With many years in digital marketing, I can tell you what I see often in clients, colleagues and those new to the field. I feel that this dialogue is not only helpful for those looking to learn, but perhaps even for those who remain outside of marketing. If you are in digital marketing, you might find this relatable. Starting in digital marketing? You might find this helpful. Not affiliated to digital marketing whatsoever? You might find this eye-opening. Here are eight common misconceptions about digital marketing.
1) Anyone Can Do Digital Marketing
There is this concept that if you have a social media account, you are qualified to work in digital media. I have experienced this with colleagues, and could not disagree more. Just because I know how to count money, does not mean I am qualified to run a revenue department. However, I do think that people can learn how to build and execute digital media strategy through proper research, experience and learning. While I have a degree, I know a few people who have excelled greatly in this field without one.
2) More Time Equals More Results
Frustrating, right? I once had a naïve colleague suggest that if I put more time into a strategy, that I would see more results. While that sounds correct, my experience concludes that you could be placing less time into a strategy and actually see better results. The focus should be how you are executing it, rather than how much time you are applying. Just like in physically working out!
3) Knowing Your Analytics Immediately
A necessary factor in digital marketing is flexibility. Being able to create something, and then having to reconstruct it a few days, weeks or months later, and not feel disappointed about it. Most often, testing and patience is required. When testing fragments of a new strategy, it’s important to give it time to measure accurate results. Depending on what you are testing, I would recommend 2-4 weeks. I have had superiors who have scoffed at this, expecting an immediate result considering how advanced technology is nowadays. This has got to be one of the most common misconceptions about digital marketing. Unfortunately, time is required is you truly want to know about your audience and what works best for your brand.
4) More Social Media Channels, Less Problems
I have preached on this countlessly. I cannot begin to express how many people believe that more social media channels mean a stronger brand presence. From my experiences, this seems to be a result of multinational chains with every account imaginable. Like unrealistic super models for real people to try to aspire to. Before you start pushing at your social media guru to run 100+ accounts, take a second to remember that these legendary brands have established teams of marketing professionals focused on each channel. This is to ensure that brand presence is well maintained, and not diluted by too many social media channels in the hands of one exhausted executive.
5) That Digital Marketing means IT Department
I mean this humorously when I say that this has come up in every professional experience I have encountered. This doesn’t bother me, but it definitely falls on the ‘common misconceptions about digital marketing’ list. Yes, I can edit photos, craft campaigns and work an IPad faster than your parents. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should be asking me to fix your Mac products. Or appear shocked when I ask for help with the fax machine.
6) Simply Showing Up Means You Win
Nope nope nope. Having a website does not mean you should expect business. High quality products and branding will get you there. But not simply showing up. Think about how businesses respond to reviews. If someone complains about your product online, and you respond inappropriately or carelessly, you lose that client and also risk that client exposing your classless behavior online to others. See what I mean? The same follows for how we respond to clients on social media, tamper with crappy email marketing programs or failing to proof our web text. If you can’t do any of this efficiently, it is actually almost better to not do it at all. *Although, I will clarify that I do not endorse doing nothing.
7) Digital Marketing Directly Powers Sales
I get this question every few years. Sometimes in person, other times, online from strangers. Digital marketing is often perceived as a direct link to profit. Maybe in a specific way, it can be. But first and foremost, it should be the tool that you use to drive people to trust you and believe in you. This is likely one of the most frustrating yet common misconceptions about digital marketing. You can drive brand trust by highlighting your connections to the community. Featuring photos of your loveable employees. Perhaps your hottest and latest products or promotions. What you stand for as a brand. The latest deal your fans can use to earn a discount. Even a giveaway on social media. These are plenty of things that will attract fans to your brand, but also entice them to support or purchase from you at some point.
8) Blaming the Messenger
As a marketing professional, it can admittedly be easy to go to other brands online, and evaluate what they are doing. There are times when I would see something that I deem as unwise, and think “Wow, their marketing department must be new or less experienced.”
I realized that this may be one of the common misconceptions about digital marketing. This mindset is unfair to marketing departments, as it is not always the marketing team that has the final say on things. Unless you work for yourself, there will always be moments where the final say might feel questionable or confusing. Especially when the final say is executed by someone with a perspective outside of digital marketing. Even in my experience, there have been past occasions where I was asked to create something that I wasn’t a fan of. Considering how many demographics there are to cater to, as well as many other factors, try to avoid blaming the messenger. Or in other words, not everything created by a marketing team is thought up by the marketing team.
I hope you enjoyed reading up on the common misconceptions about digital marketing. If you are looking to brush up in a few areas, enjoy these pieces below.