10 business marketing myths debunked

Ten common myths that hinder small businesses from taking control of their marketing.

When it comes to marketing a small business, there are some truths that we hold dear.

We understand the importance of return on investment (ROI) because budgets are tight, we know that effective marketing can make or break a business, and we’re aware that it’s often the owner or founder who handles marketing responsibilities.

However, amidst these harsh truths, there are also numerous myths that hinder small businesses from taking control of their marketing and steering it towards success.

As someone who has supported small and medium-sized businesses in marketing for the past eight years, I’ve identified these myths and I’m here to debunk them.

Myth 1: Marketing is constantly changing and it is hard to keep up

This is a common misconception. While marketing technology may evolve (e.g., changes in social media platforms), it doesn’t change as rapidly as you might think. Underneath all the technology, there are simple marketing techniques that remain consistent, rooted in the timeless behaviours of the humans we aim to engage with. By focusing on the core principles of understanding your target audience, creating compelling messaging, and delivering value, you can build a strong foundation for your marketing efforts.

Myth 2: There is a secret trick to marketing

I wish. Unfortunately, there’s no magic trick that guarantees marketing success. Behind every successful business and marketing campaign lies a trail of experiments, tests, and failed attempts. It’s about embracing best practices and learning from the experiences of others. Instead of searching for a secret formula, focus on understanding your unique value proposition, identifying your target market, and delivering your message consistently across different channels.

Myth 3: I need to get a formal education to be good at it

While some education may be helpful, formal learning doesn’t guarantee success over anyone else. Marketing is a dynamic field where practical experience and adaptability are often more valuable. Embrace learning from any available source, including testing and experimenting within your own business. Stay up to date with industry trends, attend webinars or workshops, and engage with online communities to expand your knowledge and network.

Myth 4: Marketing is expensive

Yes, marketing can be expensive, especially when considering traditional advertising methods or large-scale campaigns. However, not all marketing strategies require a big budget. In fact, there are countless ways to turn strangers into loyal fans that cost little to no money at all. Leveraging digital platforms such as social media, content marketing, and email marketing allows you to reach your target audience effectively without breaking the bank. Focus on creating valuable content, engaging with your audience, and nurturing relationships to drive organic growth. Even just employing different sales strategies can transform your business through the number of leads you convert into customers.

Myth 5: I need to outsource all of it

False. While it’s true that marketing can feel overwhelming, and certain aspects may require specific technical expertise, there are plenty of tasks that you can handle yourself with consistency, patience, and free resources. 

Myth 6: I need to keep all of it in house

Conversely, this is also false. While it’s important to maintain control over your marketing strategy, there are times when outsourcing certain tasks or seeking external expertise can be beneficial. Marketing agencies or freelancers can provide specialised skills and insights, help you navigate new platforms or technologies, and save you time and effort. The key is to strike a balance between in-house and outsourced marketing to maximise your resources and achieve your goals effectively.

Myth 7: My competitors know something I don’t

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your competitors possess some secret knowledge or strategy that sets them apart. However, the reality is that you may be overestimating everyone else around you. You already possess the necessary tools, experience, and insights to succeed beyond them. Letting go of this myth will instil the confidence you need to thrive. Instead of focusing solely on your competitors, invest your energy in understanding your target audience, identifying their needs, and delivering value that sets you apart from the competition.

Myth 8: My competitors are spending more money on marketing than me

Often, this is also a myth. It’s natural to assume that your competitors have bigger budgets or are doing more than you. However, the reality may be different. You may be more aware of their advertising efforts, or they may have simply found a formula that works for them. Or else they’ve captured your cookies and you just think they’re spending a lot of money because you see their ads everywhere.

Myth 9: Any DIY marketing efforts I make are going to be terrible

Absolutely false! DIY doesn’t equate to poor quality. In fact, investing your time in marketing can be more valuable than any money you spend because you possess an intimate understanding of your own business. Imagine the compounding effect of spending just 2.5 hours per week on your marketing efforts. That’s nearly 20 working days dedicated to marketing in a year, while many of your competitors may be doing nothing at all. Additionally, there is an abundance of tools available to help you execute marketing activities effectively. Whether it’s designing graphics, scheduling social media posts, or analysing data, there are user-friendly and affordable resources that empower you to take control of your marketing efforts.

Myth 10: A strategy is the same as a plan

A strategy, much like an idea, a dream, a wish, a theory – is not the same at all as an actionable plan. You need both. You need not only the strategy to get you to your goals with marketing but you need the step by step plan that you can implement to help you achieve it. You need to know what to do with any time you dedicate to marketing or any money that you have to allocate to it. You need to know when it’s working, when to abandon it, or pivot. A plan is very different from a strategy and combining the two is a misstep.

By debunking these common myths, you can gain a clearer perspective on small business marketing and empower yourself to make informed decisions. Embrace the opportunities available to you, leverage your unique strengths, and focus on building authentic connections with your audience.

Remember, successful marketing is not about magic tricks or enormous budgets. Identify exactly where you are losing customers on their journey from stranger to fan and then work consistently on improving.

With the right mindset and a willingness to learn and adapt, you can achieve remarkable results and drive your small business to new heights of success.

Amy Miocevich is author of The Very Good Marketing Guide and founder of Lumos Marketing. www.verygoodmarketing.com.au

This article was first published in the September/October issue of INCLEAN magazine.

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