Updated: May 20, 2020
If you’ve been working in the field of digital marketing for a while, you’ve probably accumulated a wide knowledge on the subject. This usually includes thousands of articles, books and practical experience. However, there is a risk that with too much knowledge on the subject you become overconfident and start taking your opinions as a given, instead of always validating your hypothesis. Marketing is a fast moving field - which means that not much is set in stone. Therefore, there is a lot of creative freedom. However, It also means that we should never rely too much on these “best practices”, or “common truths”. It’s good to occasionally revisit what you perceive as a common sense knowledge. Often, by following them as a rule of thumb without thinking, you close yourself off from better results! We thought of at least 3 marketing practices which you should revisit and reevaluate.
1. Content: keep it short and simple
You probably heard at least some of these time after time:
“Keep your content as short as possible - no one has time or attention for long reads”; “Millennials will skip your article if it’s too long”;
“If you cannot convey meaning within one tweet, you’re out of fashion”.
Therefore, emphasis on bite-sized content started to be perceived as industry standard. However, it’s worthwhile to reconsider if it is really the "best practice” for your specific business. There are many instances where bite-size content simply isn’t enough. This can be the case if your business is innovative and you have to educate your audience about your concept. Or if you focus on professionals, who would find short information too simplistic. It is best to use your judgement - if the content you share feels like it’s too abrupt, maybe it’s a good idea to elaborate further. The goal of the content is first of all to be useful, not to fit into a specific word limit. Longer content has its special advantages. It helps you to communicate more benefits of your offering. It gives you space to create more in-depth, professional content, which can fulfil your clients needs better. Therefore, check first what kind of information will your specific audience need - not what is the "right" content format in general.
2. Social is paramount in marketing
This is another story told time after time in countless variations.
“Every company needs presence on social media”;
“Social media should be one of the key aspects of your digital strategy”;
“Your users spend more time on social media than anywhere else on the web”.
These are again the statements which don’t hold true as a broad generalisation. Is investing in social media marketing a good business strategy? To begin with, it depends on the type of your business, the industry you’re in and what you choose to use social media for. It can be difficult - let alone useless - to create a solid presence on highly visual Instagram for a company selling commodities. Moreover, it is also useless to create social media accounts just because "everyone else is doing it”, if you don’t have a goal and solid strategy in mind. It seems like this is the reason while most multinationals create social media accounts. Lots of the time, their accounts are mind numbingly dull. If that is the case, is it really the best use of your limited resources? Social is just one of the areas of marketing. It can be the case that your target group is not active there at all. Instead, they could be spending time on specific forums, or search for your products directly. As with all marketing strategies, do you research first and figure out what works for YOUR company.
3. Measure everything
There are plenty of metrics in marketing you need to know - CPC, CTR, impressions, engagement… This list can go on for a long time. One of the foundations of marketing is that everything needs to be measured. Does this axiom hold up to a closer inspection? Certainly, there isn’t much point in investing in marketing which doesn’t result in growth of your company, However, do you measure your results objectively? In a plethora of marketing marketing metrics, it can be easy to lose your focus on vanity metrics. These metrics do not provide any valuable information on effectiveness of your activities but just distract you. Vanity metrics often appear when you don’t look at your marketing as a whole, but instead pick just one number, and it’s not connected directly to sales. Metrics such as engagement, number of followers and click through rate often become such metrics. Likes and followers don’t matter much if they don’t come from your target audience, or come from a one-off promotion. Even the highest CTR will be useless if your ad brings people to a website with a terrible UX. So, what can you do instead? Do not take metrics out of the context and don’t analyse them just for the sake of it. Think about metrics in a complex approach and analyse them as a part of your overall strategy, not one by one.
Common practices are usually a good starting point of your activities and do include a logical reasoning behind them. However, while they can hold true for a lot of cases, they should not be followed blatantly without thinking. They are common for the reason that everyone else is following them. However, because of that the results you will get by just following will be at best average. If you want to stand out and be remembered, choose strategies which work for you - not for most people.