I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard people say they “tried” digital marketing and it failed. They put money behind a Facebook ad, an AdWords campaign, or some cut-rate SEO hack and didn’t get the results they wanted, and then decided that digital marketing simply doesn’t work for their business.

Yet, 99% of the time, every one of these failures has something in common: a massive misconception about the Internet.

Perhaps part of—strike that—A LOT of the blame is on us, the digital marketers. Half the online marketing firms out there are little more than con-men just trying to make a quick buck. They toss out shoddy banner and pre-roll ads, report the 900K impressions it got, and call it a win.

But more than that, there’s way too much content out there hyping digital marketing without talking about specifically *why* it’s so powerful.

Folks, I can’t stress this enough: the internet is not magic.

You can’t just throw up some ads and blogs and expect them to start raking in the leads. It simply doesn’t work that way.

The power of digital marketing doesn’t come from the “digital” part. It comes from the ability to control every aspect of your campaign. You choose exactly who sees your content, where they see it, and when they see it. You can create multiple different messages across multiple different channels and target them to multiple different groups of people. You can test and measure, test and measure, and test and measure until you get it perfectly right. And every online marketing platform, from Google Analytics to Facebook and beyond, comes with more than enough data for you to use. You just have to actually use the data.

Make no mistake, it takes a lot of learning and elbow grease (which is why companies hire people like us to do it for them), but it pays off in the end.

So before you trash social media, AdWords, or SEO, ask yourself if you actually put in the effort.