most Dangerous Beliefs in Marketing
Gravity is the #1 enemy of growth. What’s gravity? That’s yesterday’s news applied to tomorrow’s markets.
Gravity is especially problematic in marketing — where getting stuck in yesterday’s thinking is the kiss of death. In my decades of consulting, I’ve seen a number of beliefs that create weight and drag in marketing.
Here are the 12 Most Dangerous Beliefs that I see as endangering business growth today.
1. We control our brand
Control is an illusion. Thanks to the power of the internet, today’s digitally empowered buyers control our brand. They learn from each other and don’t really care what we say anymore. They are free to share their perspectives with the world, chat among themselves and create, or break, your brand. So if you still think you have control — it’s time to think again.
2. Negative sells
That big stick that worked in yesterday’s markets is weighing you down today. Buyers don’t respond to threats and FUD in our empowered age. Every one of your stories has two faces — the positive and the negative. The carrot is far more powerful than the stick, so enough with using fear as a motivator. Focus on the upside value for your buyer and watch your audiences grow.
3. Social media is another marketing channel
Social media offers an amazing opportunity to converse with our buyers. So why do we still think in terms of campaigns when it comes to social media? One is push oriented, the other interactive. Do you create a campaign to speak to your friends? I don’t think so. It’s time we begin to shift our thinking toward creating relevant and compelling conversations — and put all those push focused outbound campaigns where they belong — in the been there, done that bin.
4. Lead generation is a series of campaigns
That’s yesterday’s news. Lead generation isn’t about a campaign or series of emails anymore. Today — sales leads come from audiences who trust you as an expert in your field. How do you get to be an expert in your buyers’ eyes? Share your expertise freely, educating your markets about ways to solve their problems and important things to think about. Every interaction with your audience today is lead generation — so forget the campaigns and pay attention to your conversations. Give freely of your wisdom if you want to attract attention and gather leads! Sending 10 emails only pushes your prospective buyers away…
5. Customers buy the product with the best features
Come on — if this were true then the best products would win and business would be fair. The reality is that people buy because of emotional factors — we are all humans in business. So instead of promoting the cool factor of that whatchamafloppy — try appealing to the emotional side of your buyers. How will your offering improve their lives, their jobs, their world? Focus on Buyer Value and not that fun new whizfizzy.
6. The right social media technology will drive prospects to us
Technology doesn’t drive success. It never has and it never will. Our success comes from the human side of our business. Even when we’re surrounded by the best technology in the world -— the human element is what compels buyers to your doorstep. Whether you use or sell technology, success is all about focusing on our humanity.
7. Sharing our messages loudly, in more places and more often will take us above the digital noise
Shouting into a tornado doesn’t do much good, now does it? So why would you think shouting works in today’s noisier than ever markets? Sharing more me, me, me propaganda in more places won’t bring buyers to you. It will most likely chase them away! If you want to stand out above all the noise —converse with your audience about problems and solutions that matter to them. Focus on your buyers, share valuable information with them in the places they live — and you will rise above the noise.
8. Content marketing doesn’t work
Content marketing is getting a bad rap and it’s not because of content marketing approaches. It’s because of your content! As we’ve transitioned from “traditional” marketing into “content” marketing, the only thing that’s changed are the communication platforms for the content. Instead of a promotional e-mail — we write a blog. Instead of a product sheet — we create a customer story. But the content all has the same basic focus: YOU, not your customer. Self-promoting content will send your audiences running. Instead of creating the status quo content focused on your product, your value, your success — shift your focus to your buyer. Consciously decide not to mention your product, company or cool whizbang features. What a concept — a total focus on the customer’s needs and not our own. Wait til you see the results!
9. Big adjectives are compelling
I have never seen so many big, fluffy adjectives in marketing as I do today. Yet no one believes them. Do you? Do you believe that car salesmen with all his fluffy and bold claims, or do you go read Consumer Reports? Your buyers are no different. So forget the fluffy adjectives and focus on sharing quantitative evidence of the customer value you deliver. Put your #s where your adjectives are.
10. We know what our buyers want and need
Ego is one of the biggest enemies of business success. When we think we know more than our buyers, believe we can tell them what to buy and they will do just that — we’re asking for a kickin’. Ten years ago it might have been true, maybe even five years ago. But not today. Today’s buyers have access to more information than you’ll ever deliver. They are educated and informed. So ditch the ego and focus on what your buyers need and want — not what you want to sell them.
11. Our best customers perspectives represent our overall markets
No they don’t. In fact, your best customers may just lead you down a path to a dead-end when it comes to business growth. Our best customers (usually measured by revenues) are focused on what’s best for them. And often that isn’t what’s best for your business. Just because that best customer buys lots of product from you it doesn’t mean that customer is your best source of market information for your future. Be sure to listen to a wide range of inputs — from best customers, new customers, new potential markets and more. A balanced set of inputs from your audiences is the key for success in today’s quickly evolving market.
12. Popularity powers profitability
This is one of the most dangerous beliefs around social media I see today. We’re all programmed to chase more Friends, Followers, Connections, Clicks and Subscribers. What’s worse is that we listen as if all of the masses were created equal. In the world of social media, our audiences select us. This creates a major shift in the way we must view our marketing measurement in today’s world.
Let me ask you a simple question to expand on my point: How do you know that any of those social media masses are actually your target buyers? Seems to me we listen to a lot of squeaky wheels, tire-kicking advocates or just plain lookey loos… I think it’s time we stopped thinking we’re in high school and started focusing on the quality of our networks vs. the quantity of our numbers.
The Bottom Line
The past few years have created more challenges than ever — and more gravity. Those same years have also created more opportunities, for those who defy gravity. Great marketers understand the imperative — it’s time to shift our thinking.
Are you ready to shift into the velocity of success?
Featured image courtesy of whatleydude licensed via Creative Commons.