Four digital marketing myths debunked

When used properly, online marketing campaigns could be an impactful and cost-effective way to build your small business’ brand.


Digital marketing has become increasingly essential as the world shifts from analogue to digital.  As more and more people consume content online, brands recognise the importance of having an online presence.

Sawsan Ghanem, managing director at Active (Digital, Marketing, Communications), a Dubai-based agency, believes that start-ups in the GCC will greatly benefit from digital marketing, which brings businesses closer to their target audiences and helps brands grow by delivering an omnichannel customer experience.

“Given that start-ups usually operate on a shoe-string budget and are crunched for time, digital marketing enables them to communicate their most important customer experiences in an impactful, scalable and agile way,” she explained. “It also tracks, monitors, analyses and interprets the buying behaviour and preferences of their target audience.”

According to GSMA, there were 264 million mobile Internet users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2019 – a penetration rate of 43% of the population. By 2025, this figure will jump to 53% with 357 million users.

“Considering the high number of social media users in the region, it is vital for start-ups to incorporate digital marketing strategy and target these online users,” Ghanem pointed out. “Without a digital marketing strategy in place, new client acquisitions, brand visibility, and impactful revenue generating opportunities will be quite challenging in this ‘instant’ digital age. A targeted and robust digital marketing strategy allows start-ups with a very tight budget to reach millions of people worldwide effectively.”

For some GCC-based entrepreneurs, marketing online can be a daunting prospect and there are several myths that could impact their decision to tap into the online space. Digital marketing, being a relatively new form of marketing, has a lot of myths associated with it – this is not a GCC-centric phenomenon, said Ghanem. Here, she debunks four of the most popular digital marketing myths:

  • Campaign results are instantaneous

“Results are not instantaneous, as with any marketing campaign, it takes some time from inception of any communication campaign to start seeing real results,” she said. But compared with traditional marketing, it is still relatively faster, which allows you to measure results easily and tweak different elements of your campaign to achieve desired impact and outcomes.

  • More traffic means more money

It is often believed that the more traffic a website receives, the more leads it will get, which, in turn, generate more sales for the company. But Ghanem cautions that most of this traffic might not be from your target audience and will most likely not convert into leads.

“In order for your digital marketing strategy to be a success, it should be utilised to understand your target audience and drive your targeted traffic to your website. Driving targeted traffic will prove to be more valuable, ensuring a higher conversion rate and ROI compared to just driving more traffic. It’s quality, not quantity, that counts after all.”

  • All email marketing is spamming

“It might be hard to believe, but email marketing is arguably one of the most profitable means of marketing tools as it drives a better return on investment and presents more opportunities for a business. It is more targeted, cost effective and measurable,” according to the Active managing director.

However, she noted that there’s the dark side of email marketing, where marketers abuse it by spamming users with irrelevant information. To ensure email marketing campaigns are successful, Ghanem said create useful content such as reports, promotions, important updates and news.

“These can prove to be valuable and very powerful digital marketing strategy. Email marketing complements social media strategy and enhances your brand visibility.”

  • All social media outlets must be explored

The call for all social media platforms to be explored is not a myth, but a mistake that many start-ups and even well-established businesses make, Ghanem warns. Businesses create a number of accounts on various platforms aimlessly and in the long run, they end up losing time, money and other resources as a result.

“Instead, companies need to create a focused social media strategy and look into each social media channel and determine which will work best for their business objectives, their solution or product offering and more,” she said.

And when looking at a social media strategy, consider the following important factors: the product or service you are offering and the available human and financial resources at your disposal.

“Social media may be free, but think about the value of your time. Determine which social media channel(s) is/are most relevant to your business and excel at one or two channels than be mediocre at five or six,” she added.

© Zawya SME 2021