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Five marketing myths debunked for 2019

Like in any industry, marketing has created something of a folklore around certain issues. Years of experience coupled with warnings from fellow industry workers combine to inform behaviors of how people should act when faced with certain situations.

Whilst some of these lessons can be useful, a lot have been subject to the phenomenon of hearsay, or “Chinese whispers”, meaning these teachings are slowly distorted and morphed into something which have no basis in reality.

This unfortunately leads to a lot of misconceptions concerning common marketing practices which can lead to them being misused or abandoned completely.

Here is a breakdown of five marketing myths that, if overheard in the office, you should take no notice of.

  1. “Good products don’t need publicity”

This statement evokes the core theme which runs through Kevin Costner’s 1989 piece de resistance, Field of Dreams – “Build it and they will come”.

A nice statement, and a classic Hollywood flick, but one which unfortunately bashes against the realms of marketing reality.

To be fair…this one is usually spoken by those who work outside of the marketing world. Perhaps a well-meaning if not misguided executive who, having seen the latest creation your brand has put together will exclaim something like “Our users will love this! I can’t wait to see how many shares this gets!”.

A nice statement, immediately tarnished when they’re pushed to answer how much paid social/PR budget the team have to support its release, only to receive this response…

Well, we’ve spent enough creating the thing itself, so if it’s that good it shouldn’t need much. People should want to share it anyway!”

Oh dear.

Whilst this is a nice thought, unfortunately  social media algorithms and the pure volume of activity from brands today mean those who are not putting the time and budget behind supporting these creative endeavors will usually find their efforts fall on deaf ears.

It’s a reality which can be disconcerting to those holding the purse strings. The knowledge that they have to spend more budget to get success out of the thing they already spent big on to create can be a stark truism to face, but one we must.

There is an upside to this reality. The vast variety of promotions avenues marketers can explore to promote creative is vast, meaning if spent in the right way, brands have the chance to get in front of the perfect people who will enjoy their content, which in turn can create organic, even viral, pick up from the initial burst of paid activity.

  1. “I only need PR when I’m in trouble”

To many, the sector of Public Relations evokes the image of “The Thick of It” style scenarios, with people running around, phones glued to the side of their heads explaining why the latest marketing slip up was an innocent error and not an attack on people’s civil liberties.

Whilst crisis management is an important service that PR need to be able to execute, all crisis management and no brand awareness can make your business appear as if all they do is put out fires…not a good look.

Of course, if you are drawn into crisis management, try and pull it off as well as KFC did earlier this year, when they were guilty of running out of…chicken. A bad look for a chicken restaurant, but the reaction by KFC to this unfortunate event was outstanding.

Promoting a positive brand identity and getting in front of people for activity which is positive not negative is a core deliverable of modern PR teams, and should be the focus for any business.

A good example of this recently was Lacoste’s “Save our Species” campaign, in which they removed their iconic crocodile logo for a new range of polos and in its place featured an endangered animal to highlight the importance of conservation efforts.

As the video explains, the number of polos created featuring each animal, corresponded to the number of these animals still living in the wild. A powerful message which managed to tie in the Lacoste brand effectively and put them in a positive light.

  1. “Big placement sites no longer link and therefore there is no value to them”

One for all you link building fans out there.

Digital PR’s will know all too well the pain of securing some amazing coverage on mainstream titles such as the Daily Mail or The Telegraph, only to be greeted with a stony faced SEO who simple asks “Where’s the link?”.

It’s no secret that major news networks have dramatically cut back on their linking habits, with policies inputted by overeager web managers, meaning journalists are either explicitly told not to link, or a web filter simply strips any link additions out, or adds a no follow tag.

For many, this dramatically reduces the appeal of being featured on these titles, with the time and effort spent achieving placements on these platforms, simply not worth the return.

But guess what? These people are wrong.

Mainstream titles featuring your content should always be a goal for three main reasons…

The awareness aspect

Being quoted as an expert in a certain industry on a national media outlet is a sure-fire way of building your brand identity as a trustworthy source of information. Couple this with the fact in terms of “eyeballs” these media houses will get you on front of more than 99% of other news sites, it’s a no-brainer to target these if you’re after publicity.

The prospective SEO value

spongebob but where's the link prospective SEO

“BuT tHeRe’S nO lInK” Yes, yes, thank you we’ve covered that. Fortunately, a follow link isn’t the only thing that influences SERPs in 2018 and there’s evidence to suggest that Google uses far more comprehensive methods to attribute value to determine SERPs.

Documents show that Google has a patent that indicates the company is working towards (or already has) technology which is able to apply value to implied links (brand mentions) meaning high profile mentions you build for your brand, could move the needle in terms of search rankings.

There’s also the small matter of the amount of organic coverage these high profile media placements can spawn. Independent websites are happy to “take inspiration” from major news outlets, meaning your news story could start popping in places you’ve never even heard of! If these placements decide to link to your website…suddenly your “useless placement” turns into a stroke of genius.

The prestige

Sometimes a standard link building campaign just isn’t enough for some clients. Sometimes you need to place a cherry on top of these placements, and deliver a placement which will have your client purring over. Something they can tell their bosses about and get themselves (as well as your agency) into the good books.

That’s what these big placements do, they top everything off and showcase that, yes, the content you created is world class, and here is the proof!

  1. “Only certain types of businesses can benefit from content marketing”

As a proud employee of a content marketing agency, this is one myth I’ve seen debunked time and time again. This year’s State of Content Marketing Survey showcased the power of the industry and how its only gaining in popularity as time passes. Missing out on this marketing boom just because of the niche you’re working in is a nonsense!

Whether you’re working in the textiles industry, the funeral industry or even the industrial drone industry (yes that’s a thing) if you’re seeing a competitor dominate SERPs you can guess they’re probably carrying out content marketing.

If you need an example of content marketing and SEO in action, take a look at our case study of our work with printer cartridge company Toner Giant and how we helped increase their search visibility by 800%.

  1. “You can’t truly be creative when working with a brand”

It’s true that there can be quite a lot red tape when it comes to producing campaigns for a brand. You have to get sign off from a seemingly endless list of people and if you’re one of the lucky firms to be blessed with a compliance team, things can take a long time to get through.

However, without creativity a brands marketing is doomed to failure, and brands who embrace the sparks of inspiration from their marketing team will find themselves making the biggest strides in the long run.

There have been plenty of examples over the past year which support the reality that creativity is far from dead in the marketing world. Here are some of my favorites.

A giant Jeff Goldblum

 a giant jeff goldblum

NOWTV erected a giant statue of a shirtless Jeff Goldblum to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur epic Jurassic Park. Mr Goldblum is an internet favorite and this statue attracted mass amounts of social shares and additional tourism to Potters Field!

Diesel’s Knock off store

Diesel decided to take on people’s perception of counterfeit goods by setting up a pop up store on New York’s Canal Street which sold items under the moniker “Deisel”.

Every single piece sold in the shop was 100% real and actually created especially for the stunt itself. This idea played on the public’s knowledge of knock off goods and asked whether we could actually identify good quality products from the bad without the help of labels.

As the video shows, it turns out we might not be so adept at it as we may think.

SpaceX & Tesla launch a car into outer space

It’s a good thing Elon Musk uses his powers for good instead of evil isn’t it? This mad scientist/entrepreneur decided to have a go at PR & marketing earlier this year and by doing so created one of the most iconic images of the year.

He launched one of his Tesla Roadsters into orbit back in February, not only giving exposure to the maiden flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, but also gave millions of people their first look at the red electric car.

What better place to debut your futuristic vehicle than in the infinite vastness of space? Now if that’s not creative, I don’t know what is.

So, what do you think? Have you heard any of these before? Have you listened to any of these and then realized they were a bunch of hot air?

Let me know your own favorite marketing myths and join in the busting fun. Because Ray Parker Jr was right, busting really does make you feel good.

Alex Jones is a Campaign Manager at Zazzle Media.

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