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13 Digital Marketing Myths, Debunked
The real answers to those burning questions about email, social media, mobile devices, and big data.
For the rest of the April 2014 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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A carefully constructed marketing campaign can deliver serious sales revenue, but before it can run like a well-oiled machine, marketers need to answer a series of crucial questions that will ultimately determine how customers click, share, and buy. So is the ideal time to send promotional emails actually on a Tuesday morning? And should social media be a B2B-free zone? We're debunking 13 of the biggest digital marketing myths and revealing the truth behind these major misconceptions.

MYTH #1: Digital Marketing Is All About Technology

Like traditional marketing approaches, digital marketing campaigns take careful planning and execution. Despite the advent of automation technology that simplifies many tedious tasks for marketers and sales teams, powerful, innovative technology should not be a stand-in for "people-based changes," according to Mike Dolan, vice president of business development at enterprise Web design company Velir. "There are over a thousand digital platforms for companies to choose from as they're starting or reinventing their marketing campaign. But technology, even the right technology, isn't everything," he says.

For a business to exercise all of its technological potential, there need to be organizational and philosophical shifts throughout the company. While the print advertising mentality calls for serialized content, for example, the digital mentality should call for more ongoing, evolving content. Just because companies can rely on technology to do a lot of the heavy lifting doesn't mean that they can become negligent about content, according to Dolan.

MYTH #2: If You Build It, They Will Come

While this may have worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, crafting good content can build brand awareness, but won't always inspire customers to buy. According to Kevin Dubrosky, an independent marketing consultant, to turn awareness into conversion, businesses need to determine what makes them unique and distinguish themselves from the competition. As the mobile app marketplace has grown, for example, similar products can blur. Developers have to make their apps stand out. Dubrosky recently began working with the team behind the Amber Child Safety app to determine why their tool is better than others before building a marketing campaign around it.

"It just so happens that this app is the only one on the market that protects kids in six ways and is the only child safety system endorsed by Donna Norris, mother of the original nine-year-old Amber, who was abducted and murdered back in 1996, and who the Amber Alert was named after," Dubrosky explains. If AmberCS wasn't branded as the only system endorsed by Norris, or the system with the most protective elements, it would be "invisible in the market," he says.

MYTH #3: Social Media Is Too 'Noisy' for Effective Marketing

Social media can be a vicious circle—while a post with thousands of positive comments is a marketer's dream come true, a bit of controversial content can be his worst nightmare. Still, social media marketing can work; all that's missing, most of the time, is strategy. "There needs to be a plan in place. Because social media initiatives can backfire, there always needs to be a backup plan as well," says David Murdico, executive creative director at Supercool Creative, a digital agency specializing in social media marketing and creative services.

When working with video game developer Capcom, Supercool Creative missed the mark by launching a YouTube Web series that starred an attractive woman. The YouTube community responded with rude, misogynistic comments, and Murdico had two options—pull the plug on the series or fix it. Instituting Plan B, the company redesigned the campaign by widening it from a video blog to an interview setup and inviting top gamers to appear on the show.

"Every episode after that was victorious, and the series expanded its YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook subscriber bases considerably," Murdico says. "Though social media seems noisy, that noise is valuable feedback that can nip a product or image problem in the bud before it's too late to alter."

MYTH #4: Social Media Is Not for B2B Marketing

While B2C marketers worry about noise, B2B marketers worry about radio silence. Many are hesitant to use social media because they see it as not only a consumer haven, but also as a place for business-free downtime, according to Amit Lavi, an independent online strategy and marketing consultant. "What those in the B2B space fail to realize, however, is that social media is all about people, and behind every business is a group of people," he says. "Even if a CEO is on Twitter to take a break rather than to take advantage of a business opportunity, if he comes across a company he likes, he'll remember it," he adds. Furthermore, for B2B marketers, social media presents an opportunity to put a face on a business and connect with a lead on a personal, deeper level.

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