The business world is full of myths, untested theories, fads, and outdated ideas. Below are 10 common marketing misconceptions. If you believe any of these myths, they could hold back the sales growth of your company:
1. Myth: Heavy buyers are more important for sales growth than light buyers.
Truth: The best way to grow sales is to attract more light buyers.
2. Myth: Clever advertising is the best advertising.
Truth: Effective ads always show a brand’s distinctive assets. Cleverness is a bonus.
3. Myth: Social media marketing trumps email marketing.
Truth: Email is 40X better at acquiring customers than all social media combined.
4. Myth: TV advertising is dead and too expensive.
Truth: TV still draws the widest audience and ads only cost around $.02 per person.
5. Myth: Social media is great because it’s free.
Truth: Facebook users must pay money to reach 80% of their own audience.
6. Myth: Cross-selling to current customers is the fastest way to grow revenue.
Truth: Cross-selling is hard because customer loyalty is lower than marketers think.
7. Myth: Giving away free content will cannibalize sales.
Truth: Offering free content is a low-cost effective way to gain new customers.
8. Myth: It costs 5X more to acquire new customers than selling to existing customers.
Truth: Focusing on customer retention over acquisition will destroy a brand’s growth.
9. Myth: Heavy buyers spread the more word-of-mouth than light buyers.
Truth: More of word-of-mouth comes from enthusiastic new buyers, not old buyers.
10. Myth: Wildfire Marketing only works with authors.
Truth: Wildfire Marketing currently consults with $100+ million corporations, large non-profits, major publishing houses, and top-tier authors to help grow their revenue.
May the truth set you free!
For research and further reading:
Myths 1,2,4,6,8,9 – How Brands Grow by Dr. Byron Sharp
Myth 3 – McKinsey Consulting
Myth 5 – Facebook
Myth 7 – O’Reilly Media
Myth image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Ron Tracy says
Nice list Rob. However, I believe that Myth #8 is actually true – it is more expensive to acquire new customers. While you are correct in saying that acquisition is essential to growth, it’s an expensive alternative to ignoring customer retention. Balancing the two – retention and acquisition – is what separates the pros from the amateurs.
Rob Eagar says
Thanks for your comment. Based on recent research I’ve seen from the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute (the world’s largest marketing science center), #8 is actually a myth. On the surface, it may seem more expensive to acquire new customers versus selling to existing customers. However, that mindset leads companies and marketers to focus on customer retention, rather than new customer acquisition. When companies prioritize retention over acquisition, sales growth has been proven to decline, which costs the company more money long-term. Therefore, the belief that it’s cheaper to focus on existing customers is a myth.
For a detailed explanation on this issue, read Chapter 3 in “How Brands Grow” by Dr. Byron Sharp.