Marketing Genius from Maple Creative


Marketing tips, observations & philosophy, plus a few rants and random musings - from those who practice, preach and teach marketing, research, advertising, public relations and business strategy.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What's Your Biggest Marketing Flop?

I usually ask my audience this question whenever I do a training seminar or speaking engagement: "What is your biggest marketing flop?"

Here's a snapshot of responses from a recent group--

I placed a single ad in the newspaper to promote an event. Received zero response.

Have not had any success from newspaper advertising.

We planned a private retail shopping party. From the RSVPs we thought we had 25 people coming and planned food, staff, etc., accordingly. Only two disinterested people showed up, and we did not sell one dollar's worth of merchandise.

When I was starting out in business, I got my first call from a reporter. I did not prepare, and the call caught me off guard. Needless to say, my message did not come across in the story as well as it should have.

I have not had any response to my "yellow page" ads.

Have you had any experiences like these? What could these folks have done differently? Let's hear from you marketing geniuses.

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Blogger bong said...

Got free publicity from a TV network and did not do much to take advantage of it. We should have had more interviews and shop features.

The two exposures we had generated some interest for our shop but I failed to maximize the event by offering incentives to those who visited because of the show.

Plus, we've shown a couple of brands we never had yet and sad to say people looked for them.

Our partners took so long to bring their merchandise in that we lost a couple or more of sales opportunities.

3:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Billboard. Even though it was combined with newspaper advertising in the area. $6000 over 6 months for 4 customers.

8:22 AM

Blogger ScLoHo said...


Thanks for the questions. I posted my answers here:

---Scott Howard

9:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Three things come to mind to avoid these situations: know who your customers/prospects are, know where they are and talk to them in an appropriate tone. From the examples, it may be that newspapers are not read by the target audience, the sales party did not communicate value, the products sold are not looked up on the yellow pages, etc.

Adelino de Almeida

12:18 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Thanks for sharing your experience. It helps all of us to learn from one another!


3:34 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Thanks for adding to the conversation. I am headed to your blog right now to view your answers.


3:36 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...

Dear Anonymous Billboarder-

First, thanks for sharing your experience. I was wondering how much one customer is worth ... and also, how much might those 4 new customers have purchased over a six-month period. Those things considered, it might not have been a bad ROI. For what it's worth, we like billboards for a third-level or tertiary tactic as a reinforcment mechanism in an integrated, layered marketing campaign.


3:38 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Well stated. Couldn't have presented the advice any better myself. Thank you very much for adding your voice to the conversation!


3:39 PM

Anonymous Midwester said...

Ok, so I read this topic & actually have a question about something which may lead to one of the biggest marketing flops - it has to do with setting up a blog sponsored by a vineyard & natural products company. My client wants to set up an interactive website similar to in which topics would given on a weekly basis to discuss on any topic - including religion & politics. I have advised him that this is a PR nightmare & that all blogs have a theme, which for this company would be wines, natural health & things of this nature. Please advise if there are opinions both ways, as I would never want to advise this company to do something which may end up in consumer backlash resulting from beginning blog converstations about topics which do not directly relate to this company.

1:28 PM

Blogger Skip Lineberg said...


Thank you for joining the conversation!

As for your client's situation, I would want to know all of the facts before giving a definitive answer. However, at a glance, I tend to agree with your assessment and would recommend that they keep it closely related to the theme. To do otherwise would come off as gimmicky and insincere, i.e., cheap, thin hype.

5:01 PM


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