My fellow Missourian Mark Twain wrote and said a lot of great things, but my all-time favorite is “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Man, is that ever true regarding marketing and communications. And what you know quickly becomes what you knew as the profession continuously evolves. So with that in mind, let’s do a little bit of marketing mythbusting.
Myth 1: The customer wants to hear from us. They do not. Their lives are 100 percent complete without you and your message. Knowing that and assuming that from the beginning puts the responsibility back on you to EARN your way into their hearts and minds and that comes from creativity and meeting their needs (yes, especially the emotional and psychological ones) like no one else can!
Myth 2: Our metrics look good so we’re reaching people. Digital marketers are in love with their “metrics” like web visits, click throughs etc. But, here’s a little digital reality check for you — more than half of all Internet traffic comes from bots (programs designed to visit web sites many times and artificially inflate numbers) So here’s my question back to you — is it real? What’s real? How do you know? I like to measure one metric — sales. As a business owner, that’s the only one that really counts and bots and algorithims don’t affect it.
Myth 3: Automating our marketing is a good thing. Man, there are lots of “solutions” out there to help companies send out more garbage which will get caught in spam filters or be instantly deleted or blocked. Marketing doesn’t need an automated way to send out more things more frequently — we need to send out better things less frequently and build LONG-TERM customer relationships through our communications. That is the actual game here, folks.
Challenging dumb myths is one way we can all improve marketing and the marketing profession. I advise my clients to use marketing & communications very carefully and always be aware of the sharp edges that can come back to cut your own brand (while you’re busy cutting through the clutter).
Knowing your fundamentals — why are we special? what emotional core are we trying to hit? and tempering that with a good deal of empathy for the audience and putting their needs above yours makes communications tolerable and maybe even great.