Deadly Marketing Mistakes

I drink a lot of coffee. So I have those Keurig coffee machines at home and in the office. I’d have one in my car but I’m pretty sure K-Cupping would be more distracting than texting.

You know how it works. You just put your cup underneath the spout, press down the handle and — ta-da! — you have a fresh-brewed cup of coffee. Except when you forget to put a cup under the spout. Then you have fresh-brewed coffee all over your counter.

That’s a deadly K-Cup mistake, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve made that mistake more than once. It usually happens when I’m talking and get distracted, or I’m just very tired. Either way, it is hard to recover from a deadly K-Cup mistake.

The same idea applies to marketing mistakes. Like the deadly K-Cup mistake, most of these wounds are self-inflicted. Worse, we tend to repeat them — even though we’ve felt the sting of this pain before.

So I’m listing what I consider to be the eight deadliest marketing mistakes below. If you’ve committed any of them, don’t sweat it. Just focus on not repeating them.

  1. Thinking You Already Know. You may have heard the saying, “The biggest obstacle to learning is thinking you already know.” You believe people will respond to a certain offer or “like” your event idea, yet you have no data to back it up. Why not call five people and ask? Why not post an idea on social media to peers or customers and get feedback
  2. Repeating Failed Efforts. Some people repeat an ad or marketing effort that already flopped, thinking it could still succeed under other circumstances or with some other media. The real reason is laziness or ego. They don’t want to develop something new or admit they were wrong.
  3. Not Demanding a Response/Return. I’m amazed that marketers will justify doing ads and promotions that get no measurable return and provide no obvious uptick in business, reputation or stakeholder value.
  4. Not Doing Research. Research is relatively inexpensive for the return it delivers. Your ads and efforts could be so much better if you knew more about the audience, the market and the competing factors.
  5. No Call to Action. How can you expect a return on value if you have no call to action? Why not suggest people get more information, compare rates, see the many new colors, call their legislator, like you on Facebook or something that results in a positive return for them and for your organization?
  6. No Middle Steps. We advise people to have “middle steps” to purchases, especially large ones. Instead of calling for a quote (an action that implies a sale process has begun), suggest they compare rates, look over the options or consumer reviews and other content that nudges them a little closer to the sale.
  7. No Incentive to Act. I won’t pick up my phone to call someone for just anything. Most people are the same way. Getting anyone to respond to an offer requires an incentive. Some examples are a limited-time sale, automatic entry into a drawing, beta-testing a new product at cost, or an honest evaluation that provides unique test results.
  8. Bad Response Vehicles. You should put as much time into making it easy to respond to your offer as you do into the offer itself. A web page with the offer that features the sign-up and all the details in one place is helpful.

Do yourself a favor and don’t make these Deadly Marketing Mistakes. And I will try to not repeat the Deadly K-Cup Mistake.


About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to GFF@FarrisMarketing.com and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

Read Next

Ten Marketing Tips From Your Dog

American’s love dogs. More than 83 million of our four-legged friends call the U.S. their home. Well, they would if they could talk. The percentage of U.S. households with dogs has tripled since the 1970s. According to the American Pet Products Association, 47 percent of American households now own at least one dog. …

Read More


Discuss This Article