Beware Of Free Marketing Advice

One thing about us marketers: We love to talk.

Blogs, social media and websites are so full of free marketing advice, it’s a wonder there’s any room left in the cloud. But if your company is attempting to use this free information to learn about marketing and decide whether to invest in a campaign, be careful. With free advice, you get what you pay for, and what you pay for is mostly confusion.

Contradictory Opinions Everywhere

Consider SEO. If you spend any time at all reading the “experts,” you’re bound to run across statements such as:

  • SEO is dead.
  • SEO is the only way to go.
  • Keywords don’t matter anymore.
  • Keywords are everything.
  • You don’t need SEO to get high rankings.
  • You can’t get high rankings without SEO.

Who’s right? Who’s wrong? It’s usually pretty hard to tell because most assertions of this type are unsupported or poorly supported. There’s either no data to back them up, or the data cited is incomplete, inaccurate and/or irrelevant.

Even when supporting data is complete, accurate and relevant, you still have to be careful. Marketing best practices, especially online marketing best practices, change rapidly and sometimes drastically. A solidly researched article from 2012 can easily offer advice that made sense at the time but would ruin you today. Unfortunately, many, many marketing articles are not dated, making them suspect right off the bat.

How to Make Marketing Investment Decisions

Presumably, the reason you’re considering an investment in marketing is to get more business. You’re after more sales leads or more online orders; maybe you’ve drilled down a bit further to focus on more new customers or more business from existing customers.

So, the question you want answered is simply this: Can a given type of marketing produce more business at a cost that generates acceptable ROI?

Generalized marketing advice is not going to give you that answer. The best way to get an answer is to get facts that are relevant to your situation. For instance, if you were to contact us, we’d recommend that you ask us these questions:

  • Have you ever marketed successfully for clients in our industry?
  • Have you ever marketed successfully for clients in a similar industry and/or with the same budget, campaign scope and goals?
  • Specifically, how was success measured?
  • Could the success you’ve had with similar clients be achieved for us? Why or why not?

We may not be able to answer questions like these off the top of our heads, but with research, questions of our own and possibly an audit, we could give you answers that are not theoretical, not guesswork and not merely opinions.

No matter who you talk to, it’s important to step beyond the free advice and get specific, detailed, researched, informed … in short, useful, information. Then and only then will you be in a position to make a wise marketing investment.

Not sure what kind of marketing (if any) makes sense for your organization? Feel free to contact us and ask those questions or some of your own! We are here to help if we can.

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