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"Great mind thinks alike. Creative minds think differently."
- Saba Karim

The worst advice I've ever heard about marketing

Marketing is one of most difficult challenges for any enterprise. Presuming that a company offers worthwhile goods or credible services, the product is not an issue and there are necessary departments offering enough support for the company to function optimally as a whole – the only roadblock on the path to success is sales. Whether we call it advertising or marketing, promotions or branding, they all have the same goal, to generate leads which should lead to sales.

There is no dearth of marketing advice in the galactic network. One quick Google search and you would get hundreds of websites, thousands of blog posts, dozens of eBooks and innumerable people offering apparently precious marketing advice. In the mayhem, a lot of horrible marketing advice has become mantras for many. Startups in particular, tend to believe the advice that suits their circumstances. Whether you run a traditional business or are an innovative startup, here is a glimpse of the worst advice you can rely on for marketing.

"You don't need a budget for Marketing"

With search engine optimization (SEO) facilitating organic searches, open source content management systems allowing you to build websites for free, social media networks that don’t cost money along with video sharing sites and article directories that allow businesses to use myriad types of contents to promote their products or services, many people tend to infer that one can work on marketing with little or no budget. This is very wrong advice. Whether it is SEO or social media marketing, articles or video marketing, everything will call for expertise. It is almost impossible for a single individual to specialize in all forms of content marketing. Also, a startup or a small-to-medium enterprise will not have enough people to work on these apparently no budget marketing campaigns. Marketing needs money. Do not believe otherwise. 

"If you keep reaching out to potential clients, they'll definitely end up buying one day."

Many so called experts tend to propagate the efficacy of flooding clients or prospective customers with emails, tweets, posts and texts, even calls at times. This kind of marketing is essentially spamming. You cannot bombard your audience constantly with ads, links or any kind of content. Allow your audience to be and let them get back to you if they think the product or service you're offering is suitable.

"All you need is to go viral once, and then you'll be swimming in money"

Everyone seems to be vying to go viral. There is nothing known as the viral phenomenon - no one knows what goes viral. Sure, comic videos or what made the likes of Justin Bieber a household name will go viral. But the same cannot be said about product videos, contents showcasing your service or promotional content of a company – even if they have discounts and coupons. The more limited your target audience is, the harder it is to create content that would have even the remotest possibility of going viral. You can certainly work on content that would get liked, shared and talked about but you cannot develop your marketing strategy relying on the bleak prospect of going viral.

"You can just do it yourself. You don't need to outsource it or get a marketing expert"

This is another advice that many people offer these days. Although unsolicited, this advice is music to many ears. There are marketing agencies that sadly charge a fortune so any business that can do without paying the lofty fees will obviously want to take that route. However, this DIY route is not for marketing, unless there is someone in the company who knows a lot about advertising, branding, promotion and sales. On top of that, it is almost impossible for a marketer to know all facets and mediums of marketing - everything from SEO to in-shop promotions, commercials to PR and press releases. These are very specializations and those who are experts have spent years mastering their skills. You may have all the self-help books in the world and you may be an avid learner but you will need some help in some aspects of marketing. For example, it is very rare for someone to be a great copywriter and an amazing coder. Just look at history, Steve Jobs had Wozniak, Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen, and Larry Page did it with Sergey Brin. You can't do it alone.

"Traditional marketing is dead"

The Internet is the most dominating medium today. Excluding the primetime shows on popular television channels, sure, the Internet is the truly omnipresent and omnipotent mass media. But that doesn’t make all traditional forms of marketing irrelevant. I still get mail, I know families who still use coupons, and no doubt pedestrians still look at billboards, shoppers still look for the sale signs at stores and from radio to print, all kinds of mediums are still very relevant to keep customers informed. The impact may have been reduced a little since people have the convenience of finding what they need online. But not everything is searched for online. Traditional marketing can and does co-exist with internet marketing. The trick is to figure out how to use both to benefit your business.

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