Volume 24 No. 1: The myths holding your marketing back

This newsletter comes from the hosts of The Marketing Architects, a research-first show answering your biggest marketing questions. Find us on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts!


This week we’re looking at enduring marketing myths ranging from why “primetime” is a misnomer to whether subliminal advertising really works and why personalization might not be the holy grail we’ve been taught it is. 



A review of 33 studies found no evidence that subliminal advertising works. 

This 2015 meta-analysis finally dampened interest around subliminal advertising by finding there was zero scientific evidence suggesting that subliminal priming affected behavior in any way.     


It’s time to bust some myths.

Like any industry, marketing is rife with myths. Today, we’re looking at just a few. 

  1. Primetime isn’t always the “prime” time. Despite the longstanding belief that for TV advertising, primetime slots are the most valuable, the data doesn’t back this up. Each situation is unique depending on the specific audience being targeted and the cost of the placement. 

  2. No one’s being tricked by subliminal messaging but advertisers. The idea that subliminal messages can secretly influence buying habits is more science fiction than science. Despite tales of hidden commands boosting popcorn sales, research shows subliminal messaging has little to no effect on consumer behavior.  

  3. Personalization might be a problem. While personalizing marketing messages can seem like a direct path to the consumer's heart, the truth is nuanced. Over-personalization can sometimes feel invasive, leading to diminished returns. Plus, research from Byron Sharp suggests that broad reach and consistent messaging trump hyper-targeted personalization in building long-term brand growth.

Listen in on our discussion.

"How Brands Grow Summary”               

This article covers the main points in Byron Sharp’s book How Brands Grow, including why reach and mass marketing are ultimately more effective than highly targeted, personalized messages. Read the article. 


Stay skeptical of strategies not proven by research.    

“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed.” 

—Dan Zarrella, author and award-winning Hubspot blogger