Linkedin GroupAs digital continues a steady march into mainstream understanding, many executives still possess common misperceptions about how new media can help their organizations.

Rather than just relying on my own observations, I turned to an active and intelligent LinkedIn Group operated by the Marketing Over Coffee team of Christopher S. Penn and John Wall to get feedback from other marketers and communicators.

John Wall summed it up nicely when he wrote: “It will save the world, if not in a month, than definitely in one quarter.” Personally, I think John’s being quite generous since I have met executives who think that digital provides an instant fix.

At the other end of the spectrum are executives who remain very skeptical of digital. In the words of one marketing pro, “The main misconception I’ve noticed: doubt as to how much influence is possible via digital channels, and as such, a reluctance to expend any energy on a digital platform. This usually results in a lackluster campaign and a digital presence that caps off very quickly.”

With all the talk about measurement when it comes to digital, it shouldn’t be any surprise that another marketer chimed in by saying, “I believe a common misconception is that everything is trackable. While analytics can provide a lot of information, it actually takes a lot of work to put together the real story.”

Very true. Too many folks just figure the numbers create and analyze themselves. Figuring out what to track, how to track, and what the results mean takes real time and effort.

This oversimplification of digital goes beyond analytics, though. A search consultant said, “I think many still see it as a passive, turn key type of thing. They want to ‘set it and forget it.’”

Since it’s simple, it must be cheap, too, right? One marketing consultant responded to my question by saying, “You can do it on a dime and without a strategy. I see a lot interns being hired to do everything digital without training them on the company’s products, services or even having a social media strategy and policy in place.”

Yet any digital expert will you that your risk goes way up when you put junior folks in charge – not because they are inherently irresponsible but simply because they typically lack the experience to avoid most common pitfalls.

Andy Warner, a digital marketing consultant with Ford Motor Company, added that “there is still a STRONG confusion among the digital sales of products, the digital advertising of products and the digital marketing of products.”

A lot of the misperceptions about digital may stem from the belief that one commenter noted that digital “can replace traditional marketing. I believe there needs to be a bond both digital and traditional mediums to achieve a strategic brand awareness.”

An integrated approach will help marketers (and their executives!) better implement digital effectively within their organizations.

Certainly other misperceptions about digital exist, but the folks who participate in the Marketing Over Coffee LinkedIn Group seem to have nailed the biggest ones right on the head.