Marketing is not an exact science; it is more of an art form that needs a talented artist to create a true masterpiece. That is not to say that an amateur couldn’t make a nice painting or even have a successful internet marketing campaign. However, there are differences between the artists and the amateurs. It is not just inherent talent and experience that creates the artistic master. It is a deep and formal understanding of underlying concepts that allows that master to create a foundation which can be built upon and expanded. Internet marketing is very similar to creating a painting. Anyone can do it. Start a Twitter, a Facebook or a MySpace account and you are socially networking. Add some Google, Yahoo, or Bing keywords and you are internet marketing. Right?

Not necessarily so. Most businesses who market online use only a handful of methods to implement their plan with only a few options in terms of spreading money around to find more customers. At no point will they conduct an industry analysis or research the competitive landscape. As a result, their strategy is intuitive and flawed in a way that may not be detectable in a day to day examination. Below is a list that highlights some of those common misconceptions that seem to be commonplace in the online environment.

Intuition – This is the most common misconception in which the marketer believes that the keywords, phrases and strategies can be determined intuitively without any research. Even the best marketing masters will start with a research phase to determine the best course of action and any efficient model will have a research phase built in.

Budget – This is where many businesses fail to provide an opportunity for success. A typical small business will take profit and dissect it at the end of some time period. That is where the marketing budgets are typically created. Large organizations, however, typically build in a particular percentage of revenue from their product or service that will be dedicated for marketing. Marketing should not always be seen in terms of how much money was spent. In truth it should look at how much money was earned, compare to what was spent. This is called return on investment (ROI) and is the true measuring stick of any marketing effort, no matter how much it costs.

Tracking – One of the most basic failures in marketing is to fail in understanding how clients find an organization. If a business is spending 50% on a newspaper ad and 50% on online marketing and a client comes in the door; what systems are in place to understand the client’s path to purchase? Despite various tools available, tracking of marketing campaigns is very much overlooked.

Opportunity Costs – It is a simple concept that is often overlooked in marketing. It is assumed that companies will put their marketing money into the most proven campaigns that show the highest probability for success. This is not always the case and shouldn’t be the case. Sure it makes sense to go to the well that provided a good client or two. However, when dealing with limited resources (marketing money), making one decision often comes at the expense of another opportunity. Understand the cost of opportunity decisions is a critical factor for success in internet marketing, since so many opportunities are available but time and money are commodities that must be used wisely to be most efficient.

Effort – The cheapest path to internet marketing success is effort. Whether done by an in house specialist, a technical company or outsourcing avenue, effort is what makes the most efficient marketing campaigns work. Creation of marketing collateral, research, tracking, analysis, networking and content updates are what make a website dynamic entity that has the tools to be successful. This includes blogging, networking, news, testimonials and any update that is both relevant and is capable of generating interest.

Social Networking – One common misconception is that an organization will just create a “viral” video or marketing piece that will make the rounds to bring in business. Although this may happen with certain brands, people or companies, it is no way to begin a marketing campaign. In fact, the latest successful marketing campaigns run concurrently with the social networking world, not instead of. It is not just an alternative to conventional marketing anymore, it is a necessary companion. Why make a TV or radio commercial that runs for a couple months and then ends once the contract is complete? With social networking outlets, that marketing campaign can be extended almost indefinitely by linking that marketing collateral to social networks that target potential clients.

First or Bust – This misconception is based on delusions of grandeur and a natural determination to be the winner in a contest. However, is it worth winning? Everyone wants to be number one for Google, Yahoo and Bing so that they will get the most clients and be the most successful, right? Not necessarily. In fact, being in the first spot with pay per click marketing may attract more non-targeted users that will be paid for, despite the fact that they are not targeted buyers. If too many non-targeted buyers are coming through, perhaps being number two or four or five is more economically efficient for that particular keyword or campaign. Perhaps those wasted funds could be spent elsewhere?

Adjustment – Last but not least is a failure to adjust to the data available. Internet marketing is a dynamic environment where competitors are often changing strategies to remain competitive. Failure to adapt to these adjustments can have a large impact on an overall campaign. Failing to adjust is a common way in which resources are wasted, opportunities are missed and mistakes are made. Ultimately making adjustments is looking at the big picture and making priorities based on results, beliefs and experiments. Those who make the best and fastest adjustments will have a competitive advantage and a road map for success.

With hundreds of websites designed, developed and marketed, Jeremy has spent 14 years honing his skills as a business development specialist. Jeremy has designed and marketed websites and business models in the import/export industry, real estate market, and bio-technology.