5 Digital Marketing Myths Debunked


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In today’s shifting digital landscape, a number of “myths” have emerged that are causing marketers to scratch their heads. To set the record straight, we’ll play our own game of “Myth Busters,” but we’ll give it a marketing twist, offering insight and statistics to debunk the 5 digital marketing myths circulating within today’s marketing community.

Myth #1: Email is dead

Whispers of email’s downfall have been circulating for some time, particularly since the development and massive adoption of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. However, email is far from dead, as evidenced by this infographic from Visible Gains. The infographic shows 107 trillion emails were sent in 2010, an increase of 19 percent from 2009. Also, there were nearly 3 billion email accounts registered, more than doubling registered accounts on Facebook (750 million) and Twitter (300 million) combined. The number of email accounts is expected to reach 3.8 billion by 2014, and, of these accounts, 75 percent will be consumer owned. According to a post on Search Engine Watch, email has contributed some of the most qualified leads to businesses (57 percent) in 2012. Moreover, according to the DMA, email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel at $40.56 per $1 spent. Email is very much alive and well; it outpaces the usage of the largest social networks combined and is a trusted source for lead and revenue generation among businesses.

Myth #2: Display ads are only for acquisition

In the past, display ads have been used primarily for branding and anonymous new customer acquisition. However, by marrying the CRM data housed in marketing automation platforms like Neolane with user cookies, data management platforms (DMPs), ad servers, and display ads can be effective channels for relationship marketing. Instead of buying large anonymous user segments, marketers can leverage their rich CRM data to target individual customers among the millions of anonymous users on the Web, serving relevant, personalized display ads that drive higher click-through and conversion rates

Myth #3: The “Year of Mobile” will never arrive

Each year for nearly a decade, countless media outlets and industry pundits have predicted the “Year of Mobile,” with the results falling so short of the expectations—and hype—that many now question whether it will ever arrive. While 2012 likely won’t be the “Year of Mobile,” it’s evident that mobile marketing is quickly gaining critical mass—and approaching mainstream adoption—thanks to three key factors:

  1. Smartphone & Tablet AdoptionAccording to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, two in five cell phone users (42%) owned a smartphone as of May 2011. Moreover, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2012. This means that marketers are no longer limited to the tiny screens and text-only capabilities of feature phones. On the contrary, smartphones and tablets are creating near-endless marketing possibilities.
  2. Free Push Channels—Native iOS and Android push notifications are the next frontier for mobile marketing. Because these channels are free, their adoption will quickly exceed SMS. And because they’re a seamless part of their respective devices, they’ll enable more real-time marketing.
  3. Location-Based Services—Location-based services are one of the three components of SoLoMo, a much disliked term used to describe the convergence of social, location, and mobile. Semantics aside, SoLoMo creates a treasure trove of real-time insight into customer interests and behavior. Collected with proper permission, this data can be leveraged to deliver highly relevant and engaging customer experiences.

Myth #4: There’s no such thing as social marketing ROI

Many C-level executives believe that social media lacks a measurable ROI. That’s because, to date, brands have focused largely on social listening and community management—activities that are resource intensive and don’t contribute directly to the top line. The secret to unlocking social marketing ROI is to apply proven direct marketing techniques to social media channels. In other words, marketers should acquire permission via social opt-in, collect and analyze social profile data, and deliver personalized 1:1 messages via social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. By following this approach, social marketing programs will be more in line with customer expectations—the primary reason consumers like/follow brands on social sites is discounts/offers, according to Nielsen—and ultimately contribute directly to increasing corporate revenue.

Myth #5: Big data is just big hype

“Big data” may have recently become a buzzword in the marketing world, but the business need behind the term involves more than just hype. Marketers have always struggled with aggregating customer information into one central location to market more intelligently and with greater precision. Being able to aggregate, process, and extract customer insights from “big data” sets will allow marketers to deliver even more relevant, personalized, and timely messages and ads. Thus, with customer expectations continuing to mount, “big data” will be crucial to developing and executing targeted direct and digital marketing campaigns.

The conclusion? All of the above “myths” mentioned are simply that: myths. Marketing is alive and well, and while the rumors may be based, in part, on the truth, they are certainly not facts. Big data, email, mobile, and social are thriving, and if used properly, will continue to be real game changers in the marketing industry.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ed Hadley
Ed Hadley is a B2B marketer with a decade of high tech experience. He is currently Senior Marketing Manager at Neolane, where he spearheads the conversational marketing technology provider's content creation efforts. Previously, Ed held marketing positions with Netage Solutions and PAN Communications.


  1. Hi Ed, Wonderfully concise post that is highly useful.

    Question, the quote “the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world's population in 2012.”I read the Cisco report and assume this meant the aggregation, meaning many people have more than one device, laptop, tablet and smartphone?

    If so this means it becomes increasingly complex marketing since each “screen” is used differently.


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