The 16 Biggest Myths in Marketing


Article by: Jeffrey Dobkin

MYTH # 9
It's easy to make money with a catalog.
Sure, gather a few products together, have a few thousand catalogs printed up, buy a list, and you're on your way to make millions. Don't bet the ranch quite yet. I owned a catalog company once, and it was tough. Our P & L was on the line with every single mailing we did. I got stuck with products that didn't sell well, and weren't profitable enough to put back in - yet I still had them in inventory (my friends and relatives loved me that year!) . Pricing was always a big question mark: should we be discount, or high end - or somewhere in between?* And I've had about every trick imaginable pulled on me by list vendors. It's a tough road to make a lot of money with a catalog, my hat's off to the ones that do. It can be done, but it ain't easy.
*I settled my pricing: We were below market price on items easily shopped and that invited price comparison shopping, and higher on unique and hard to find goods.

MYTH # 10
I'll just get this one out into the marketplace, I'll make money on the next one.
How many inventors have said this to me? Most of them, I think. Without money and profits, there won't be a next one. At least, I've never seen a 'next one' under this circumstance. By the time it's all said and done, it's too much work and too many hours to bring a product to market and not be profitable. Then to say you're going to do it all again, ugh, you've got to be nuts. The myth? Without profits, you won't be doing it again. You need to make a profit, and it's reasonable to expect to do so for your investment of time and effort. You need two essentials for any business: sales and profits. Anything else can wait.

MYTH # 1
1 I'll call back.
This is the big customer myth. If you didn't handle it right the first time, don't hold your breath. They won't.

MYTH # 12
It's easy to sell this product - everyone will buy it.
that's easy to say until you try to sell it. Sure, you can sell anything, but it may cost you $20 to sell a $10 product. Take out an ad for $500, and you can sell 50 ten-dollar items to generate enough cash flow to pay for the ad. But if it costs you $5 to fill each order, you suddenly need to sell 100 units just to pay for the ad. Do the math up front. If it doesn't look like it's going to work, you're probably right.

MYTH # 13
Everyone will buy it - when I showed them the sample they loved it!
After you've asked your friends who said, "Sure, we'll take one!" to actually write you a check, how many actually did? This is the "checkbook test" - let me know how you make out! Showing a sample to a friend and having a stranger actually give money to you for your product are quite different. Try this: when asking friends about your product, don't tell them it's your invention - just show it to them, tell them you have an extra one you'd like to sell, and ask if they'll buy it. Then ask for the money, as proof.

MYTH # 14
Every catalog house will carry it, right?
Perhaps. Everyone likes new products, but no one likes to take a chance, especially catalogers. Catalog houses present a mixed bag - they like to see a proven hot sales record, yet always want a first-time exclusive. Go figure. that all comes into play IF you can get the buyer on the phone. Take heart: there are over 10,000 catalog houses.

MYTH # 15
Just send it in, attention "Buyer," it'll get looked at and we'll make a decision.
Truth: virtually nothing that comes in over the transom this way is selected by a catalog house, marketing agency, or mass merchandiser. This presentation is the kiss of death. If you can't get a name of someone to send it to, forget it. When you reach this dead end conversation over the phone with someone, it's best to hang up politely, and call back later. Without a name, what are you going to do for follow-up? Call and say, "Well yup, I sent it in a few weeks ago, don't know to whom, though, or where it's at right now, but can you tell me how it's doing"? I've never had a successful product submission without sending the item to a specific name, and I'm pretty picky about sending it to the right person, too.

MYTH # 16
I'm finished with my work
Who are you kidding? As an entrepreneur you're never finished with your work. And it's because -- your work is never done. Being an entrepreneur means you know what you'll be doing - and have your work laid out for you - for the next 6 months and up. What you actually need to do is to prioritize what you need to do, so you can do it in the right order.


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Jeffrey Dobkin, author of How To Market A Product For Under $500!, Uncommon Marketing Techniques, and Inside Secrets of Direct Marketing, is a specialist in direct response copywriting. He writes powerful, response-driven sales letters, TV commercials and scripts; persuasive catalog copy; and exceptionally hard-hitting direct mail packages that increase sales. He also analyzes direct marketing packages, ads, catalogs, and campaigns. Mr. Dobkin is an acclaimed speaker and a direct marketing consultant. Call him directly at 610-642-1000 for free samples of his work. You can visit his web site at:

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