Over the years, I’ve come across small business owners who’ve held certain “philosophies” with regard to their marketing and advertising.  On occasion, I will hear things that tend to make me cringe due to the fact that some of these marketing ideals are so far from having any real impact on profitability.

Much like other areas of business, marketing has its share of myths. So before you embrace or reject a marketing strategy, be sure you’ve done your homework. It’s okay to go with your gut on certain things but I’m a far bigger fan of quantifiable evidence of success.

With that said, I want to debunk three marketing myths I’ve come across over the years:

TV is better than radio
Clients have come to me had told me that radio doesn’t work and they want to advertise on TV (I’ve heard the opposite of this too).  I’ve also heard the same when it came to other media – magazine, cable, etc.  To broadly state that one outlet is better than another is wrong. The only thing that will make one outlet better is the customer-access it provides for your specific business; it’s all subjective. For example, if your client base is largely comprised of seniors and this particular group is drawn to the newspaper, your path to success is quite apparent – regardless of whether TV, mobile or online advertising is far more popular these days than a newspaper.

My media sales rep is always right
Many small business owners look to their media reps for “creative” ideas when marketing. It is important to know that your rep is more likely to be qualified in the placement of your ads rather than the actual content in the ad. This is not to denigrate your representative; it’s only to let you know that the person that sells an ad is often different than the one that creates one. Without this understanding, you may be inadvertently pressuring a sales person to morph into someone imaginative. In this instance, the creative advice you’re getting may not be right for your business. Simply ask your rep if his company has an in-house creative team that could assist with this part of your ad.

Word-of-mouth is all you need
According to one business owner, paid advertising is a waste – especially when word-of-mouth is more effective and free. This is also a myth. Can word-of-mouth significantly impact your business? Absolutely. However, if you’re serious about growth, it’s going to take more than that to drive the speed and reach of your message. Think about this for a moment; companies such as Apple and McDonalds can survive on word-of-mouth at this point, couldn’t they? Why then do they continue to spend hundreds of millions on marketing? The answer goes far beyond affordability and corporate egos. These companies continue to pay for advertising in order to bolster the word-of-mouth moment they’ve already established – in effect, building of their momentum. This line of logic is applicable to your business too.

Walter Dailey is a proven creative strategist. He’s the lead consultant and executive producer for Dailey Sound Vector, a creative services organization that specializes in jingles, radio ads and marketing campaign development for small and mid-sized businesses.  Ask Walter your questions at walter@dsvmedia.com