10 Marketing Nightmares


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Forget Hollywood horror films and haunted houses. Those working in B2B marketing have their own special blend of anxieties and fears. Things like typos in big campaigns, mis-fired tweets and screwed up presentations are enough to scare even the most competent marketer.

Today, we spotlight 10 marketing nightmares – and explain how you can avoid them.

1. Showing Up to a Webinar with the Wrong Deck
Some of us have lived through this. You’ve promoted the webinar to thousands in your database, through social media, basically anyone who will listen. But then you show up…with the wrong presentation. Good luck winging it!

How to avoid this nightmare? Save your presentation with a name like “Absolutely_Final_Use_This_One” and set reminders to check it 10 minutes before your presentation.

2. Sending a Big Email Campaign to “Dear First Name”
Personalization is a great way to increase the relevance and response of your email marketing. But when it goes wrong, it’s horrifying. Nothing says “misfire” like the “dear first name” greeting.

How to avoid this nightmare? Test, test and then test again. Give yourself time to test everything and have multiple people review your campaigns.

3. Tweeting the Wrong Thing
Some marketers are given access to the company Twitter handle. With great power comes great responsibility. A seemingly innocuous tweet can turn nasty when you consider the larger ramifications – just ask Kenneth Cole.

How to avoid this nightmare? One, don’t tweet when drinking. Two, if ever in doubt, hold back. And three avoid mixing up personal tweets with brand tweets by using different platforms for each account (TweetDeck or HootSuite).

4. Delivering a Prospect Campaign to a Customer
Want to screw up a relationship with a customer? Treat them like they haven’t bought your product or service. Sending the wrong message really sends the wrong message, you know?

How to avoid this nightmare? It all comes down to clean data. A concrete data governance strategy paired with a process for tagging client accounts will help ensure customer records don’t get mixed up with prospect campaigns.


Deleting a chunk of your database or pushing out broken links can make you want to scream.

5. Pushing Out a Campaign With Broken Links
Whether it’s an e-book or an email campaign, nothing can ruin your quarter like realizing everyone is clicking on a link that leads to 404 hell. It’s one of those little details that can sink weeks, even months, of work.

How to avoid this nightmare? Create a Confirm Committee for each of your campaigns. The committee should include 3-5 people who have to test every link on your final version before you push send.

6. Accidentally Deleting a Big Group from Your Database
It’s one of those moments that make your throat dry. Where once there was a whole bunch of contacts, now there’s just darkness. It’s the kind of blunder that cost not just time, but real money.

How to avoid this nightmare? Data backup is critical for something like this. But creating controls, particularly for non-administrators, that make it harder to delete records are good practices to have in place.

7. Saying the Wrong Thing to a Reporter or Analyst
They say loose lips sink ships. This definitely true if you give a wrong figure or statement to a journalist or analyst. Next thing you know, you have misinformation floating around in article or report, and that can haunt you for years to come.

How to avoid this nightmare? The easiest way is just to avoid talking to reporters and analysts unless you’re totally sure of your facts. But another route is to ask the person if you can get back to him or her when dealing with a number or fact you’re not sure of. Better to send correct data in an email than to give your best guess and regret it later.

8. Printing a Typo in Your Direct Mail or Online Display Piece
Typos are the ghosts of marketing: they hide in plain sight. After hours and hours of edits and re-works, this is the tiny error that makes you scream.

How to avoid this nightmare? Much like pushing out broken links, the best way to bypass typos is to involve fresh eyes. Ask colleagues that are utterly un-involved in your project to look it over and give a dispassionate review.

9. Finding Your Facebook Has Been Hijacked
If an unknown entity possesses your social media accounts and pages, it can wreak havoc on your hard-earned brand reputation. It can take a long time to clean up and expose valuable data.

How to survive this nightmare? Keep the number of people who can access your accounts limited, use long passwords and regularly share them. Make sure logins are shared in a secure place and not in a bunch of colleagues’ inboxes.

10. Falling Far Short of Your Lead Target for a Campaign
We all have numbers to make – or at least, we should. And missing our projections are enough to make us scream. Anyone who has ever over promised can attest to that.

How to avoid this nightmare? Develop a model that is based on historical averages when trying to forecast demand for specific campaigns and build projections based on like data… It also never hurts to be a little conservative.

What marketing nightmare have you lived through? What do you fear the most?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jesse Noyes
Jesse came to Eloqua from the newsroom trenches. As Managing Editor, it's his job to find the hot topics and compelling stories throughout the marketing world. He started his career at the Boston Herald and the Boston Business Journal before moving west of his native New England. When he's not sifting through data or conducting interviews, you can find him cycling around sunny Austin, TX.


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