MindFire Communications, Inc.
Boo! 13 Marketing tactics that are downright scary
October 26, 2009 | Inga Rundquist
As Arsonists who ignite raging fires for our clients’ brands, we aren’t too bashful to admit that we are pretty brave. After all, it takes a lot of guts to stand up to the flames without flinching. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t things out there that make our knees quiver and our palms sweaty.
In honor of Halloween, we’ve assembled some of the most spine-chilling, hair-raising, blood-curdling marketing tactics we’ve come across. Bottom line? This kind of marketing is scary. Scary, because companies are wasting their money on methods that don’t work, and scary, because of the damage this can do to their brand.
  1. Hiding the message – Marketing messages that are contrived, confusing, too "clever” or too subtle will probably only perplex your audience. Keep it simple, and most importantly, include a call to action.
  2. Changing your tagline or jingle every year – Just because you’re bored with it doesn’t mean it’s time to change things up. Taglines and jingles should be used for long periods of time (if they’re good), because that’s how you get them to stick in people’s minds.
  3. Trying to be everything for everyone, and ending up being nothing for anyone.
  4. Talking too much about yourself– A quick exercise: locate the most recent brochure that you’ve put together and count the number of times the word "we” appears. Then, count the number of times "you” shows up. The "you” column should far outnumber the "we” column. Don’t talk about what interests YOU; talk about what interests your customers.
  5. Not delivering what you promise – this is particularly damaging for companies that promise great customer service or exceptional quality.
  6. Bad talent – No matter how fantastic the concept for your TV commercial is, bad talent will make the spot crumble. After all, you don’t want your actors to become the focus of your spot, as opposed to your message. Make sure the actors fit your brand, are sincere and will connect with the audience.
  7. Using your kids in TV commercials as the spokesperson. Most of the time, this fails miserably because it’s often very difficult to understand what they are saying. And if you can’t understand what they’re saying…what’s the point?
  8. Poor Web presence – Having a messy Web site that isn’t functional or easy to navigate will extinguish any marketing fire – especially for a company that sells products online.
  9. Abandoning traditional media for social media. Social media is a powerful tool, but so is traditional media. You need a good mix of both to succeed.
  10. Using the same generic claims that everyone does: "great service,” "unique product” and "unbeatable value.” Been there, heard that. If you use phrases like these, back them up with something tangible and real.
  11. Basing your marketing strategies on what your CEO thinks is important to consumers…instead of talking to consumers about what’s important to them.
  12. Trying to use social media to sell products even though you think you’re not – people see through this really quickly and resent it. You’re there to have a dialogue first and foremost.
  13. Targeting the wrong audience – Running your marketing materials where you reach the wrong people with the wrong message.

Scary, right? Contact us to tackle this terror!

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