5 Horrible Marketing Lies (as seen on the internet)

5 Very Common Marketing Lies to Avoid
5 Very Common Marketing Lies to Avoid. Photo: Carmella Fernando
I spend a good deal of time on the internet studying marketing. More than most. As a student of the marketing game, I’m a subscriber to a ridiculous number of blogs and email lists. I consider it part of my business to observe what others are doing. What works? What…clearly…doesn’t work? What mistakes are being made in online marketing? By studying these things, I can avoid those mistakes in my own business. By reading this post, so can you.

Here’s a list of flat out lies that I’ve seen masqueraded as truth lately:

All I need to do is create great content

Nope. Effective marketing isn’t passive. It never has been. Never will be. If you subscribe to the “build it and they will come” school of thought, you’re gonna be disappointed. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Don’t wait for customers to figure out why or how to buy from you. People don’t work that way.
  • Great content is bait. You still need a hook and a line. And a pole. And some damn initiative.
  • Producing great content and stopping there is like simply throwing your bait into the water and walking away. Happy fish. Broke ass business owner.

My product sells itself

No. It really doesn’t. No offer is so good that it “sells itself”. An offer can be made to be so compelling that it’s truly a “no brainer”, but it still needs to be presented effectively and delivered tactfully to a targeted audience. Your audience does not have ESP.

Traditional marketing doesn’t work

This is a horribly flawed assumption. The reason I say “assumption” is because this bias is rarely founded on research. It’s mostly based on a matter of preference. I’ll admit, I’d personally much rather write a blog post than design a direct mail piece. For real. But the fact is that the most efficient and effective way to reach your audience depends entirely on your audience, not your preferences. Just because one form of marketing makes sense to you doesn’t mean your prospects will respond to it.

Direct mail is making a serious comeback. You can easily upload television ads straight through Google. In more and more cases, using only internet marketing just means you’re leaving money on the table. There’s a good chance your business should consider a hybrid of online and offline marketing. They work really well together.

Stuff is dead…or dying

We’ve heard it all. Twitter is deadBlogging is doomed. Blogging is dead…againThe internet is dead. Yeah, right. You’re reading a blog right now…on the internet…and there’s a fair chance you got here from a link on Twitter. Stuff isn’t dead. If it’s not working for you, you’re just not using it effectively. That’s good news, because if there’s a tactical error somewhere, it’s totally correctable.

Hey look at this, the answer to all my problems!!!

There’s always a new product, system or guaranteed, turnkey, “set it and forget it” marketing phenomenon on the horizon. Go buy it. I’m sure your business will explode overnight. Oh wait, maybe not 🙂

Let me be clear, there is huge value in having a system. And investing in a course, an ebook or two here and there can save you an immense amount of time and hassle. But there’s a trick to all of this. You have to implement. If not, you fall victim to what Michael Martine recently referred to as “shiny object syndrome”. He also recently published a great guest post from Rachael Acklin about this problem. Don’t go there.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: have you spent at least 200 solid hours earnestly executing what you learned in the last course or product you bought? If not, it’s not time to be looking at anything else, no matter how awesome it looks. Let’s be honest. There are a lot of information product junkies out there, and it generally doesn’t pay very well.

No doubt there are many other lies out there to which we can fall victim. These are the 5 I’ve seen most often lately. It’s true that web-based marketing is here to stay, but the point we often miss is that business fundamentals HAVEN’T changed.

A blog is hands-down one of the most powerful tools you can use to market your business. Not because it’s some shiny new toy, but simply because it’s a way to communicate with a large number of people in a personal way at very low cost. Bottom line, it ain’t the tool; it’s how you use it!

Christian Russell is the blogger behind Dangerous Tactics, a unique small business marketing strategies blog with no tolerance for B.S. His latest report, How to Get (a lot) More Leads from Your Website teaches you – surprisingly – how to get a lot more leads from your website 🙂

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5 Responses

  1. G’Day Christian,
    Absolutely spot on, particularly the last three. I’ve had a blog for a little over a year. In that time I’ve seen more people trying to reinvent enough wheels to keep the vehicles of the Roman legions on the road for a century.

    As a colleague pointed out to me almost a decade ago: web marketing is old fashioned mail order gift wrapped in new technology.

    Here’s some grist for your mill, Christian. In 1981, Al Ries and Jack Trout published “Positioning, The Battle For the Mind.” It became a bestseller.

    Earlier this year, 2011, that same book was voted “best marketing book ever” by the readers of “Advertising Age.”

    A lot of the stuff that lands in my email inbox reminds me of something that Mark Twain once said. “It aint what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for certain that just aint so.”

    Make sure you have fun



  2. Leon, your comment — above — nailed it. Exceptionally well said.

    Laughed with a very old friend a few days ago about the day that in ’81 we each got our first copy of “Positioning.” Nobody saw us for a day and a half. It is (still) the communications owner’s manual for the human mind.

    Kindest regards,

  3. My issue with traditional marketing is that although not dead it is on life support. When is the last time you picked up a yellow pages to find a local business. Google has replaced the “traditional phone book” as a away to find local business.

    I would also like to point out how local search is being underutilized in terms of marketing and the internet. So far all but one of my clients is local, that said all business is usually done locally for a product or service. Far to often I see that many local businesses focus their web advertising globally instead of the local market, this is a waste of resources. The good news is that this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of local search.

    You stated that email marketing is making a comeback, I agree and disagree. I like headway therefore there is a 50 50 chance of me opening your news letter take today for example. That said there are numerous times I just ignore it.

    The point I am making is that even though I sign up for a product or email information doesn’t mean I necessarily want to be bombarded with that.

    For the record I love Headway and the information you provide.

  4. Great observations especially the 200 hours. I found things really started to move when I learned the value of one thing: consistency. The scattered approach doesn’t work. Picking a few marketing things and doing them consistently for a long while eventually gets traction. Too many people give up too soon, especially if they don’t see instant results. Going from selling 347 eBooks in January to over 100,000 in July this year was a result of taking a longer view.

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