Fool’s Gold: 7 Marketing Myths and Follies


Green book covers don’t sell. There’s no such thing as bad publicity. We’ve heard it all. But look: sometimes marketing folk wisdom is pure gold. And sometimes, it’s folly. Here are a few marketing myths and follies that just keep popping up like heads on a hydra – and what you should be doing instead.

Myth #1: All You Need is Data

Look, we love data as much as the next nerd. A solid combination of quantitative and qualitative data can provide deep insights into your company, customers, and competition. But the thing with data is that it can only guide you based on what’s already in a database somewhere. It can’t help you take creative leaps or identify that “black swan” opportunity – because it can’t analyze something that doesn’t exist. Data works best when coupled with super-smart human minds who can see the big picture and leverage intuition to decide whether what’s best for business is to make another superhero reboot or take a chance on something like Squid Games.

Myth #2: Our Market is Everyone

Sorry, friends. Even behemoths like Apple and Coca-Cola don’t get to say this. Maybe your product or service has broad appeal, but not every single person in the world isn’t going to need or want it. Ambition is great but needs to be paired with a solid understanding of your ideal audience and how you can make their lives better. Because when you go narrow, you also get to go deep. This means you can tailor your messaging, campaigns, and outreach so that they resonate with your core audience. You’ll get way more impressive outcomes than you would from putting up a generic ad and hoping for some clicks.

Myth #3: Growth is #1!

Record quarterly growth sounds impressive, but it isn’t sustainable. Only fresh new businesses can manage massive growth because they’re still in that early customer acquisition stage. Real talk: growth will level off after a while, especially for a mature product in a mature industry. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Customer acquisition is pricey – especially when you compare it with the cost of existing customers. Instead of chasing the unicorn that is endless record growth, invest in customer loyalty. It’s a much more efficient and effective way to build a brand.

Myth #4: Welp, That’s Done.

So your marketing campaign has gone live. Good job! But don’t fall into the folly of “done and dusted” thinking. Marketing isn’t just something you do once and walk away from. Marketing is iterative, adaptive, and always on the move. Once your campaign is out there, you should be mapping your outcomes against pre-identified benchmarks, then continue to adjust and refine so that your campaign can be as effective as possible. But even that isn’t enough. Your campaign could be the most perfectly modulated thing in the world, but the world itself is always changing. Consumer needs, competitor launches, global pandemics, supply chain issues – there are plenty of things that you’ll need to rework your efforts in response to.

Myth #5: Always Be Optimizing!

Great marketing is about course-correcting when the data tells you to. But smart marketers don’t just do everything the data tells them. We have so much information at our fingertips these days that it’s easy to spend a ton of money and time optimizing, optimizing, optimizing…without realizing that we’re optimizing things that don’t actually matter in the larger scheme of your organization. There’s no point in continually A/B testing a campaign and making incremental improvements if that campaign is no good in the first place. Hire smart people and give them decision-making autonomy so that they can steer you away from the seductive lure of data when needed.

Myth #6: Branding? We’ll Fix It In Post.

Marketing is like the roof of a house. You want to make sure it’s sitting on a sound structure before you call in the crane operator. Powerful marketing goes hand-in-hand with a strong brand and identifiable organizational culture. Those things need to exist so that you know who you’re serving, what products and services you’re offering, as well as how and why you’re reaching out to customers. Branding and marketing aren’t just add-ons you can slot into your organization. They should infuse your entire business, informing operations, product development, and communications. Marketing that’s disconnected from branding – not to mention branding that’s disconnected from the rest of your business – makes for an off-brand, low-impact effort.

Myth #7: The Intern Can Do It.

Social media? Ah, there’s nothing to it. Data analytics? Give it to the Gen Y kid, right? Wrong. Don’t make this mistake, friends. Marketing isn’t just something you hand off to entry-level team members juggling a gazillion different admin tasks. Marketing might seem simple and easy, but that’s because there are a ton of smart people behind it, making it look that way. An effective marketing campaign requires a dedicated team with a well-honed knowledge of your business, products and services, and the market as a whole. They also need to have a holistic understanding of your marketing channels, how those work together, and what has worked – or not – in the past. Don’t fall for the myth that marketing is secondary to your actual product. Marketing should be equal to and aligned with product development, so direct your resources accordingly.

Let Us Help you Separate Myth from Reality.

At StellaPop, we’re myth-busters from way back. Give us a marketing truism, and we’ll let you know whether you’ve got real gold or leprechaun money. For marketing insights and campaigns that leverage data, experience, and the best of human intuition, we’re the team to call. Get in touch – and let’s help you make the shift from myth-chasing to money-making.



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