Marketing has always been perceived as a cool profession and its “cool-factor” has only increased in recent years with the emergence of digital marketing, social media, and big data. In all this excitement, it is easy to forget the true essence of marketing – an essential function for helping to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of a business. However, marketing is a double-edged sword; it can be your company’s biggest strength, or with a small little slip (thanks social media!) can spell doom.
From being a magnet for “time-wasting” customers to super bowl ads gone really wrong, here are some interesting insights from marketing experts about how bad marketing can be the kiss of death for your business.
By trying to barter
Rand Fishkin, has an entire video about The Best Way to Suck at Marketing. In this video, he mainly focuses on why looking at marketing as a transactional relationship can be the best way to be a bad marketer. “So here’s our marketer, and he or she has good intentions in mind, but he or she goes out and looks at every opportunity through the same lens. So he or she looks at partnerships and sees only the possibility of business development. Transactional marketing results in only one thing – transactional relationships. Those transactional relationships are representative because every interaction is viewed exclusively through this “how are you going to become money for me,” which is an ugly, ugly way to think and an ugly way to be thought of. We all can feel it when it’s coming from someone else. It means treating people merely as conduits. They’re conduits for either attracting or becoming customers. When you think in this model, you prioritize something that’s actually dangerous to your long-term success – your short-term success.”
Rand Fishkin, Founder, Moz
By being a bad magnet!
I have been a Marketing Director for 12 years with a special focus on start-ups. The number 1 way a marketing department can run a company into the ground is by attracting the wrong customers. The non-savvy marketing director will be obsessed with “getting the phone to ring” – thinking that’s the end of their job. However, if their marketing efforts do not produce paying customers, companies can waste hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Then a slew of the “wrong” types of customers will call, wasting the sales team’s time, when they could be going after better leads.
Molly Reynolds, Marketing Director, Molly Reynolds
By being here, there, and everywhere
Marketing agencies and gurus love to talk, but don’t really have a focus on the bottom line. They generally like to create pictures, evaluate backgrounds and act like members of the Shark Tank (without the money or connections of course). Unfortunately for their bosses, they usually end up spending a lot of money and being fired or forced to resign by Presidents and C-level types that believe marketing should grow your business and not be an expense.
Sajeel Qureshi, Vice President, Operations, Computan
By using only half your brain
“Marketing was once largely the preserve of creative, right-brain types, but the function needs—and is getting—a much larger mixture of data and analytics. Sometimes, though, there’s a danger of relying too heavily on analytics. What’s needed is the right balance, what we call a “both-brain” approach,” states Aditya Joshi, in an article of the Harvard Business Review
But focusing too much on either on analytics and making only data driven decisions, or by relying solely on the power of creativity can be disastrous in today’s complex business world.
By going the Vegas way
By making all-in Vegas-style bets with your gut instinct rather than hedging with small bets and listening to the data can cause you to quickly burn through your marketing budget and deliver negative ROI. My favorite example of this is startup Pets.com’s $1.2 million Super Bowl ad in 2000. The company later went bust after burning through more than $30 million in venture financing.
Patrick Merfert, Product Marketing Manager, 9Lenses
By not keeping up promises
Promoting material you can promise and not deliver will lead to the ultimate demise of any business in any industry. After your fail to deliver, if you keep trying to market your business further, it can remind customers and leads that you aren’t as good as you say you are. Think back to Radio Shack’s marketing attempts last year, even placing millions of dollars in their Super Bowl ads. The number one question everyone asked:“Radio Shack is still around? Why?” Don’t market what you don’t have.
Michelle Burke, Marketing Supervisor, WyckWyre
So, there you have it, a round up of the top ways marketing can kill your business. Death by marketing is a real thing. Whether it’s a quick death or a slow death, be rest assured that it’s a painful one that wounds your business bottom-line!
There are several other ways marketing can kill you business, and some “illustrious” examples too – please share your examples in the comments below.