5 Big Marketing Blunders of 2011 in US

Everyone makes mistakes. Marketers are no different. In fact, there are some nightmare scenarios many marketers have come to fear.

Most of the time those mistakes go unnoticed or blow over quickly. But the size and scope, along with the amplification of social media and bloggers, puts some marketing blunders on a grand stage.

In the spirit of moving forward with lessons learned, here are 5 big marketing fails of 2011.

1. Kenneth Cole Sticks Fashionable Foot in Mouth
Engaging customers on Twitter often requires an informal tone. But Kenneth Cole’s breezy mention of the revolution in the Egypt as means to promote their spring line sparked uproar. The brand apologized for the poor choice in Tweets.

2. J.C. Penney Faces Black Hat Backlash
The big time retailer found itself at the center of a New York Times expose on black hat SEO practices. J.C Penney was taking top ranking in organic search results due to thousands of links from seemingly unrelated websites. The Times cried foul, Google agreed and J.C. Penney plummeted in the rankings. The company fired its search firm in the aftermath.

3. Netflix and the Bad Fix
In what was supposed to be an apology letter for previously announced price increases, Netflix’s CEO announced the company would split up its DVD delivery and streaming movie services. Customers revolted. Industry observers shook their heads. Netflix quickly abandoned the plan.

4. PayPal Feels Regretsy
It was a lesson in how miscommunication escalates on the Internet. The popular site Regretsy.com created a campaign that allowed customers to purchase toys for underprivileged children. Payments servicer, PayPal, took issue with the site using the “Donate” button and eventually froze Regretsy’s funds. Regresty fought back. And the headlines weren’t pretty. PayPal later released the funds and even made a donation to the cause.

5. The New York Times Pushes the Send Button
Think people ignore every email? Consider the case of The New York Times and the mistakenly sent email. Just yesterday, the newspaper accidentally emailed over 8 million people a message meant for just 300. The email was intended to lure back a small group of subscribers. Customers thought they were being spammed and the Times had to send an apology note.

I have just read this interesting article from Eloqua that I found giving us important lessons for us, marketeers especially in facing the year 2012.

I already know the one with Netflix and it did indeed cost Netflix a lot because lots of its loyal customers already quitting their Netflix service. While the one with the New York Times case make me laugh a little because I can imagine the face of that someone at New York Times who accidentally hit the send button for the email that supposedly only meant for just 300 people but instead sent it to over than 8 million people. Talk about spamming somebody’s mail inbox, eh 🙂

On the other end, I’m most curious with the case of J.C Penney’s Black Hat campaign and I encourage you to read more of it from the hyper link provided by Eloqua. It is a good read.

After reading this article it made me realize on what Hermawan Kartajaya said about how companies need to implement Marketing 3.0 in this era of new wave marketing where companies relation with customers is not vertical anymore but horizontal. Customers are not in the below position of companies anymore but customers are in the same equal position as companies.

Companies can’t try to hide anything from customers anymore and do things that insensitive like the example Kenneth Cole have been doing with its tweets that at first intended being a joke but in the end turns out to be a bad joke for lots of people.

Because customers are having more powers right now, they are more critical and if they want they can work together around themselves to punish the companies. The one happened with Netflix is one of that example while in Indonesia, I can say one example is the case of Prita vs Omni Hospital.
Customers trust each other more than they trust companies and because of the recession that the world (mostly US and Europe) are facing, they become more demanding right now.

In this era of new wave marketing and era of participation and collaboration especially via the Internet (through social media), every companies need to implement Marketing 3.0 as soon as possible in order to survive or yet be ready to be left by your customers.

Have you or your companies implement Marketing 3.0 especially in facing the year 2012? What companies that you know already implementing Marketing 3.0? And can you name other marketing fails that happened in 2011?


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