Marketing Mistakes & How to Recover

Sometimes you take a look at a brand’s post and you think – what on earth was going through their mind when they decided that was a good idea? That’s exactly what sprung to mind when we (and most of the internet) saw this “12 Years of [sic] Slave” post from PureGym Luton & Dunstable on Monday. There are marketing mistakes, and then there are just plain mistakes.

PureGym Luton and Dunstable

This isn’t even the first insensitive social media post we’ve seen from a gym in the last month – back in September, a local North East CrossFit influencer posted a “9/11 Challenge” workout. In the last couple of days, *another* gym has posted an insensitive George Floyd “themed” workout. Are we missing something? Is this part of the promo for the new Sacha Baron-Cohen film?

Wodwell George Floyd I Can't Breathe Marketing Mistakes

We hope you’re wise enough to never make mistakes as massive as this, but as Alexander Pope once said, “to err is human”. If your brand has not yet had a mild social media malfunction, marketing gaffe or minor error, count yourself lucky. Also, accept that your day will come. It always does. Even the smart alec digital media whizzes at dmt sometimes slip up. The best you can do is try and prepare for what you’d do if and when this happens.

Vrbo Email Marketing Mistakes

When the holiday/vacation rental property company “Vrbo” did a bit of an oopsie, they clapped back with a fantastic response that more than made up for the mistake. Obviously, this is not quite the same calibre of a gaffe as a racially insensitive workout, which meant they could handle this in a much more lighthearted way.

Basically, Vrbo sent out this above “Internal User Test” email to all of their subscribers. Not ideal, but not the end of the world and we presume no employees were fired over this. Customers were treated to the classic “Lorem ipsum” placeholder text, and an invitation to explore the less than world-famous “Destination City”.

Vrbo Marketing Mistakes Recovery

Handling it incredibly well, their follow up was an honest announcement of their accident. Furthermore, they used this as an opportunity to show some of their ideal holiday destinations and admit it’s “time for a vacation”.

If your mistake isn’t too bad and your brand’s TOV is lighthearted and personal, doing this is a great way of proving you respect your customers enough to admit when you’ve done something wrong. In a world where apologising for wrongdoings is a bit of a regular occurrence for big brands, it’s nice to see something that feels real and honest.

American Red Cross Twitter marketing mistakes

A bit more of a vintage example, this 2011 tweet from American Red Cross was, pretty obviously, posted to the wrong account via HootSuite. ARC’s social media specialist Gloria Huang made the mix-up and the tweet was live for a full hour before being discovered.

One of the more serious marketing mistakes, a professional healthcare company such as the Red Cross obviously doesn’t want itself associated with binge drinking culture. Especially with a spelling error and crap hashtag attached to it. Huang admitted to the mistake on her personal Twitter account, reasoning that she had an “inability to use HootSuite” and that she wasn’t actually “#GettngSlizzerd” (although that’s hard to believe).

American Red Cross Twitter marketing mistakes recovery

Even though it was indeed a pretty serious mistake, the response was quite lighthearted. Not only that, but it spawned a fantastic collaboration, with beer company Dogfish Head encouraging their customers to donate to the Red Cross. Some money was made for ARC, and everyone escaped (relatively) problem-free.

Once again, if you haven’t yet experienced a marketing mess, beware, because it WILL happen. If massive companies can eff up, then your startup is not immune either.

Luckily, dmt have a hell of a lot of experience with marketing. Whether you want kick-ass emails or need to be steered in the right direction with content, we can help!

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