While the nation is busy going mad for college basketball, we thought we'd express what makes us mad (or at least a little irritated) about marketing. We've got a hunch these gripes may bother a few of your customers, too.
After narrowing the list, here are our "final four" pet peeves and the reasons you may want to avoid them.
1) Sneaky ads and their disclaimers. There's a car dealership in town that uses its radio spots to shout about one of its "incredible" deals. The commercials end with a rapidly-read, low-volume disclaimer that states there are actually only two cars on the lot at that low price.
Takeaway: That's the kind of behavior that gives certain industries a bad reputation and perpetuates a general mistrust of advertising. Customers will discover lies and exaggerated claims. When they do, you may lose them forever. Use your marketing content to promote the unique truth about your company. If you don't have enough honest value you can promote, it's time to re-evaluate your product or service.
2) Advertising to attract new customers while under-serving current customers. This can be especially insulting to your long-time buyers if your marketing materials stress the quality of your service or offer special savings to first-time customers.
Takeaway: It's much easier and less costly to grow relationships with your existing customers than to always be on the lookout for new business. Convert your current customers into brand evangelists by serving them remarkably well and they'll advertise your company for you with online reviews and great word-of-mouth.
3) Misspellings and poor grammar. Blogs and social media have made it possible for anyone to publish original content, but because the pre-publishing process rarely includes the checks and balances of traditional media, the quality of online content often suffers. Most bloggers don't use editors, proof-readers or fact checkers. Copy errors are even common on many well-known websites. And, yes, they can make for a maddening reading experience.
Takeaway: Mistakes damage your reputation and may scare away potential customers. Readers might logically assume that carelessness with your public marketing content also signals lax quality control in the behind-the-scenes areas of your operation.
4) Reaching out to customers too frequently. Online tools make it relatively easy and inexpensive to contact existing and potential customers, but if you do it too often, you run the risk of alienating them.
Takeaway: True, you need to repeat your marketing message many times to get it to stick, but that doesn't mean you should inundate your audience with daily emails and hourly Facebook posts. Inboxes and social media pages are more personal spaces, and unlike many other media channels, the consumer can control which marketers have access. If you send too often, you'll get blocked or blacklisted, and earn a reputation as a two-bit spammer. Whenever you send or post content, make sure it's created with your audience's needs in mind.