It's been said a million times -- if it looks too good to be true and it sounds too good to be true, chances are that it is too good to be true.
Indeed, the core of any business relationship must be founded on trust. So why do so many technology-based vendors continue to attempt to pull the wool over our eyes? In a world where checks and balances are of vital importance, why do some technology based vendors feel as if they can get away with not telling the truth?
iMedia Connection recently interviewed a handful of digital marketing executives and asked them this question: What are some of the biggest lies technology vendors continue to tell marketers?
Misunderstanding one's followers
Jennie Smythe, CEO of Girlilla Marketing (and a participant in Leadership Music's upcoming Digital Summit on Sept. 10 in Nashville), has found this to be true:
"The most challenging part of pitches we often are a part of is the fact that the vendor does not understand or respect the fan/friend relationship. Social media (and database options) participants are friends/fans of a page/profile because they want a direct relationship with that particular artist/brand. Good profiles are trusted sources of official information. Are promotional pitches and sales initiatives a part of those channels? The answer is yes, of course. But good marketers know that they have to keep the troops entertained and engaged without asking for anything in return, as well.
"Many times we are asked to endorse a product or service via social media. While this strategy makes sense if it's an organic relationship, often times it's a forced contractual implementation of a number of mentions. That strategy might have the appearance of initial ROI success, but it can be a dilution of both brands if not properly implemented. The reality is, a good marketer can spread the word without needing to do it multiple times. Like any relationship in the world, if you tell the same story over and over, people stop wanting to talk to you."
Overselling their capabilities
Robert Rose, chief troublemaker at Big Blue Moose, has seen this lie play true many times in the past:
"I would say that the biggest lie that some technology vendors continue to tell marketers is that somehow buying and implementing their technology will magically make them better marketers. The plain truth is that technology will never engage even one more consumer more deeply, or create a more compelling advertisement, or even create one more customer.
"Marketing is a practice that can and should never be fully automated. It will always be a balance of the art of creative and the science of deriving meaning from measurement. Technology is a tool that, at best, makes marketers more efficient at iterating the former and provides more power to do the latter. Ultimately, the truth is that technology simply gives the marketer time to be more creative, more innovative. It's up to them to actually do it."
Retargeting in the wrong direction
Sweta Patel, president of Global Marketing Tactics, recalls this moment:
"Our agency decided to use a retargeting service to give our clients an extra boost. They promised us a certain amount of clicks, impressions, and content networks. Our ads would be displayed on any content network of choice. We handed them a list of the specific content networks we wanted to display our ad on. In return, we were never displayed on those networks, the clicks could not be tracked, and the impressions seemed rigged. The traffic to our website seemed as though it came from bots and other 'quantity seeking' websites. The boost we wanted to give our client turned into a fail when we calculated an ROI of zero from this service.
"We recommend other agencies to research and find out how the clicks to the page are tracked, exact places where the ad will be displayed, and where the impressions are coming from before they choose a retargeting service."
Following a so-called crystal ball
Tonia Allen Gould, founder and CEO of Tagsource (formerly Tag! The Creative Source) and new marketing startup BRANDHUDDLE, had this to say:
"What your technology partner may not be telling you is that that they are probably capitalizing on current technology trends, and those trends can be nothing more than fodder that may not be worth the capital investment in deploying them in your overall digital marketing strategy. No one has a crystal ball, yet some tech companies would like you to believe that they can see into the future by getting you to jump onto those early, still-evolving trends.
"I hate to pick on one tech tool only, but search engine optimization (SEO) is a good example. This trend is changing since Google corrected its algorithm to favor companies who solicit useful content versus strategy that involves keywords that are parked on useless websites. Additionally, while SEO has proven itself beneficial in the past by bringing your business to the forefront of your competitor's businesses through keyword search, the moment everyone else began deploying the same strategies was the moment the overall practice became counterproductive and no longer worked exclusively to keep your business relevant. Businesses stay germane by doing everything different, and opportunistic marketers know that if they veer just left of what everyone else is doing, this is where they have a chance to shine and standout in a fast-paced marketing and media climate that has everyone confused. The reality is, SEO is still relevant if deployed correctly, but I wouldn't stake my future in it."
Tricia Despres is a freelance writer.
On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
"Man in the right side and the wrong side" image via Shutterstock.