Hanging out with a group of friends the other night we got to talking about marketing. Actually, it was about 5 minutes after we exchanged our greetings and motored through the latest happenings in our lives. Quickly we were dancing through the details of specific campaigns. When you get a group of marketing professionals together what can you expect?
After celebrating the highlights of the winning campaigns of 2010, we launched into promotions that weren’t so lucky. While everyone seemed to have their personal favorite, everyone agreed that mine the champion of losers, hands down.
When money is no object
Usually marketing efforts are difficult to track and virtually impossible to measure. No one really knows what works and what doesn’t. Even the most expensive campaigns can fall flat and produce little or no real results. There are any numbers of reasons this can happen. Here are a few:
No real need for the product. Wrong Product
Someone misjudged the market. Wrong People – Wrong Product
Lack of understanding of target audience. Wrong Marketer
Product placement is off. Right Product – Wrong Place
Pricing issues. Wrong Communications
While these are general statements, I think it’s often not that difficult to adjust the issues listed above to get the marketing back on track. The marketer is in control at this point.
Good intentions gone bad…
But there are times when everything was done perfectly, using the available information, and it goes down in flames. Some stroke of bad luck, or error in judgment, can destroy even the best and most brilliant of campaigns.
Here’s an example that immediately springs to mind and proves this point perfectly. While catching a plane late 2009 I was caught off guard by an enormous photo. Normally, Tiger Woods looking out from a swamp with golf club raised high, would not have had a significant meaning to me. But, at that moment, the look of bemusement was captured perfectly in what was obviously a very expensive advertisement, sent eerie chills up my spine. Stopping dead in my tracks, I had an immediate vision of the company’s marketing team viciously ripping this luscious picture down with their bare hands, in a desperate to disassociate themselves from golf’s golden boy.
My imagination wasn’t the only thing that had run wild!
I can only imagine the nightmare that the company experienced, with this promotion, when the scope of his infidelity was revealed. The true impact will never be known but it wasn’t going to deliver the good news that they had planned. And they weren’t alone; almost every airport featured similar and equally gigantic ads by a host of companies.
Marketing gone mad!
There was no way anyone could have predicted the scandal that was to unfold. Unfortunately, marketers everywhere still ended up with egg on their faces. When it comes to marketing, even the very best intentions can fall flat or even dramatically reduce a company’s customer base. In marketing, you might not know when it hits but you definitely know when it doesn’t, and so does everyone else. The lack of control is scary.
It’s easy to see why CMO or Director of Marketing is the least secure of all executive positions…
What do you think is the best way to handle a marketing campaign gone bad? I’d love to get some feedback from you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you’ve found it helpful.
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