Good morning all, darn cold isn’t it!?  Of course being Scottish I do love to gripe about the weather despite the expectation that I am used to it, so just for today I shall refrain and keep my meteorological opinions to myself but only because the purpose of this week’s blog is to gripe about something else…marketing faux pas.

At the end of last week’s blog I had requested a little help from you guys in the form of tweets sharing your most bothersome marketing issues.  You know, the ones that really make you sigh, cringe, squirm and scream – but alas not a sole respondent answered my plea which now means you will have to put up with hearing all about my gripes.  Here are my top 5:

1. Overuse of keywords and adjectives that mean nothing!

What use is there in using flowery, creative words to describe a product or service if said words are not backed up by statements that either precede or succeed them?  None, you are technically making a statement without giving evidence to support it.   Life doesn’t work like that, as guests of Her Majesty will testify, and marketing doesn’t either.  You need to give customers a reason to use you, and a coherent one at that.  This is the keyword part to this moan, and the key to keywords is subtlety!  I have mentioned this in a previous post but I shall say it again as it’s not big and it’s not clever to cluster them, try scattering instead.  Less is more.

2. What does the customer value…

…It may not always be what you think is best about your product.  In order to do this you need to have a clear understanding of both product and customer.  This way you can tailor your ‘selling’ to each customer as an individual.  Mrs Smith probably won’t care that your tyres give great grip so therefore let you drive like Schumacher, she will want to know that the tyres will be the best safety option for her family.  Just like Mr Smith won’t care that your wallpaper can be personalised, he will want to know if it’s easy to hang.  (I apologise now for the blatant stereotype cliché, it is solely to prove a point, us Début girls are pretty handy at DIY I’ll have you know!)

3. Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s outdated

One of the first things I learnt in marketing and copywriting was the good old acronym AIDA  meaning Attention, Interest, Desire, Action, of course.  This is a principle that I apply regularly to my work because it gets results.  It’s ultimately about excitement people – create it!  We are bombarded by hundreds of messages a day so you need to make sure that yours will stand out.  Tell your customers a story to engage them instead of going straight in with the cold, hard facts and selling patter.

4. Is your message clear?

In other words; what are you trying to say?,  What do you want people to know?  One of the biggest stumbling blocks, and therefore my number 4 gripe, is that when it comes to getting the message right it’s all too often a case of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’. Everyone wants a say and thinks that their point is the most important so you end up with something complicated like *“Our mission is to help innovative leaders in the CPG industry increase the velocity of their business and drive engagement with their social communities to inspire meaningful change.”  Say what?? A message is far better received when it has one, maybe two, clear and concise points – leave the ambiguity at home.

(* Borrowed from
5. Move with the times and test

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, socks, shorts…whatever.  A lot of companies are somewhat scared of change when it comes to something that gets good results.  But times are changing and what was once a brilliant campaign could perhaps be made better with a little tweaking and fine tuning.  It is likely the case that your customers are savvy and wise to the ways in which you launch a new product, make an announcement or have a sale. Therefore it is also likely that they are becoming tired of these ways.  Mix it up a little, split your campaign and do a test, you never know, the results may be pleasantly surprising.

Wow I feel great for getting that off my chest, maybe I’ll do some more ranting next week?  Yes, I think that’s a good idea, next week I shall talk about copywriting and the 5 must dos  and 5 must not dos – I’m looking forward to it already!

My Moans about Marketing Mistakes

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