Marketing Horror Stories for Halloween

To celebrate everyone’s favorite spooky holiday in a Mad 4 Marketing way, we thought it would be a good idea to share some harrowing marketing horror stories on All Hallow’s Eve. So sit back, unwrap a mini Milky Way bar and enjoy — you might learn a few lessons to avoid making the same kinds of mistakes with your marketing strategies.

The Tale of the Child Bride

Once upon a time there was a brand-new small business that wanted to go out and see the world. Eager to explore, the business ventured beyond borders that it had previously known. The first big, worldly friend that the small business came across was a powerful marketing agency that said it would show the small business results beyond its wildest dreams. Overjoyed, the small business leaped on board, agreeing to contractually bind its brand and budget to this giant advertising agency. At first, everything was just as the powerful marketer described: Plans were moving ahead, creative was being approved and an enormous plan was set in motion. But one day, before the slowly growing business took off, things began to halt. The small business was running out of money. And with all of its investment tied up with the major marketing agency, it didn’t have the resources to break free and find a new way to get out on its own. Days passed, summer turned to winter and the once-hopeful small business stalled on its grand plans of traversing the globe — all thanks to putting all of its eggs in one basket with the first big agency that it came across.

Lessons: Explore many marketers to figure out who’s the best bet for you; bigger is not always better. Diversify your campaign so that you’re not resting on one untried plan. And be careful with your budget so that you can go the distance.

The Haunted Mansion

The neighborhood kids would dare each other to sneak up and ring the doorbell of the old house at the end of the street. It had been there since before they were born. Their parents even said they couldn’t remember a time when the old, creaky mansion hadn’t stood there. The Brand family owned it, but no one ever saw people come and go. The garden never grew. There was never a new coat of paint. The mansion was falling into a state of disrepair. It even made the neighborhood look bad, dragging down the value of  newer houses that other families would build around it. The realtors knew that investing in bigger, better properties wouldn’t ultimately increase the value of the community. The only way to really revitalize the neighborhood would be to tear the old Brand mansion down. But years went by and they couldn’t get the Brands to give up their home or change it. Little by little the neighbors moved to outlying towns. Their children grew up. And long after even their children grew up, and their grandchildren too, the Brand house still stood, decrepit, alone.

Lesson: Holding on to the past can leave your business without a relevant reputation or loyal customers. Sometimes you need to rebrand and take your business in a new direction. Changing with the times can lead to prosperity not only for your company — but for your happy clients, satisfied investors and successful business partners as well.

The Sad Case of Cutting Corners

Once upon a time there was a brilliant but eccentric mastermind named Mr. Marketer who lived in a huge tower at the top of a mountain called Cutting Corners. It went so high that very few people could see the very top. All of the villagers were awed by his ingenuity and architecture, and lauded his home as the finest in the land. Being a vain man, Mr. Marketer liked this attention very much indeed. On the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking on his glorious project, Mr. Marketer invited all of the townspeople to his home to celebrate him. Once they were all inside, the ground began to shake. There was a monstrous bellowing from beneath their feet. Before even one bottle of champagne was uncorked, everyone fled in terror to the valley below — and from there, they watched the beautiful tower crumble to the ground. “What happened?” They asked Mr. Marketer with dismay. “I wanted my tower to reach the sky, but at first I didn’t have the money to achieve my vision,” he sadly admitted. “So I skimped on the foundation of the project. I worried more about how tall my tower reached, instead of the stability of its structure.” The villagers now looked upon this man with only pity, and after that day no one heard from him again.

Lessons: The cheapest route is not always the best, so be sure to valuate your ROI against what you wish to spend. Always keep an eye on the future of a long-term project, because short-term results are not the whole story. And never trust looks alone; vanity in a project can keep you from exploring less popular options that may actually help you stand out from the crowd — in the right way.

At Mad 4 Marketing, we’ve unfortunately seen businesses confront similar scary stories with their marketing plans, leaving everyone haunted by the decisions. But by witnessing these experiences, and sometimes helping to clean up the aftermath for our clients, we’ve gained the knowledge to help you predict and avoid similar pratfalls. If you’ve already made a few mistakes of your own? Don’t worry: Unlike the end of a gory horror film, in real life it’s almost never too late to get back on the right path. Our team’s combined experience and insight will guide the way.

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