Marketing is surely the most complex, yet the crucial part of any business; and unlike many management techniques or strategies, you cannot imitate the marketing strategies of others – because what works for one, might not work for you, and what doesn’t work for others might start working for you. Businesses spend so much on marketing and innovation but even highly innovative and some of the most extravagant marketing plans will sometime, fall flat.
As if offline marketing wasn’t complex enough, and now internet marketing is also becoming a necessity, not only for online businesses but also for offline businesses that need to have an online presence. Even though the basics stay the same, it opens an entirely new Pandora box of dos and don’ts for businesses. Acting in accordance with the demand and growth opportunities, many new businesses are getting on to the bandwagon of online marketing, hoping to pick up overnight riches, but all they get are hitches and glitches.
Even though we have implied that there’s no one-fits-all success formula, when it comes to online or offline marketing. You shouldn’t be imitating or rejecting marketing strategies based on other’s experiences alone, still, there’s plenty you can learn from the marketing blunders made by others.
Following are 3 of the most famous marketing mistakes from the past that internet marketers can explore to pick up some lessons.
1. Coca Cola “New Coke” Case
Lesson: Don’t blindly imitate your successful competitors
One fine day, Coca Cola founders decided to bring out a “New Coke” as a bid to challenge Pepsi, a fierce rival that was eating their market share for quite some time. To do so, they went for simply emulating the relatively sweeter taste of Pepsi. The taste was working for Pepsi, but instead of working for Coca Cola, it resulted in working up the loyal customers, simply because the consumers weren’t ready for another Pepsi taste-alike. Remember that this change was backed by quite some research, which made it doubly hurtful for the company. What the researchers actually missed was going to their loyal customers and inquiring if they were looking for a sweeter taste? By failing to adopt an “outside-in” approach, they’ve had no other option but to do an about face.
So, if you are running an online business, website, or a Blog, and you’ve got some loyal customers, visitors, or readers, you’ve got to stick to your originality, especially if that’s something dear to your customers. Just because your rivals have introduced something, and because they are having some success doesn’t mean that you should drastically change your business model. Know your forte, talk to your clients (via social network) and try to gauge their demands and requirements, because at the end of the day, it’s your customers who are going to decide your business fate.
2. Beatles Butcher Cover
Lesson: Innovate – but don’t intimidate
This has got to be one of the most unpleasant marketing tactics ever, and that too, coming from mainstream artists (but then the conceptual art was never meant to be aesthetically pleasant. For their new album “Yesterday and Today”, the Beatles decided to be a little too creative for promoting the album and more importantly their “comment on the war”. Unfortunately, the creativity came out as images of raw meat, decapitated limbs, sadistic looking guys, naked doll babies, and everything that didn’t get approved by the general audiences (in spite of the fact that the original cover continues to sell at whopping price, to this date. It was a huge controversy at that time and the butcher cover was quickly replaced by another, more civilized one.
The lead guitarist, George Harrison, summed up the mistake later, when he said that “the idea was gross, and I also thought it was stupid. Sometimes we all did stupid things thinking it was cool and hip when it was naïve and dumb; and that was one of them.” Yes, sometimes we do things thinking they are cool and hip when they are naïve and dumb. Too much innovation can be disastrous for your online marketing campaign. Sure, think out of the box, but at least keep it sensible!
3. Jack in the Box Renamed as Monterey Jack
Lesson: If it ain’t broke don’t try to fix it
“Jack in the box” is a popular fast food restaurant chain in the US. Facing tough competition from the likes of MacDonald’s and other food chains getting increasingly popular, the restaurant got a little too experimental and went for developing a new image to target more “grown-up” customers as compared to the rivals like McDonald’s that was targeting families. Apart from other changes in the marketing strategy, they also went for changing their name from “Jack in the box” to “Monetary Jack”. Just like the case of New Coke, the change didn’t go well with the customers and they had to revert back to their original name, soon afterwards. The lesson for internet marketers? Don’t get paranoid just by seeing new competitors emerging from left, right and above your business, or you might end up shooting yourself in the foot. Also, don’t make abrupt and unnecessary changes.