Admit it, we all love to watch people do stupid stuff like jump off a roof onto a trampoline and then do a double back flip into a pool. Is it going to be epic or an epic fail? We all get a good laugh out of it if they don't make it, assuming they're not hurt. However, that isn't the case when it comes to our marketing strategies that turn out to be epic fails. I'm going to share with you some examples of epic marketing strategy fails and then provide you with useful tips on how you can avoid a big "F" when you're developing strategies for your own campaigns.
Heinz Ketchup and Porn
When you think of Heinz ketchup, your mind probably goes to burgers and fries, not porn! Heinz was implementing a QR code linked to a URL used for the “Spread the word with Heinz” competition between 2012 and 2014. Heinz allowed the domain name “sagsmithheinz.de” to lapse after the competition closed, which was subsequently purchased by a purveyor of German adult entertainment. When a German customer scanned the QR code, he was directed to a porn site - whoops!
Lesson: Domain names don't cost that much money. Take into account the length of the promotion you are running and make sure that you have your butt covered (no pun intended) when it comes to domains, QR codes, and anything else that could potentially expire while the campaign is active.
Image Credit: Printsome
Pets.com and Bad Math
Launched in 1998, Pets.com sold pet accessories and supplies direct to consumers via the internet. They were known for their wildly popular mascot, the sock puppet. Pets.com received significant venture capital and spent a lavish amount of money on warehousing and infrastructure. They believed it would take 4 to 5 years to reach their $300 million revenue goal. There was uncertainty because no significant market research had been done prior to it's launch. Despite it’s success at building brand recognition, they had a completely unsustainable business model: they routinely sold products for significantly less than cost and spent a lot of money on advertising. Pets.com ceased operations in November of 2000.
Lesson: Do your research! Pets.com leveraged too much of their venture capital on the idea that the market would grow quickly enough to make a profit before funding ran out. They were weak on fundamentals and never had a unique selling proposition.
How to Avoid Digital Marketing Strategy Epic Fails
Let's be honest, your marketing campaigns won't always be epic and that's okay. It's important to listen to the feedback of your customers and keep the following in mind:
- Track Your KPI’s – Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are a small group of critical measures that you should monitor to record the success of your agency’s work. They should be clear, measurable, and created from a relevant marketing objective. Tracking KPIs will provide insight into your marketing efforts and give a clearer picture into how your audience is responding.
- Don’t Have Unrealistic Objectives and Goals – You need to be aware of your budget, resources, and the needs of your audience. Your marketing strategy should start with an audit. From your findings, make sure that you’re expectations are realistic and that your objectives and goals are achievable. Remember that your customers’ needs should come before your business objectives and that’s what should be at the heart of your digital marketing strategy.
- Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket – There are numerous channels for marketers to use to reach their target audience. Don’t invest all your time and resources in one marketing tool. If your budget is spread too widely, it can dilute impact, but using a single channel for driving a strategy significantly limits your potential. It’s important to mix it up and extend your strategy across all customer contact points throughout the buyer’s journey.
The overall lesson here is that it's important to learn from what didn't work in your marketing strategies and make adjustments. Having a capable and expert team of digital marketers is necessary to deliver what is needed in a digital marketing strategy.