Here's the top of my list of things that I seem to disagree most often with my clients about...
We need to be on Facebook
By all means, get your message on Facebook, but have a purpose. Simply getting 1,000 people to like your fan page just gets you 1,000 likes. The best you can hope for is that those people will happen to see you post something and maybe click on it. I can buy 1,000 banner impressions for a fraction of what it's costing you to drive all your customers away from your own website to get that "Like."
A "purpose" would be getting email addresses, or better yet, get them to give you a whole mess of info like their physical address and date of birth by sponsoring a sweepstakes. Or, rather than getting them to "like" your fan page once, get them to "like" your products (like the way I get instant impressions using a comment box -- see it live on Jokeindex.com).
We need an iPhone App
Why? No, really... why? I mean, I get this all the time from clients, "We need an app." What you need is to reach your clients where they are -- while Apple's iPhone has 16% of the market, phones running Google's Android have... get this... 33% of new phone sales. And let's not forget the old flip phone -- Nokkia's Symbian phones are still getting 31% of the market. Oh, and Blackberry has 14%.
You'd better have a good reason to invest a huge amount of money targeting 16% of the market while ignoring the other 84% of mobile phones. A better use of that money would be to build a mobile website that works on any small screen -- it will work better on the big, low-res screens too, like game consoles like the Wii and PS3 -- and still not cost you a dime for any new devices on the horizon.
We have to be on the first page of Google
There are things you should do to make your website get indexed properly by Google -- good content being the first thing you should do but, unfortunately, is the last thing anyone ever seems to work on. But even if you do everything "right" (and "right" is subjective based on today's marketing plan), Google isn't one thing.
Google filters your results on over 50 data points even if you're not logged in. They look at things like what operating system your computer is running, what browser you're using, your default language, your connection speed, where you are in the world... You can type the same query into two different browsers on the same computer and get different results -- it's pure fantasy to think you're going to be able to control where your keywords show up on Google.
And, even if you do get that great ranking, it's still random traffic. I get 70% of my traffic to Jokeindex from search engines and those people come in, look at one page and leave. The visitors who came in from a referral on Facebook or Twitter, or the folks who bookmarked the page and came back on their own -- those folks are my real audience.
We need some animation or... I know! A Game!
Your website needs to be well designed. Adding a fancy animation or some kind of game to the page doesn't improve the design and it slows down the customer experience.
What you need is for every single thing on your website to have a purpose and then you need to track the monetization of those things. Make it easy for people to get in, give you money and get out. Make it easy to get their info so you can contact them later...
It should just be easy
Don't just do things because you're "supposed to" -- do them because you have a reason to do them. And them make it as easy as possible for your customers to do what you want them to do.
But don't forget -- it's really hard to make things easy. Easy for your customers is difficult for you and you have to be ready to invest time, energy and money into defining your goals, developing a strategy, and then implementing that strategy in an increasingly complex and chaotic world.