Marketing is an important part of any business because it allows you to connect with a targeted audience and, ultimately, make more sales. Unfortunately, many businesses fail because they lack a good marketing strategy, execution, or both. The good news is that the most common marketing mistakes are completely avoidable.
In this article, we’ll provide marketing mistakes examples you can learn from so you can create better marketing campaigns and get ahead of your competition as a result. Keep reading to discover how to overcome a marketing problem when you do encounter one, the marketing strategies to avoid, and how to futureproof your marketing plans.
Why is marketing so important?
Launching new products and services can boost revenue, but this would be ineffective if the customers are not aware of these new offerings. Marketing improves the visibility of your company and engages potential customers in effective, measurable ways. It can also be used to assess the level of customer satisfaction that your organization is achieving.
Marketing is a discipline that has evolved over the years. From simple letters to complex, in-app, social media paid ads, it has become a part of every business's arsenal.
Staying up to date with the latest trends and techniques in the field of marketing is critical for success. But understanding today’s best practices in marketing also allows you to implement strategies and techniques that are proven to work.
Examples of the biggest marketing mistakes
A poor marketing decision can sometimes backfire on a company. When this happens, it affects a business’s sales, revenue, and even its reputation. While mistakes are expected from time to time — marketers are still human, after all — there are some marketing blunders that have made the history books.
Here are a couple of examples of the biggest marketing mistakes of the past year that you can use as a guide on what not to do:
1. Burger King UK’s sexist tweet
Topping the list of YouTuber Atrioc’s worst-ever brand tweets is this big marketing mistake from the UK side of the fast-food brand. In their 2021 International Women’s Day post, they wrote: “Women belong in the kitchen” with no additional context. The tweet was meant to be a joke highlighting the gender gap in the industry. But instead of being funny, it received international backlash.
Takeaway: Avoid headline-making blunders by setting up an approval system in your marketing project management solution so that all assets are reviewed before they’re made public.
2. Facebook’s name change announcement
In October of 2021, Facebook’s parent company changed its name to Meta as part of its rebranding initiative. The move was widely criticized for a few reasons. First, Facebook’s only other newsworthy moves in the past calendar year were related to the ways in which it was secretly using metadata that led to social and political unrest around the world.
Second, the video advertisement Meta created was so poorly conceived that it quickly became a hot topic among comedians and social commentators like Cody Ko. A single video of Ko critiquing the marketing mistake accumulated more than 1.8 million views. Thousands of viewers agreed that the campaign was a failure in the comments section underneath.
One user, Mr. Nobody, even went so far as to write, “Is Facebook’s goal to make everyone as isolated and depressed as possible?” in response to the Meta marketing campaign.
Clearly, this is not the kind of attention that any company would want to receive in response to what should have been a simple rebranding activation.
Takeaway: Carefully consider your brand reputation and how your audience may react to planned changes before releasing your next major campaign.
How to overcome a marketing problem
Marketing problems happen all the time. If your brand has made a very public mistake, you can come back from it. While there is lots of different advice on how to overcome a marketing problem, the three basic steps are as follows:
1. Apologize (if needed)
If the blunder received public attention, the best resolution is to address it. Even if you choose to delete or remove the offending material, the brand should still issue a proper apology across all marketing channels. That includes addressing what the brand has done, recognizing how it has affected others, and creating a straightforward plan on how they’ll fix the problem moving forward.
If the marketing problem was caused by something published on or offline, the next step is to replace it with the correct materials. Issues such as typos, illegal use of copyrighted images, and misquotes are all good reasons to replace your assets with updated versions. Alternatively, you may want to remove a campaign element that isn’t performing as well as others. Just make sure that whatever you choose to do will strategically align with your bigger-picture goals.
Go back through your professional services management tool and figure out what went wrong. Did you need an extra layer of approval? Were there project bottlenecks that led to cut corners? Did you run out of resources along the way that resulted in poorer performance? Whatever it is, guide your team so that you don’t make this same marketing mistake again in the future.
Marketing strategies to avoid
Whether you’re a marketing novice or pro, these common marketing strategies can actually lead to more mistakes than successes. Although some seem fairly obvious, you’d be surprised how often they happen, even among top-performing companies. Review the following marketing strategies to avoid and keep them in mind as you go about planning your next campaign:
Misunderstanding your audience
Understanding your audience is the cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign. If they consider your messaging to be controversial, confusing, or just plain boring, your entire campaign will likely fail. Having a team that's diverse and inclusive will help to identify areas of concern that may go wrong.
Creating a cohesive brand experience is key to making it memorable. This can be measured by how consumers transition from one channel to another.
Ignoring offline marketing
Your audience isn’t on the internet all day, every day. In fact, if your competitors are focused on digital spaces, branching out into offline marketing may set your brand apart. Not to mention that experiential marketing is ironically often a great way for a brand to go viral online.
Offering the wrong content
Offering the wrong content means putting out a digital marketing strategy that your audience doesn’t respond to. Whether it’s a tweet with low engagement or a flyer that mostly ends up in the trash, paying attention to what is wrong will help you figure out what is right.
Pro tip: Keep in mind that, sometimes, the content may be right but the channel is wrong. Almost every channel has potential for crossover. Publishing content on a second platform can be easy to do and help you get the most out of the piece. But, before you start, take the time to thoroughly research all of the possible avenues for multi-channel marketing.
Ignoring best practices
Best practices often showcase what does and does not work with consumers. Although it’s important to think outside of the box, marketing rules make it easier to set and meet audience expectations. The same goes for marketing trends. Pay attention to both and you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Burning your team out
Burnt out marketing team members are more likely to make mistakes, fall behind, and even quit. The best way to prevent burnout is to set realistic goals and evenly distribute work. Marketing operations tools like Wrike make it possible to view an individual’s total workload across all active campaigns so that you can better understand how to balance their schedule.
Forgetting to measure efforts
Successful marketing initiatives often require the use of lessons learned from previous experiences. This is why it is surprising to see many companies rarely analyze campaign data or ignore it altogether. Measuring marketing performance involves carefully planning and implementing campaigns that are designed to provide a factual, analytical framework for their goals. Choosing not to measure your team’s efforts will make it very challenging to know which next steps to take.
Vague creative briefs
Always share the specific details you’re looking for when creating a brief. Over-communicating now will prevent long notes sessions and unnecessary revisions in the future.
Using the wrong tools to manage campaigns
Marketing can get very complex very quickly. Using simple spreadsheets will only take your team so far. The best tools for managing marketing campaigns are easy to understand, can organize complex project plans, and have cloud storage and file sharing capabilities for all of your campaign assets.
How to avoid marketing issues at the beginning
Simply put, the best way to avoid marketing issues, in the beginning, is to adopt a project management solution specifically built for marketing teams. Teams that do marketing for professional services can use Wrike to:
- Communicate with your entire team through one centralized platform using features such as @ mentions to loop others into ongoing conversations and Wrike’s Slack or email extensions
- Get a macro view of all your marketing projects, channels, and assets in one succinct yet detailed dashboard
- Track, measure, and analyze marketing campaign results through Wrike’s advanced reports and data sync capabilities
- View real-time task ROI updates on all of your active marketing tasks automatically calculated for you so you can see which ones to keep investing in
- Get instant access to each employee’s individual schedule and workload so that you can better manage your team and avoid burnout