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Marketing Horror

October 24, 20234 min read

"Part of marketing is speaking your customer’s language and the only way you learn it is to ask." - Sarah George

Are you promoting “spooky sales?” It is wise to use a large-scale event or holiday to your marketing advantage. Every bakery should celebrate National Donut Day in June. The scary festivities spark some frightening marketing tactics along with some other stories I’ve heard.

I prefer to focus on the positive. However, these marketing horror stories have prompted me to discuss some of what went wrong. And what would have been better. See? Positive.

1. Lost in translation - Use the correct media

Pitfall: An event venue promoted a Halloween party through television ads. You probably think what’s the big deal, you reach a lot of people with television and if it’s a large event that makes sense. Yes, it makes sense when it’s the right type of event and advertised in unison with other outlets. It didn’t make sense because they sold less than 100 tickets a week before the event.

Where you advertise needs to match your message and your audience.

Fix: In this example, think of who would be going to the Halloween party. There is a band on a Saturday night, cash bar. Do you picture someone who sits at home and watches tv ads on broadcast television? Me either. They are likely streaming from their television and not expecting to make their plans based on an ad. In this case, a better campaign would be to use social media, radio, email marketing, and digital ads. Either some, all, or a mix in order to engage with the audience. Give them something they can screenshot, share with their friends, and easily click to get details as well as buy tickets. TV ads are a great way to share your marketing message but they must be executed strategically.

2. Marketing worked, sales didn’t - Congruent Team

Pitfall: A power-sports dealer ran a radio ad campaign promoting a weekend sale and did not have trained sales personnel available, pre-pandemic. Again first glance, that’s not so horrific. But I don’t mean they did not have enough sales personnel because they were bombarded with customers. I mean they were not trained properly to engage with the customers that came in the door. The owner noted that they had a lot more people in the store after the ad but didn’t make additional sales. Clearly, the ad was getting people in the door. The disconnect happened with engaged salespeople.

Fix: Coordinate your sales team with your marketing efforts. Your marketing will encourage clients to engage with your business and if you don’t have the necessary support to engage back with them, your efforts will be in vain. For this example, the sales people could have asked stimulating questions to learn more about the needs of the customers in order to find a fitting product. What were those customers expecting when they walked in the door for the first time? Part of marketing is speaking your customer’s language and the only way you learn it is to ask. Train yourself and your sales team to understand what your customers’ problems are and how your solution remedies it.

3. That’s not my name - Email errors

Pitfall: Have you ever received an email and your name was incorrect? It leaves a bad impression. Glitches in the message do happen such as incorrect email pre-headers, email subject errors, wrong contact information. One of my worst ever mistakes was sending a mass email to a deceased person. Horrifically his widow received the message and let me know how sad she was to see her late husband’s name pop up in an email. Yikes! I share this to impress upon you that it is imperative to track your contacts and update as needed. Remove people from your email list so you don’t make the same terrible mistake I did. The happy-ish ending to this story is I immediately apologized, updated my records, and sent her an arrangement of colorful flowers to ease a tiny bit of the pain. Not a proud moment and I tried to reconcile as best I could.

Fix: Take time to send a TEST email. Preview what you are sending to make sure it displays correct and please run a check for links and spelling. Regularly update your contact records. This is why a CRM (Client Relationship Management) system is so helpful. When I first started my business my CRM was a Google Sheet with columns for name, address, email, type of business they did with me, etc. As I grew my needs for a high functioning CRM grew. Start with what you have and grow strategically.

Conclusion: We all make mistakes; it’s important to learn from them. We can learn from others’ mistakes too, as I hope you do from above. The overall best advice I can offer is you can limit horrific mistakes by following a strategy. And when errors do happen, quickly adjust to make it better. A strategy is your roadmap of how to proceed on a smooth path; it can also serve as a compass when you hit a bump in the road by providing navigation back to your goals.

Don’t have a strategy or it’s not meeting your business goals? Let’s connect! Schedule a call with me at the most convenient time for you.

Sarah George

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