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The 7 biggest marketing LIES of all-time

 Nutrients, Supplements, Vitamins, and Health

How to avoid undercutting your business

success through marketing myths.


This article is brought to you by special permission from the author, Timothy Wenk of www.ImproveYourMarketing.com

"I've been told this article is controversial, but I'm just telling it like it is."
- Timothy Wenk,


They say 'better marketing' will bring you an endless flow of new customers.


It NEVER works out that way!


Here's the answer: It's not your fault! . . . because . . .

They are STOPPING YOU from getting more customers...


The 7 biggest marketing LIES of all-time, and how to avoid them.


You are a small business owner...
You want to increase sales, get more customers, and boost your profits...
So you go to an ad agency or PR firm for help, and here's what they tell you:

"You need to advertise more. Get your name and logo out there. That way, when someone needs what you sell, you'll be the company they think of."

They just told you THREE LIES in a row!
Did you catch 'em all?

LIE #1: "You need to advertise more."

Sounds good. But this is actually false. For most small businesses, traditional "advertising" is probably the least effective way to get more customers and increase your profits. Therefore "advertising" should be the last thing you do, not the first.

WHY do they tell you this lie? Simple. Because they make money from comissions when you buy ad space through them. The more ads you buy, the more money for them.
Here's the TRUTH: Did you know there are dozens of low-cost/no-cost marketing strategies that are, dollar-for-dollar, far more effective than ads at getting you more customers?

What can you do to AVOID this lie?
The next time you're at the bookstore, pick up a copy of this neat little book:
"Marketing Without Advertising," by Michael Phillips and Salli Rasber, Nolo Publishing.
It'll really open your eyes!

LIE #2: "Get your name and logo out there."

This lie plays upon your pride in your company. It assumes that the public will buy what you are offering based on your company name and logo.

WHY do they tell you this lie? Because every small business owner has tremendous pride in their company. You included. They are stroking your ego.
Here's the TRUTH: Your prospective customers do not care one whit about your company name or logo. They only care about what you can do for them!(I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you that)

What can you do to AVOID this lie?
Figure out why your current customers like what you sell and how you sell it (ask them!).
Once you discover this info, make that be the focus of all your sales materials (brochures, business cards, websites). Make that really big and unmistakable... and make your company name and logo less prominent.
Again, no one cares about your company name and logo -- they only care about what you can do for them!

LIE #3: "That way, when someone needs what you sell, you'll be the company they think of."

Don't get me started! This is the sneakiest lie of them all -- and the one that makes me the most mad.

When you hear the truth about this lie, you're gonna get mad too!
In this lie, they encourage you to go with "Image" or "Institutional" advertising. This is the type of advertising that the giant corporations use, like Burger King.
The idea is, if you get your name in front of enough people, eventually they will buy from you.
"Image" advertising like this takes millions of dollars and years to work... and even then it's not a sure bet! Even the "big boys" who spend the millions required often need to fire their ad agencies because their "image" ads are not effective.

WHY do they tell you this lie? Why do ad agencies and PR firms try to get you do "image" advertising, even though it is rarely effective? -- Listen carefully... because...

Here's where it gets really sneaky...

"Image" advertising is not trackable! There is no way to tell if it is working or not! That's why ad agencies love "image" advertising.
What do I mean by 'not trackable?' Well, with "image" ads, there is no way to directly attribute incoming customers to the ads.
Here's the TRUTH: If you do get more customers, the ad agency will tell you it is because of the ads (even though there's no way to prove that)... And, if you don't get more customers, they'll tell you you just need to advertise MORE -- and that it will work... eventually!
You see, with "image" ads, they have you coming + going!

What can you do to AVOID this lie?
If you must advertise, be sure to use direct response ads. These are ads that directly ask the audience to respond to you. Since the customers are responding directly to the ad (and to YOU), these ads are trackable.
You can objectively quantify the results of each and every ad! That way, you can eliminate what is not working, and double-up on the ads that are working!
Most ad agencies and PR firms hate direct response ads! Why? Simple. Because, with direct response ads, you can tell if their ads are getting you more profits or not.
Direct response ads allow you to call their bluff when they tell you it "pays" to advertise! Usually the only way advertising "pays" is the money you pay them!

Questions? Email me... WENK@ImproveYourMarketing.com

Want to know about more lies?

Okay, here's...

LIE #4: "Getting attention is the SAME THING as effective marketing."

This lie is everywhere!
This lie was more recently popularized during the dot-com "new economy" as "EYEBALLS = PROFITS." Well, we all know the dot-com "bubble" burst and hundreds of companies went bankrupt because they believed that "eyeballs = profits."
Yet this lie still goes on and on!
Look at the June, '03 issue of Business 2.0 magazine. On page 75, there is a giant article about their annual "Sweet Spot" marketing awards.
They gave out awards to marketing firms for their "innovative" and "clever" ad campaigns -- because of how much "attention" they got for their clients.
Here's the letter to the editor I wrote to the magazine (I'll be amazed if they print it!)...

Dear Business 2.0 Editor...

Your "Sweet Spot" awards (June, '03) perpetuates one of the most dangerous, expensive, and oft-believed marketing myths of all time...


Marketing is not the same thing as attracting attention!

You know the cute little Taco Bell doggie? -- He got Taco Bell talked about around millions of water coolers across America for months and months -- Lots of attention... But the campaign did not result in increased sales of tacos. So they had to fire the cute little doggie. Awwww.
Did you know Duracell is still the number one battery in the US? -- Despite the fact that Energizer's attention-getting Bunny campaign is still "going and going."
Your article raves about how many 'impressions' were made and how little money was spent for each impression -- Never stopping to ask how many of those 'impressions' were converted into paying customers!
Giving marketing awards for how much attention campaigns bring the client is an inaccurate way of judging a campaign's true effectiveness. It only encourages the self-congratulatory game that is played between 'clever' agencies and blind clients.
By joining in this nonsense you are just putting more notches in these agencies' slick, smug, trendy bedposts.
You are sending the wrong message and taking your eye off the ball.
The real rule of truly effective marketing is: "If it doesn't result in more actual paying customers handing over their cash or typing in their credit card numbers, it doesn't count!"

WHY do they tell you this lie? Because it's relatively easy to attract attention. It's not so easy to get people to part with their money and become paying customers.
Here's the TRUTH: If I go to New York and walk down Wall Street naked, telling everyone about my stock offering, I'll certainly get plenty of attention -- but I will not sell any stocks, now will I?

What can you do to AVOID this lie?
Make sure all your marketing attracts attention... and make sure that all your marketing also converts this attention into sales, paying customers, and profits!
Anything less is just useless -- the marketing equivalent of "kissing your sister."

LIE #5: "Marketing is expensive and complicated."

Another doozie! Of course ad agencies and PR firms are gonna say that! It is in their best interest to have you believe that! It's all part of their 'mystique.'
WHY do they tell you this lie? The more you believe that they are magical wizards who speak a mystical language you'll never understand, the more they can continue to pick your pockets clean!

Here's the TRUTH: There are dozens of marketing strategies you can use to get more customers and boost profits. Most of these strategies are no-cost or low-cost and do not involve traditional "advertising."
You do not need ad agencies or PR firms to implement these strategies -- But, of course, the agencies don't want you to even know about these strategies -- Because once you find out about the strategies, you won't need them anymore!

What can you do to AVOID this lie?
Find out about these low-cost/no-cost marketing strategies and use them to get more customers, increase sales, and boost your profits!
Learn from the masters and experts. Like Jay Abraham, Jay Conrad Levinson (Guerrilla Marketing series), Dan Kennedy, Gary Halbert, Bob Serling, and Peter Sun.
Their stuff will blow your mind... and rescue you from all the lies!

Questions? Email me... WENK@ImproveYourMarketing.com

Now we come to LIE #6 and LIE #7 ...

I left these for last...



because these are LIES YOU TELL YOURSELF!

...and you need to be brave to hear these lies.

LIE #6: "I shouldn't NEED to market my product/service."

As a marketing consultant, I run into this lie a lot. This is an offshoot of the old "build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door" myth. Also known as "my product sells itself."
The feeling is, the sales you get from active, outgoing marketing efforts don't really count. Like the boxer who wins a fight using steroids -- It's somehow not a 'legitimate' win.
Or, maybe you feel that active marketing is akin to begging -- And, you think, 'real' companies should never need to 'resort' to begging.
WHY do you tell yourself this lie? It's a matter of pride. It just feels better when your product/service "sells itself." To be "in demand."

Here's the TRUTH: Yes, your product/service will 'sell itself' to a certain extent. But if you stop there, you are only getting about 10% of the sales you could get if you also used effective marketing techniques.
The question becomes: Are you willing to let your 'pride' stop you from getting the other 90% of the customers?!? -- The customers you are not reaching when you let yourself subscribe to the "better mousetrap" theory.
Think about it.

Do not leave ninety percent of the money 'on the table' just because you think your product/service should be able to 'sell itself!!' What can you do to AVOID this lie?
Start marketing more aggressively. When I say 'agressively," I do not mean make your marketing more 'pushy' and 'obnoxious!' I mean make your marketing more thorough and far-reaching. Explore more avenues and systematize your follow-up. Make your marketing more constant and consistant. Leave no stone unturned.
Change your attitude. Realize that your competition has already changed their attitude -- and they are marketing actively!
Here's a saying that I came up with to help you get into the right mindset to market properly...

"You won't MAKE IT if you 'MEEK IT' when you MARKET."

Another way of seeing this mindset is my DART and DARTBOARD analogy...
The dart actively seeks its target, while the dartboard just hangs on the wall... waiting.
Most small business owners concentrate on developing incoming marketing methods. That is, they implement marketing methods that end in the phrase "when they find me."
Like, "this is what I'll tell the prospect, when they find me."
Or "this is what the signs in my store will say, when they find me."
Or "this is how my website will work, when they find me."
All passive, incoming marketing. Knowing exactly what to do "when they find you."
That is you as the stationary dartboard and the customer as the moving dart. Where you make every effort to 'catch' the incoming dart.

Dartboard Dart
YouYour (potential) customers

That is all legitimate marketing, to be sure. And all very important to your success.

But there's another side to marketing! A side that many small business owners miss or even intentionally avoid!
That's active, outgoing marketing.
That's where you are the active dart and the audience is the passive dartboard.

Dart Dartboard
YouYour (potential) customers

This is not about knowing what to say when they call you -- It's about you ACTIVELY GETTING THEM TO CALL YOU IN THE FIRST PLACE! Here's another example of the dart and dartboard theory in action...
When most businesses get a website, the first thing they want to do is register the site with all the search engines. If you leave it at that, you are making the audience into the dart, and you into the dartboard, waiting to 'receive' the incoming darts (customers).
The reality is, if you merely register your site with the search engines, it's like going into your local library, pulling a book off the shelf, inserting your business card into the book, putting the book back on the shelf, then going home, AND WAITING FOR YOUR PHONE TO RING!
You must go beyond this passive approach, and actively drive people to your site (perhaps using (coded/trackable) direct mail). That's being active and outgoing. That's making the audience into the passive, waiting dartboard, and you into the active, outgoing dart!
Remember, see you as the active, moving, outgoing dart, and your potential customers as the passive, stationary, accepting dartboard. Not the other way around!


LIE #7: "Marketing is EVIL!"

Sounds crazy, but many small business owners -- in the back of their minds -- really think this! They think marketing is all about lying, twisting the truth, deception, persuading people to do things they don't want to do, manipulation, etc.!

WHY do you tell yourself this lie? Perhaps because you think that, in order to market something, you have to become a slick used car salesman, able to twist people's arms with a sleazy sales pitch.

Here's the TRUTH: While, a long time ago, slick sales techniques did work, these days the opposite is true (thank God!)...
TRUTH sells! Being completely honest with people is the only way to market effectively! People are very savvy -- they can smell a rat from a thousand miles away. They can see through all the slick crap out there! That kind of deceptive marketing does not work!

What can you do to AVOID this lie?

That's easy! Be honest! If you are having a sale, tell them why you are having a sale. As Jay Abraham puts it "let them know the method behind your madness."

Also remember that your marketing efforts not only have to be true, they have to be believable (something can be true, but not believable). To make the truth more believable, insert more details. If you have 107 satisfied customers, don't say "over 100," say "107." Give exact details and plenty of them. Makes your customers know you are legitimate and 'for real!'

Questions? Email me... WENK@ImproveYourMarketing.com

Content reprinted with permission. © Copyright 2004 Timothy Wenk All Rights Reserved www.ImproveYourMarketing.com



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