20 Myths About Digital Marketing
  by:  |  Mar 8, 2021
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Last updated on June 3rd, 2023 at 10:19 am

Digital marketing is full of misconceptions. Here we look at 20 of the most persistent myths about marketing in the digital age.

Let’s get one bonus myth out of the way. Forget everyone who says digital marketing is the future. They’re the ones responsible for these myths. Digital marketing is the present.

Falling for any pernicious falsehoods about digital marketing can be an expensive trip down a bottomless hole. Have you heard any of these yet?

20.) SEO is dead.

It should be, but SEO principles will continue to be relevant so long as there are search engines you want to be found in. SEO is very much alive, but you can’t game things as easily compared to a few years ago, especially if you aren’t teamed up with an SEO agency. As a testament to the evergreen need for SEO, there’s been a huge demand for SEO courses that teach optimizing website pages.

While it’s true that many companies don’t rely on SEO now as much as they did in the past, it’s still a crucial part of any well-rounded marketing effort. Building a search engine-friendly site plays a massive role in attracting more website visitors and making more sales.

19.) You can automate everything.

While you will eventually need automation and scripts to scale efficiently, there will always be instances where you will need to use your judgment. Customer retention practices, for example, are difficult to purely automate effectively, as are some kinds of data analysis. Automation has its place, but plenty of situations still require human intervention.

18.) Not everyone needs social.

False. Every business these days needs to include social media strategy as part of their marketing — just not in the same way. You can set up accounts specific to just one part of your enterprise. You can even set them up specifically for one product or service.

Pfizer, for instance, does not have a Facebook page for what is likely its most famous product –Viagra. If you were a Viagra user, would you want to be seen sharing your experiences so publicly? John Mack, editor and publisher of the Pharma Marketing News/Pharma Marketing Blog, says FDA regulations constitute a significant hurdle for pharmaceutical brands on social media. “Another factor is reporting adverse events — as may be mentioned in social media conversations.”

Another exceptional case is Apple, which has no official Facebook or Twitter account but does run Twitter pages specific to many of its products. Note that these so-called “famous” examples of social media shirkers still use social media somehow. It’s also highly probable they look at unofficial pages of their brands or their competitions to gauge the market.

17.) A website is all you need.

Not counting social pages, just having a website isn’t enough. It has to be designed to lead to conversions or other desired outcomes for your brand. A website with no unity of purpose or does not accurately portray your brand can arguably be worse than having no website at all.

16.) There’s a perfect way to do things.

Only in absolutely exceptional circumstances. Nearly everything we do in traditional or digital marketing is infinitely arguable. Almost any action comes with its own set of trade-offs. But that shouldn’t stop you. Most of the time, getting to what you were shooting for within the ballpark is good enough. A campaign that does several things well enough over a sustained period is almost always better than one that does just one thing perfectly.

15.) Mobile users are useless for conversion.

You might hear someone tell you that mobile users don’t convert as well compared to desktop users. This myth most likely comes from marketers who cannot understand how people use different devices. Screens for most mobile devices are tiny and therefore not conducive to convoluted form-filling, so many enterprises seem to love throwing at our faces. Having a mobile-optimized version of your site and streamlined processes can go a long way toward helping you get conversions from mobile users.

14.) Big data is everything.

It’s moot if you cannot interpret or use that data meaningfully. We all have access to many of the same things, especially information. We have the same number of hours in a day. How do businesses with access to the same things fare so differently? The answer lies not just in what they have but also in how they use it.

13.) Only big websites need a web marketing strategy.

Absolutely false. You need at least some strategy if you want to achieve consistent results over the long term, no matter your size.

12.) You should be on all social media sites.

This depends on what you need and the time you can commit to effectively maintaining your accounts. In most cases, your time is better spent focusing on just a few key sites than posting anywhere you can.

The type of industry you belong to also dictates which sites are more or less valuable. Should an insurance company have a Pinterest account? How about a cargo forwarder?

11.) Word count is essential.

It is — but only up to a point. Search engines like Google seem to favor pages with at least a few hundred words, but not everything is a blog article, and not everything is meant to be found on a search engine.

Photo sets, videos, graphs, and sound clips can all be considered content, and social media is giving search a run for its money for sharing this kind of information. In any case, word count should never get in the way of quality. The only word count that matters is the meta description length. Keep it within the limit to reach your SEO goals. Quality often suffers because some SEO nerd tries to hit a specific word count, not deliver something worthwhile.

10.) You can outsource all your coding.

This isn’t a myth, exactly. You can, but not without several caveats. Unless you can work closely with your BPO contractor, you will unlikely develop a site that matches your needs.

Having a team member who can code gives you several advantages. First, you get an idea of what is feasible and deliverable. Second, you can better gauge how long specific projects will take. Third, even if that team member cannot do all the needed coding themselves, they may still be able to implement necessary fixes in a short time frame rarely possible with contracted coders.

9.) What you can’t measure is useless.

How would you rate this article on a scale of 1-10? Using the same scale, how would you rate your mother’s love? Like anything else in life, digital marketing has aspects that are difficult or impractical to measure but is still critical to the overall well-being of the business. A brand’s value is one thing, as is its culture. Your workforce’s creativity and work ethic are another, as is the delight you can deliver to your customers.

Sure, you can use a scorecard or some other method for gauging the value of such things, but in the end, these will only give a general idea, almost certainly lacking in nuance. That doesn’t mean you should disregard them, whether online or not.

8.) You have to be a techie to try digital marketing.

Like anything else, getting started with digital marketing requires an adjustment period to learn and get accustomed to everything. Still, the time you need to complete the basics is incredibly short. If you understand how your customers use marketing, you’re already most of the way there!  You can try partnering with a digital marketing agency to learn new techniques and strategies when using digital channels.

7.) You can expect results right away.

If you plan on starting an online marketing campaign, in most cases, it’s best to give things a few weeks or a few months before you expect any results. You can get clicks or conversions very soon after launching a digital marketing campaign, but these incidences are either a fluke or outright unsustainable. More often, lasting success comes not from sporadic big wins but several small ones over a long period. But who knows? You might get lucky!

6.) You can ditch real-world marketing.

As mentioned in a previous post, digital media works hand-in-hand with traditional methods. In most cases, relying on just one or the other instead of using both in concert doesn’t make sense. Regardless of what naysayers say, someone who has a good quality business card will always have the edge over someone who doesn’t.

5.) Get clicks at any cost!

Clicks are utterly pointless if they don’t eventually lead to real conversions. Digital marketing has to work in all parts of the sales funnel. This means your digital campaign needs to attract potential customers at the top, guide them through the processes and retain them in the middle, and seal the deal at the bottom of the funnel.

4.) Focusing on top PPC keywords is a good idea.

This is only true if you have the money to throw at a sustained PPC campaign and know what you’re doing. You can easily burn thousands of dollars in a few hours with no conversions to show for it. People also tend to ignore sponsored ads, which isn’t surprising because many marketers don’t understand what their audiences want before launching a PPC campaign.

3.) SEO = Google

The next time someone tells you they know SEO, give them a simple test. Ask them how to rank on Amazon or Pinterest. Heck, ask them how to rank for Bing. If they squirm, it probably means they don’t understand the underlying principles of SEO. Google may be the biggest search engine, but it’s not the only one in town. Like most other social media sites, Facebook and Twitter have internal search engines that hold a virtually captive audience. Every major e-commerce site or b2b e-commerce portal also has search engines.

Granted, there’s little information to understand how these systems work compared to Google. Still, any SEO expert worth employing should be able to give you some idea of how you might be a little more visible on those other platforms, given the time.

2.) Keyword repetition works. Keyword repetition works.

Not for the past five or so years, it hasn’t. At least not in the way you might think. As a matter of fact, the wrong kind of repetition could cause a downgrade in your rankings on Google and other search engines.

Some repetition of important keywords and their variations is necessary for helping most search engines get an idea of what a page is about. How much? With automatically updated algorithms, no one probably knows for sure, but it’s safe to say you shouldn’t be spamming the whole page with the exact keywords repeatedly. In any case, you should always create content for people, not for an algorithm.

1.) Digital marketing is useless for B2B

If that were true, we would have gone out of business a decade ago! Digital marketing definitely works in a business-to-business context. Strangely, we often forget businesses are made up of people too. The next pair of eyes that see your pages may very well belong to a business owner or a CEO. How you manage digital marketing efforts can affect how potential clients of any size perceive your credibility, your capabilities, and how good of a match you both are.

What other digital marketing myths do you keep hearing about? Comment below!


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