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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Working around marketing myths

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Everyone has their own ideas about what works and what doesn’t in marketing. Some trends, though, deserve to be exposed. Debra Murphy of Vista Consulting reveals 10 marketing myths to avoid:

  1. Marketing is advertising and sales. Actually, marketing is about educating your target market about your products and services and why they should buy from you, she says. “Marketing is everything you do to reach this target audience, whether it is advertising, direct marketing, Internet marketing, events, public relations, strategic partnerships or networking.”
  2. Lower prices encourage more people to buy. Murphy points out if that were true, no one would buy a BMW when they can get a Ford. The reason for so many options among types of products is people have different values. “That is why it is so important to target your product or service correctly so that you can provide the maximum value at the right price, not an artificially discounted price because you are trying to reach the wrong audience.”
  3. Offering a broad range of products and services ensures more sales. Overloading your prospect with too many decisions will kill the sale. By offering a convenient package at a perceived valuable price, you will sell more product and service than you would by trying to sell lots of giblets.
  4. E-mail marketing is no longer effective due to SPAM. E-mail marketing is still effective if done properly. People always want information, and providing it through an opt-in marketing program is a way to reach people you normally wouldn’t be able to. Murphy warns against buying a list from a less than reputable broker, though; sending out lots of e-mail to people who are not interested in what you have to offer is SPAM and should not be done. Building your own in-house e-mail list by encouraging visitors to your Web site to sign up for your newsletter or other type of correspondence.
  5. Great marketing works instantly. Although marketing can shorten the sales cycle, and some tactics can produce instant results, marketing is about sustained contact with your target audience to ensure they know who you are when they are about to buy. Marketing is an investment and like all good investments, they take time to achieve the greatest gains.
  6. Successful marketing campaigns win awards. Don’t work with ad agencies or Web design agencies that are more interested in winning an award than helping your business thrive, Murphy warns. Do you expect to keep clients if you’re serving your own interests instead of theirs? Why should you be treated any differently? You are paying them for their services, not to do something that will get them recognition. Keep in mind that even if your advertising and web design is artistically wonderful, you can still send the wrong message, not deliver the message clearly to your prospect, or mislead your prospect if the visual contradicts your brand.
  7. Internet marketing is all you need for marketing programs. Internet marketing is a cost-effective way to get your message out, but it’s not the only game in town. “We often refer to “integrated marketing” plans because it is the integration of many different types of marketing activities that drive visitors to your Web site, to call you or to buy,” Murphy says. “Don’t overlook the value of direct marketing, advertising, public relations, events, partnerships and networking to round out your marketing plan.”
  8. Messages need to be changed often, otherwise your marketing gets old. You may be getting bored with your campaign, but it takes repetition for your message to sink in for your audience. To protect yourself against the itch to change up your message, Murphy recommends building a marketing plan with options. “For example, if you are doing advertising, you can start a theme and change the image throughout the campaign, sending the same message to you clients. This eliminates potential boredom and increases interest.”
  9. Advertising sells product. Advertising builds awareness and generates leads. If you try to sell within your ad copy, you run the risk of turning off prospects looking for information. Save your sales pitch for after you get the prospect’s interest. The education process would include regular contact with them about your business, services, products and special offers you may have. This develops trust between you and your prospect, and will make it easier for them to eventually buy from you.
  10. Partnerships and alliances are for big companies. “We can’t do it all and having partners you trust helps your customer get what they need from you,” Murphy says. “Just because you are in the same business does not necessarily mean you are competition. Join forces to increase your resources, find areas they are stronger than you and utilize that aspect of their business, or package some services together to offer your clients more value for their money.”