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5 Marketing Fails We Can Help You Avoid

Mistakes are inevitable, but they're also detectable

By Logan Beck

Nobody’s perfect. Most marketers and advertisers will tell you that they’ve made plenty of mistakes in their career. However, some mistakes are more damaging than others, and they can have significant repercussions—legal and otherwise. Here are five such lessons, in order of bad (embarrassing) to worse (time to get a lawyer), that we can help you avoid:

Tweeting typos

It’s true what they say: Once something is on the Internet, it’s there forever. The same can be said for when the Department of Education (yes, you heard that right) spelled W.E.B. Du Bois incorrectly when quoting him in a tweet. According to Politico, when apologizing for the typo, the Department of Education published a misspelling again, tweeting “apologizes” instead of “apologies.” Posting an error like this can be a public relations nightmare, and can ruin the credibility of your agency and the brand you’ve worked hard to cultivate.

Irresponsible targeting

While spelling errors and grammar mistakes are certainly something you want to avoid, some marketing oversights can have legal consequences. According to Defense Litigation Insider, a class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California after a series of age-targeted ads were published on Facebook. Amazon, T-Mobile and more were accused of discriminating against older employees for only targeting younger applicants. Moral of the story? Targeting may not necessarily be discriminatory by nature, but it can still put you in hot water.

Image is everything

The year 2017, in particular, was awash in advertising blunders (who could forget Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi can heard around the world?). Skincare powerhouse Dove came under fire for publishing a Facebook ad showing an African American woman removing her shirt to reveal a young white woman. The ad was immediately called racially insensitive and sparked an uproar on social media – and for good reason. Even the wrong product picture or a racy image can put a negative spotlight on your organization. It pays to double check all content -- including video and images.

Influencer faux pas

Influencer marketing makes it easier to drive awareness for your brand or product. However, if you want to hang with the cool kids, you still need to follow all the rules. The Federal Trade Commission cracked down on Testimonial and Endorsement Guidelines, requiring brands to make sure their social influencers disclose they are being paid for their posts. According to the FTC, Warner Brothers received a complaint requiring Warner Brothers to disclose they paid influencers to post gameplay videos. When working with influencers and microbloggers, be sure to follow the guidelines established by the FTC to avoid similar legal issues.

Data breaches

Marketers have the immense responsibility of keeping consumer data safe from harm’s way—and hackers. According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigation Report, it’s not just nefarious operators who are responsible for data breaches. Errors (failing to shred confidential information, sending an email to the wrong person, etc) accounted for approximately 17% of all breaches. It’s humbling to know that one email sent in error can result in having to inform your entire customer base that their information has been compromised. Educating your team is essential to preventing data breaches, and having an emergency communication plan is just as crucial.

What safeguards does your marketing organization have in place to detect and prevent errors?



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