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Seven Examples of Brands Getting it Wrong at Inbound Marketing


Mitchel - November 1, 2017 - 0 comments

Inbound marketing can be one of most effective marketing strategies your business can employ. It is a subtle approach that draws your audience in because of the value that your services offer. Through inbound marketing, you can provide your buyers with all they need to make a considered choice and ultimately, choose your product or service.

Instead of pushing the ‘hard sell’ you simply provide all of the research so that it is easily accessible so that buyers essentially find you on their own terms. Inbound marketing can bring so many benefits to your business.

Four benefits of inbound marketing

  • Help throughout buyer’s journey

From finding you, to understand more about your brand and the benefits your products offer, your inbound marketing will assist the buyer throughout their journey and help to retain existing customers.

  • Increased visibility

With content that adds value, browsers are much more likely to share your content across their network so that your business can reach a further audience. The more content you share, the more brand awareness there is, and you’ll start to receive further recognition.

  • Improve trust and reputation

The hard sell can now damage your reputation with the client. People do not want to be bombarded and interrupted with phone calls. Instead of being direct, a marketing process that is gentle will help win round the trust and respect of your customers.

  • Generate sales

By targeting your client base in a gentle, yet effective manner, you can help remind your customers of the services you offer and then deliver a compelling call to action which will convert browsers into buyers.  

Risks of inbound marketing

Sadly, inbound marketing does come with risks. Post irrelevant or copied content can put off customers and doesn’t help you with the necessary keywords and SEO that you need.  Not having a call to action can be a big mistake, while not crafting content in line with your customers can also be a risk to your strategy.

Unfortunately, marketing mistakes can happen to any business. To avoid your business from making a mistake, read on for seven examples of brands that have failed at their inbound strategy, so you know how not to do it.

Seven brands who have got inbound marketing wrong

  • Coca-Cola

Trying to reach and target local markets when you are a global brand is the ideal way to keep a close relationship with your customers and make the brand feel wholly more personable. Unfortunately, when Coca-Cola decided to target their twitter adverts to countries using cartoon map images, their image for Russia was entirely out of date. The fall-out in Russia was severe, with a hashtag of #BanCocaCola being used across the Twittersphere.

  • Samsung

In 2016, a worldwide recall of a phone manufactured by Samsung, the Galaxy Note 7, was issued because of a safety flaw. There were several incidents where the phone caught fire without warning. Unfortunately, Samsung’s inbound strategy was incredibly slow, in a time where all Samsung phone owners were understandably worried about faulty devices.

Organisation including the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration issued warnings on social media well before Samsung got around it. An easy lesson in how to ruin a reputation.

  • Seoul Secret

In an entirely ill-advised inbound marketing campaign, the cosmetic company, Seoul Secret launched one the most racist advertising campaigns seen in recent history. Complete with a slogan ‘white makes you win’ the beauty brand tweet about how their skin-lightening cosmetics help you to be more successful.

The marketing campaign also used videos of celebrities who discuss how their white skin helped them in their career and how white skin can help you to be successful. A genuinely shocking campaign that received colossal backlash on social media and was quickly pulled.

calculate inbound roi

  • Chamber of Commerce

In a promotional video to advertise Rhode Island as a destination, the video included landmarks from Iceland, notable the Harpa Concert Hall. The video from the Chamber of Commerce was a vital element of a $5 million rebranding campaign and was live for the world to see and shared by the state’s own governor before anyone noticed the mistake.

This was not the only issue, the marketing officer at the time also created the tagline for Rhode Island as ‘Cooler and Warmer’ which left viewers completely baffled. Due to the gaffes, the chief marketing office had to resign and a new person appointed to help to repair the damage done.

  • Miracle Mattress

Presumably trying to win an award for bad taste, Miracle Mattress is an American mattress store which used the 9/11 attacks to promote a sale. The Facebook video they created asked their customers to remember 9/11 by purchasing any mattress from their shop at a ‘twin’ price. What’s worse, at the end of the advert, the employees fall into two stacks of mattresses to symbolise the fallen towers.

After the outrage that ensued on social media, Miracle Mattress had to issue an extensive apology letter.

  • Total Beauty

An online magazine, Total Beauty was one of the many brands that used their social media platforms to comment on the Oscars award ceremony. Unfortunately, in their tweet designed to engage their readers in a discussion of tattoos, Total Beauty confused Whoopi Goldberg with Oprah Winfrey.

Not only does this upset two influential woman who do not take kindly to this kind of mistake, but the general public also did not let their mistake lie. It has taken a lot for Total Beauty to come back from this mistake.

  • DC Comics

In another case of a brand not checking their facts and ultimately showing ignorance to their fans, DC comics offended many of the readers by publishing a comment with the quote; “all translated from Pakistanian”. DC Comics failed to research the fact that the official language of Pakistan is Urdu.

Regarding competition, it certainly showed their competitors, Marvel Comics, in a better light. For any marketing campaign, you never want your competitors to gain from your loss.


Wondering how inbound marketing could work in your business?

Use our interactive inbound marketing ROI calculator to see if it would be worth investing in.

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