12 Most Dangerous Beliefs in Marketing

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.


Rebel Brown

http://www.rebelbrown.com

Rebel Brown speaks from experience! A true agent of change, she has spent the last 20 years insuring that her clients get ahead and stay ahead in a competitive marketplace. Her popular programs deliver actionable strategies that can be implemented for immediate results! She is the author of Defy Gravity: Propel Your Business to High Velocity Growth as well as several e-books and video programs. Her popular blog, “Rebel With a Cause” is read by thousands weekly. Besides speaking and writing, she has vast consulting experience in shifting corporate perspective regarding strategy, positioning for advantage and change. She has worked with US and European venture firms to successfully fund and launch companies. She also ran a consulting practice in Paris for two years, bringing European firms to the United States for expanded opportunity. Organizations that want to embrace change and stay relevant in their market count on Rebel Brown to deliver… and she does!

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20 comments
rebelbrown
rebelbrown

OMG  How silly am I. I JUST checked this post for comments.  DUH.  Sorry to ALL of you for my late replies.  Too many sites, not enough of my brain to go around. 

 

Thanks for your patience:)

 

reb

RebelBrown
RebelBrown

@loiscreamer Thanks much for the kind RT my friend.

loiscreamer
loiscreamer

Great post! You tell it like it is ... Like your style!

CASUDI
CASUDI

No one could have made these points better. However Twelve is the one I personally seem to be focused on just about in every conversation with a small biz or start up company these days ~ Are your customers there?~ How do you know they are there?~ If not where are they? ~ The other day it came down to my customers are on my local Rotary, no Rotary  (the customers) are not on Twitter ……but I would love to get them there ;-)  Thanks for writing this Rebel, and for your first fabulous contribution to 12Most.

tracyschutz
tracyschutz

Great post Rebel!  I love your no-nonsense style and I love #9...the adjectives overload is ridiculous! Thanks for bringing marketing back down to Earth.

Tracy

dbvickery
dbvickery

I got to read one of your earlier drafts of this post, Rebel - and I sure like it. It is insight-heavy, and I appreciate the level of detail you provide for each of the beliefs. I'm definitely banking on content marketing for our own company. To that end, I'll soon be editor for our corporate blog where I hope to tap into the incredible resources we have across our organization. I'm usually talking about social media and monitoring, but I have folks excellent in their fields when it comes to software dev, datawarehousing, test/test automation, project managemen, etc. Some of them are very passionate about their approach and are looking for a venue to discuss and promote best practices. We've all been caught at some point by the squeaky wheels, tire-kicking advocates and...loved it...lookey loos. Enjoyed that quote...

Giutzy
Giutzy

As a retail online business, we could not have read better advice. This article is very insightful and on point in the social media world. Thank You for the post!

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

This is THE best Marketing related post I've read in ages. #1 is my most difficult challenge with traditional clients, and it's often their excuse for fearing Social Media.  I liken it to sticking your head in the sand.

TedRubin
TedRubin

Rebel... if you got into my head and sucked out my thinking, you could not have represented my beliefs any better than you have here. Awesome post and thanks for sharing!

PaulBiedermann
PaulBiedermann moderator

Love this debut post of yours, Rebel — welcome to 12 Most! Quality always trumps quantity in my book, and you make a nice correlation to the online quest for more followers. Seems to me, the focus should be on quality and quantity will take care of itself over time — then you get both!

reneedobbs
reneedobbs

Thumbs up Rebel! Great post and very informative.

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @loiscreamer Must have something to do with my name Ms Lois. :)  Seriously, I have always been a no holds barred, but it on the table kinda gal.  Glad you like it and thanks for your kind words!

 

 

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @CASUDI Caroline - thanks so much for your kind words.  What bugs me is that inside my head -I am a long repeating record.  I've been seeing these issues in marketing for a while - the digital age simple accentuates them!

 

We are humans and humans do not like to change. Yet change is the opportunity to create sustainable and distinct advantage.  If we are to be leaders in this new economy - we have to shift our thinking. 

 

Thanks for your leadership in the shift!

 

reb

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @tracyschutz LO Tracy - I saw a blog post on a vendor site the other day that had 7 adjectives in the first bloody paragraph - all about THEM

 

1) nobody believs the adjectives anyway - we blew our credibility with over promising and under delivering

 

2) Its not about us - its about THEM

 

3)  Frankly - I think people use adjectives to fill in the blanks about what they don't know concerning their Value.  Get out and listen to your buyers - they'll give you the evidence, so you can dump the adjectives!

 

THX for the kind words!!

 

reb

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @dbvickery  Thanks so much for all your support my friend - you so rock!  Content marketing has a bad rap these days -not because of what it is but because of the content we create. Me Me Me chest thumping is yesterday's news - what I call gravity.  Content today has to be relevant, engaging and all about our BUYERS.... 

 

I know you'll make that shift for your company - YOU GO!

 

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @Giutzy Great to meet you and thanks so much for the kind words!  Always grateful when I learn that my perspectives are helpful!!!  Thanks for stoppingby!

 

reb

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @AmyMccTobin Amy - you just made my day.  And yes, the ostrich syndrome is everywhere.  But thats because we are humans in business and humans do not like change. We're programmed in our very DNA to avoid it.  Yet in today's world - change is everywhere. We either step up and adapt, or we will not survive! 

 

Good luck with your clients and keep pushing them to adapt and evolve!

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @TedRubin I cant think of a better brain to be sharing Ted!   Thanks for the kind kind kind words!

rebelbrown
rebelbrown

 @PaulBiedermann Quality is the only thing that matters.  We all have this high school programming that says popularity is king.  WRONG.  I can be popular with M's of followers - but if they arent relevant to me, thats not exactly a winning combo.

 

 

My book is all about gravity - the status quo that limits our sustainability.  In 20+ years as an exec consultant, I've seen it everywhere, from startups to turnarounds. So much of our gravity in marketing and business comes from being human.  Add our business cultures and programming - and we get stuck so easily. 

 

Today's world is forcing us to change. Market leaders soar because they continuously and consciously adapt.  We can either learn to adapt - or face the consequences.

 

Thx for the opportunity to share Paul!!!

 

reb

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