3 Marketing Fails Your Business Must Avoid

marketing advice Mar 27, 2018


New to the world of marketing? Looking to establish your business and reach new audiences? Before you take another step forward, read our blog about common marketing fails and how to avoid falling into their trap.

Good marketing is a critical practice that supports business success. Marketing fails can limit or even inhibit growth. Making the right choices when it comes to your marketing practices is absolutely crucial — and part of making those right decisions is knowing what the wrong ones are and avoiding them like the plague.

Our experts have seen countless marketing fails over their years in the industry and are keenly aware of what you really should not be doing. In our latest blog, the team at MarketingU look at three common marketing fails that you really should avoid:

Marketing Fail #1: Believing SEO is Dead

For years now, people have been decrying SEO as a dead marketing tool; a bygone method of consumer acquisition killed by spammy tactics and the ruthless, soulless corporation known only as Google.

But these people are wrong. SEO has not died. It has evolved.

Search Engine Optimisation is the process of marketing your business in search engines. Principly this applies to Google, but Yahoo and Bing have value as well. The idea behind SEO is simple: you make your website easier for search engines to find and identify, and more authoritative to push it above competitors.

In the past, this was done by stuffing terms known as keywords — phrases you want your website to appear for in search — into your website and acquiring as many backlinks as possible, to make it appear as if your pages are reputable.

These are the practices which are dead.

Google got wise to people abusing the system, but it still wants to rank worthy websites for searches and give users what they are looking for. As a result, it has tweaked the way it presents websites, but that doesn’t mean you can’t market through SEO. You just have to give Google what it wants.

Google wants to give people quality. It wants to give people what they are looking for. So, that is what you have to do as well. Providing informative or useful content on your website, using keywords where appropriate to inform, and acquiring backlinks from other quality and useful websites helps show Google you are worth displaying to their customers.

Bad SEO is dead. Good SEO is alive and well.

Ignoring the power of SEO is one of the most major and common marketing fails.

Marketing Fail #2: Thinking Any Publicity is Good Publicity

It’s an old adage that has stood the test of time: any publicity is good publicity.

It is also a falsehood; one of the big marketing fails that can cripple businesses and send them spiralling into financial ruin. Bad publicity is bad publicity. It’s a marketer’s worst nightmare that should be avoided at all costs.

Before we talk about bad publicity, it is important to make the distinction between bad publicity and controversial publicity. Controversy navigates the fine line between good and bad PR. It often alienates a subsection of the public, but also galvanises or appeals to another.

Take Protein World’s controversial “are you beach body ready?” campaign. Its marketing material showed a very lean model beside weight-loss products. Immediately, it drew heat for body-shaming messages and was chastised for suggesting being ‘beach body ready’ meant being of a certain body fat percentage. Yet, despite the backlash, the company’s sales hit £1 million is space of a few days. While it angered some, many more with a desire to lose weight and enhance body confidence saw the message and wanted the results being offered.

This was not bad publicity. It was controversial publicity that was well marketed at a target audience.

Sometimes, though, backlash is universal. This is when marketing goes from controversial publicity to bad publicity. This type of consumer awareness can be very, very damaging to your brand.

An example of this is the now infamous ‘twin-tower sale’, a marketing video produced by small business Miracle Mattresses in the USA. The video was produced to publicise a sale the company was running, in which they made light of the 9/11 tragedy by having two employees knock over towers of stacked mattresses. A viral marketing gimmicking hoping to get noticed for its shock factor, the concept completely backfired. It didn’t alienate a subsection of the market and entice another. It alienated everybody.

The video was huge, featuring on major publications and news broadcasts all over the world. If you subscribe to the theory that any publicity is good publicity, then this sounds great. Yet, because this idea is one of the big marketing fails and not actually accurate, the response was far from beneficial to the brand.

Miracle Mattresses permanently closed soon after. A clear demonstration that bad marketing can destroy a business.

Marketing Fail #3: Assuming Good Content Marketing Brings Instant Success

In 2018, the name of the game is content marketing. Interruptive marketing is becoming increasingly unpopular amongst businesses and consumers alike. While it still has its place, our brains are becoming more in tune to what these practices are and actively avoiding them.

Content marketing is the successor to the old methods. Instead of throwing something that you want people to see in their faces, you bring them to you through content they actually want to consume.

Because of this, content marketing works differently to interruptive practices.

When you use interruptive marketing, you put an advert in front of a multitude of people, say on a screen or in a magazine. From interruptive marketing, you expect to see fairly instantaneous or short-term results. You put the information in front of a customer. They are either interested or not. If the marketing fails, you know the advert is wrong and you try a different tact.

Content marketing, meanwhile, is very different.

Content marketing requires the placement of exactly that: content. Once the content exists, it is up to the consumer to find it at a time that is suitable for them; when they are looking for your product or service. It’s all about making the marketing information available when they want it, not when you want to show it to them.

If interruptive marketing is a short-lived flood, content marketing is a slow but steady drip.

It’s often a more long-term and sustainable practice that requires less resource expenditure, but results take time. If you place an ad in a magazine, that ad has a very short lifespan. If you create online content about your best available products, that content is available for years.

One of the most common marketing fails we see at MarketingU is businesses seeking that rush of interest they might see from interruptive advertising in their content marketing strategies. If they don’t see that sudden increase, they assume the marketing has failed like interruptive marketing would have.

This is not the case.

Content marketing is a slow burn that requires time investment and exposure. Don’t expect instant success and you won’t make the mistake of wasting additional resources on new and unnecessary replacements.

Want to become adept in the art of marketing? Sign up with MarketingU today and receive expert content marketing training, all from the comfort of your own home at a pace that suits you.

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