As a client account manager at adWhite, I spend a majority of my day working with various clients as a critical part of their marketing efforts. By utilizing the marketing automation software, HubSpot, I am able to market more effectively using various online channels.
This is the new generation of marketing: generate more leads, increase revenue and improve your clients' ROI — all while having a dedicated strategy through the use of content creation, website design, email marketing, sales enablement and website optimization, along with brand and social media management.
The short answer is yes, there is nothing wrong with using stock photos in your marketing. BUT, it's not that simple.
I believe that stock photos are a necessary evil, especially because many small businesses simply don't have the time or the money for professional photo shoots.
I think the real question here should be, "how can I best use stock photos in my marketing?" Since the use of stock images is so widespread these days, you can't just simply select a "smiling face" picture and hope it has a positive effect on the message you are trying to communicate. Instead, you need to try harder. You need to select an image that is relevant to the content it is paired with. You need to select images that have the right look and tone for the message you are communicating. You need to select images that are appealing to your target audience. Here's a great case study I just received that highlights the benefits of using Authentic Photos vs. Traditional Stock Photos.