Marketing Myth #1: Marketing Is Just Another Word For Advertising


This is perhaps the most prevalent of all marketing myths and one of the toughest to dispel. Why? Because unfortunately, many believers prosper in spite of themselves – at least for a while.They see marketing as a tactical role rather than the series of multifaceted and constant approaches and activities that it really is.

Yes, advertising (marketing communications) is an essential component of your overall marketing plan, but it is not THE Plan – and ideally should account for a small percentage of your entire marketing efforts. Believers are easy to recognize because they:

  • Think slick advertisements can make up for shoddy products or services.
  • Hyper focus on attracting new prospects, and ignore their current customers.
  • Throw money into advertising because they have no idea how to really grow a business.
  • Host meaningless “sales” such as, “Mid-Summer-Red-Dot Big Sale”.
  • Enforce restrictive guarantee policies.
  • Publish screaming ads with lots of fine print.
  • Underestimate the intelligence of the American consumer.
  • Value glitz over substance.
  • Use “get-rich-quick” tactics.
  • Have no idea what it costs them to get a new customer or what it costs them to lose one Which results in…
  • Wasted money… it cost 4-9 times more to obtain a new customer than to keep one.
  • Overspending on costly advertising that doesn’t work.
  • Overlooking other highly effective, low-cost strategies and tactics.
  • Loss of credibility and tarnished reputations… with employees, customers, prospects, and competitors.
  • Higher-than-average product returns and refunds.

Imagine if you will, sending out formal invitations to all of your family and friends for a holiday party at your home… However, when your guests arrive they discover that your house is a mess; you’re still in the shower; the food is not prepared; and there’s only water to drink. The moral of the story is obvious… you shouldn’t invite people into your home if you’re not prepared. It is no different for companies… One of the quickest ways to go out of business is to advertise a bad product or company! Strategic Marketing is the party – Advertising is only the invitation!

What’s the truth?

Marketing includes every contact and aspect of the public experiences such as, the way you answer their calls; how you “make good” when something goes wrong; how well you help them solve their most pressing problems and your employees’ attitudes, dress and demeanor. It is about building sincere and profitable long-term relationships with prospects and customers (as well as, employees, suppliers and even competitors).

Entrepreneurs who focus on advertising, lead generation and sales often overlook this and therefore, lose their credibility and it’s not long before people take their business elsewhere. Remember, no amount of advertising – no matter how slick – will make up for such things as shoddy workmanship, rude employees or hucksterism.

It’s like building a house of cards… it may hold up for a while, but will eventually come tumbling down.

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David A. Scarborough is a gifted business writer, educator, speaker and certified Guerrilla Marketing coach, who draws upon his “real-life” experiences and expertise in business and strategic marketing to help businesses of all sizes get and keep more profitable customers. He is also the co-author of the book “The Procrastinator’s Guide to Marketing,” (Publisher: Entrepreneur Press, November, 2007). He holds a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and MBA from Golden Gate University. Log onto his website: for free marketing articles, tools, tips and templates…or to learn more about his book and services.

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