May 28, 2019 | By: Tony Mastri

4 Top Marketing Mistakes & Errors You Can Stop Making Today!

By this point, we’ve all been relentlessly beaten over the head with marketing advice from thousands of digital marketing “gurus.” Frankly, everyone has a “magic bullet” that’ll make your marketing campaigns successful.

And while there’s plenty of great advice out there, the best teacher is often failure. Fortunately, you don’t have to do the failing yourself when you can learn from the marketing mistakes of others.

4 Top Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

While even the most experienced marketers still make mistakes from time to time, you can still prevent the most egregious and common mistakes by identifying what has worked for others and what hasn’t.

  1. Failing to Pay Attention to Current Events
  2. Not Having a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
  3. Making Promises You Can’t Keep
  4. Isolating Segments of Your Audience

Let’s take a look at 4 top marketing mistakes examples.

1. Failing to Pay Attention to Current Events

The world is continuously changing, and current events can have a significant impact on your traditional or online marketing campaign. If you’re not vigilant you may end up making a series of terrible marketing blunders.

marketing errors

Take the guerrilla marketing campaign launched by Cartoon Network in 2007. In a bid to promote one of its shows, Cartoon Network set up a series of LED signs throughout Boston.

At the time, the idea probably seemed ingenious. However, a resident thought the display was a bomb and called the authorities. At the time the city was on edge against terrorist attacks, and the police took no chances as they shut down roads and transportation lines before sending in the bomb squad to disarm several of the harmless LED displays.

The bomb scare was eventually cleared up, but Cartoon Network paid a heavy price, literally. The company paid $2 million for the emergency response team, and the CEO resigned as a result.

As marketers, we must always pay attention to current events and public perception. People who live in cities are always on the lookout for things out of the ordinary. It’s hard to say that this event was complete negligence by the marketers at Cartoon Network, but it’s still a lesson we can learn from and avoid during our own marketing campaigns.

2. Not Having a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Your unique selling proposition (USP) is what sets you apart from your competition. Essentially, you’re letting your customers know what’s unique about the service you provide. Your USP should lie at the core of your brand development strategy and marketing campaigns.

If your customer has no clue of how your product/service can benefit them, then you either don’t have a USP, or your USP is so ambiguous that it’s too difficult to understand.

Let’s look at an example of a good USP:

positioning errors in marketing

The moment you arrive on the homepage, Stripe communicates what they are and who they’re for. If you’re an online entrepreneur, you’ll be hard-pressed not to hit the “start now” button to learn more about what Stripe can do for your business. The best B2B marketing strategies revolve around a powerful and concise USP.

Now here’s a bad example:

marketing mistakes and successes

You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but ExaLead is a search engine. As you peruse the homepage, you’re not really convinced that you should use this service, and the industry-specific jargon is confusing.

You’ll likely have to thoroughly research the site to learn what ExaLead really brings to the table, but there’s an equal chance that you’ll leave due to confusion. If you’re not diligent, positioning errors in marketing can lead to the failure of your digital and traditional campaigns.

3. Making Promises You Can’t Keep

One of the biggest marketing blunders you can make is to get overzealous and make a promise you may not be able to fulfill when it comes time to deliver. Brand promises are meant to be kept, that’s marketing 101. Failing to deliver on a promise will prompt a loss of faith in your brand.

There’s no greater example than the disastrous launch of Fallout 76 by the video game studio Bethesda. In their marketing campaign, Bethesda made promises of a grand online multiplayer open-world adventure that would be teeming with life (amongst many other promises).

At launch, instead of jumping into a world full of eager players and interesting NPCS, players were instead greeted by a flat, empty world with numerous game breaking bugs. To add insult to injury, practically none of the features that were promised by Bethesda were actually present in the game at launch.

As you may have guessed, Fallout 76 fell flat on its face at launch, Bethesda lost millions, and the fanbase completely turned its back on the once beloved video game studio.

biggest marketing blunders

It just goes to show that if you promise something you must deliver or you will forever tarnish your reputation. Some speculate that Bethesda may never recover from this debacle.

Avoid major marketing errors by working with MARION, a top rated marketing company in Houston and Austin!

4. Isolating Segments of Your Audience

When writing marketing copy, you should choose your words carefully. There’s nothing wrong with creating a clever slogan or tagline, but ensure you’re not isolating a segment of your audience, accidental or otherwise. There are a lot of people online, and the wrong image or phrasing can cause the kind of backlash that may turn your audience against you.

An Instagram post by fashion brand Benetton is a prime example of why you should carefully select the wording of your marketing campaigns.

common marketing mistakes

I think it’s safe to say that Benetton had zero intention of actually offending anyone here but simply wanted to hammer home a clever post for a few chuckles. The above image, which features three boys with the tag line “Sorry ladies. Girls not allowed!” garnered all sorts of negative feedback and controversy.

Benetton’s followers hit the fashion brand hard with accusations of sexism and promoting negative gender roles. The fashion brand has since recovered from the debacle, but they will forever have to live with this stain on their record.

The lesson to be learned here is to be careful with the message you’re promoting in your marketing campaigns. Whether you intend to or not, you may end up offending a segment of your customer base.

Avoid the Biggest Marketing Mistakes

Marketing mishaps happen. All you can do is roll with the punches, learn your lesson, and try again. It’s inevitable you’ll make a few slip ups here and there, but you can avoid the most common marketing mistakes by learning from the failures of others.

Your marketing mistakes and successes will play a major role in how your brand is defined. Make sure your marketing is done right by contacting MARION today. We’ll help you avoid common mistakes and create a winning marketing campaign for your business.


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About Tony Mastri

Tony Mastri, Digital Marketing Manager at MARION, is an experienced agency and in-house digital marketer. With a proven background in content strategy, relationship-based link building, and technical SEO, he makes data-informed decisions that drive client growth.

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