Hype is sometimes a good thing. Marketers should know this because they are, after all, in the business of promotion. In that context, hype is something marketers will work hard to create, foster, and spread. But not all hype is good.
Every once in a while, the marketing industry gets taken over by an overblown piece of information that often turns out to be completely false. The marketers who manage to see through the hype might have a chance to avoid it. The ones who don’t might becomes its victim. Let’s see if we can save you from a few of these popular misconceptions.
1. Keywords Are Obsolete
There was a time when keywords reigned supreme as a search engine optimization technique. Keyword stuffing was a thing many marketers relied on to achieve good rankings. But then, one update after another, Google made keyword stuffing a punishable offense. So, marketers turned to finding out the right density of keywords.
But then that strategy also became pretty much useless. Soon enough, people started talking about keywords being useless for optimization. And while they certainly are not in focus as they once were, keywords are still useful for plenty of things. It’s not just that AdWords relies on them. Keyword research is a very popular technique for discovering content topics. So keywords still matter, albeit in a slightly different way.
2. Generations Are Good Target Groups
For a while, the industry websites were alit with buzz about Millennials. They were the hottest demographic to go after. Then, the industry started buzzing about Gen Z, the generation that follows the Millennials. While it’s possible to get some good insights into a generation as a whole, relying solely on them for targeting is a mistake.
Generations are groups of very diverse people. Generational targeting, if marketers stop at generation-wide insights, is simply not enough to form a good segment of an audience. And this is especially true at a time when we have tools that allow us to slice audiences any way we like to.
3. Traffic Is Everything
There’s a KPI for everything in digital marketing. There’s more than one KPI for each activity and marketing goal, actually. When a marketer wants to understand how their work affects sales, for example, there’s a long list of metrics they can track. But often enough, marketers will start following metrics that aren’t as useful as one might think. These metrics are called vanity metrics, and traffic is one of them.
Website traffic is a useful metric for seeing how many people came to a website. And that’s pretty much it. Marketers can use it to calculate other important metrics, but following it just for measuring traffic is not too useful. The traffic certain pieces of content get is also a metric that won’t say a lot about how well the content performs. Performance should always be about more than just attraction.
4. Retail Will Move Online (And Kill Brick-and-Mortar)
In 2017, we’ve seen the American Retail Apocalypse at its height, at least so far. The big and powerful retailers of yesterday were closing shops, declaring bankruptcies, and taking down malls with them. Online retail and failures at digital transformation have been blamed for it, along with other factors. It certainly was true that some of these retailers barely got beyond knowing how to register a domain name in their tech-savviness.
But there’s something wrong with thinking that online retail is killing brick-and-mortar stores. It’s mostly the fact that physical retail is not dying. It’s still alive and well. In fact, people prefer to shop for a lot of products in physical stores. But they also like the convenience of online retail. It turns out that consumer habits are changing in a way that mixes the digital with the physical, and vice versa.
5. You Can Just Rinse and Repeat Whatever Worked Last Time
Marketers could benefit from a stable digital landscape. It would be so easy just to find a winning strategy and repeat it over and over again to get great results. That would be great. If only it were possible.
The digital landscape is changing too quickly to accommodate a lot of repetition. But that’s not the only thing wrong with the rinse-and-repeat strategy. The marketers’ job is to try to achieve better results. If marketers aren’t fine-tuning a strategy, they are stagnating and falling behind the competition.
These are not the only misconceptions marketers come across or bring into being. Digital marketing is highly competitive, and there are lots of people who want to make their name by being the first who figured out an important insight. If you want to be a serious marketer, you always need to look beyond the hype. Your clients will depend on you doing it.
Charles Dearing has a keen interest in the challenges, the nature of the world of marketing. That makes him a successful blogger and contributor to various marketing and business blogs. He is a content marketing specialist and social media manager as well.