08 Dec The Marketing Mistakes Just Keep on Comin’
Back in June, I wrote about some really terrible marketing I had been subjected to so far this year. Well guess what? The marketing mistakes just keep on comin’.
I find no joy in pointing out others’ mistakes. We are all human, and we all mess up. But these are also teachable moments, and I don’t want you to do something similar and ding your brand’s reputation.
And to those who think it’s rather Scrooge-like of me to write about this topic during the holidays, I say, “Bah humbug!” This is the time of year when businesses of all sizes are reviewing this year’s marketing successes and planning next year’s strategy and campaigns. It’s really the ideal time to discuss what isn’t always a fun subject.
By the way, this blog post has been updated as of January 5, 2023. One of the companies profiled below reached out to me, and lo and behold, they were not actually doing anything wrong. In fact, I knew them!
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Four more marketing mistakes that just make me sad
Someone get me sunglasses
Residents in our small mountain town are lucky to have a handful of full-service salons and spas to choose from when we need a little zhushing. The one I go to is exactly what you’d expect: Adorable rustic cabin look on the outside, warm and inviting on the inside. The décor is neutral and restrained, the music is chill, and the employees are uber-friendly.
Open an email newsletter from them, and it looks like a fourth grader who lives in Vegas got hold of it. Here’s a little taste:
The colors are the first big disconnect. The brand’s colors are light blue, light gray, and dark gray. The email template – see above – features very bold and not-soothing-at-all fuchsia and bright-as-the-noon-day-sun yellow.
Because I pay attention to design, the next thing I notice are the fonts. A perfectly serviceable sans serif font is interspersed with the childish comic sans. Graphic designers across the board loathe comic sans above all others (do a Google search!) for numerous reasons. I just think it looks unsophisticated.
Next up is the formatting. Sections are squished together with no separation between them. There is literally no white space to help focus your eye on the messages – it’s just a riot of colors, with lots of underlined and italicized statements to really throw you off.
And this probably doesn’t surprise you, but the email does not match the in-person experience or the website. At all. It’s a well-established local business, but if you got their email without ever stepping inside their door, you’d think it was a spin-off of Cartoon Cuts.
The takeaway: Hire a graphic designer to create an email template that perfectly matches your website, from colors to fonts to layout. It’ll go faster and look much better when a pro handles it!
First you harvest emails off the internet…
I stand corrected on everything I wrote below. Lattitude is a rebrand of a company called Lattus. I am a registered user, though it’s been a few years. This is a big mea culpa on my part, and I sincerely apologize to the entire company, but especially to Pete Schramm, the CEO, who is a wonderful human being. I am leaving this part in, though, for two reasons:
One, companies DO harvest emails off the internet – especially off LinkedIn, that bastion of endless marketing abuse. Never, ever do that. Ever.
Two, make sure you regularly communicate with your users (especially those who are not active!), or they will forget about you and definitely not recall that you have rebranded.
I’m going to call this company out by name, because their marketing tactics are unethical and probably illegal.
A company called Lattitude seems to have decided that harvesting emails from the internet and then sending people an email that implies they’ve registered for the company service is a great way to grow their customer list. WTF, right?
The first hint something was up landed in my inbox in early October. Here’s the message:
I was completely confused, so I emailed my assistant:
“Hey – can you look into Lattitude? I don’t remember ever ‘joining the Lattitude family.’ I feel like someone added me to the platform or community, which is WEIRD.”
She thought so, too. Stephanie quickly responded: “I would disregard this. It sounds like the company is harvesting info from the web and enrolling them without consulting them. Plus, they’re asking you to set up an account, so right now, your email address is the only thing they have access to. So long, golattitude.com!”
The takeaway: This is sex with strangers marketing, which is verboten. Plus, if you reach out to the wrong person, they’re gonna blog about your questionable marketing tactics.
People love when you spell their name wrong
My name is often spelled wrong. Monika with a “k” is certainly not as common as Monica with a “c.” Even my own aunt (who I love to bits) spells it Monica sometimes! It happens.
HOWEVER, when you are sending out marketing emails, you better get the recipient’s name right. Especially if their name is in the email subject line.
Monkia – Quick Question for the Jansen Communications team
My name is spelled correctly in the body of the email, but the email was sent THREE times with my name spelled wrong in the subject line. Three. Times.
The takeaway: Slow down, read your content out loud (all of it!), and then put it out into the world. If you get someone’s name wrong repeatedly, they won’t give you the time of day.
Why bother with a little research?
Last but not least, I got an email at the end of October offering me the opportunity to uplevel my social media game!
Here’s the email:
I saw that you’re the founder of Jansen Communications! I love to connect with female entrepreneurs! I would love to know more about why you took the step to go out on your own. Have you ever considered upgrading your social media presence?
We create 15 social media posts a month for companies like yours for a fixed fee of 499/month (USD). We can create comparison and promotional posts, but for most companies we focus on infographics. We can publish the posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Are you interested to see how we can create posts for Jansen Communications?
Book a meeting: XXX.
Go crush it!
Oh, but dear sender, I don’t crush it. I kick its ass.
And if you had done ANY research on me or my company, you would know that one of my marketing agency’s services is social media marketing – strategy AND management! But you didn’t.
Maybe you looked at my activity on LinkedIn? Nah, probably not. Why do any research when you can just cold pitch people!
Takeaway: Research your prospects first, and if you’re going to cold pitch them, personalize your message!
And … off my soapbox
As I said above, I don’t want anyone to make these mistakes, which is why I’m using them as a teachable moment. If you ever want to run a marketing campaign by an expert before it goes out, I am just an email away. Reach out through the form on my website, and I’ll be happy to schedule a consultation with you.
Pete SchrammPosted at 18:14h, 23 December
Hey Monika – I read your post and saw the reference to Lattitude about email harvesting. I am the founder and CEO and we are not email harvesting. You were invited to the platform as a mentor for a startup accelerator and you even used the tool (was Lattus and has rebranded to Lattitude).
I also sent you an email and a message on LinkedIn to clarify that the message you received was not marketing and that the misspelling of your name was a as a result of the information shared with our team. I would love to talk with you about this in more detail and show you that we are indeed not doing anything illegal or unethical.
Great learning opportunity for our team and we wish you and your team and family a fantastic holiday season!
Monika JansenPosted at 08:30h, 05 January
Just responded to your email! I’m happy to update the blog post. 🙂
PetePosted at 10:25h, 05 January
Monika – thank you for your time on the phone this morning and updating the post. Greatly appreciate it. I will also comment on LinkedIn – looking forward to growing together!