4 first world marketing mistakes to avoid making

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There’s an old adage that goes, “you need to break a few eggs to make a cake”. This doesn’t mean, however, that you have to break every egg you have in order to get the cake just right. There is a bit of an advantage to being in an emerging economy. The fact that first world markets have gone through the pain of developing and learning online marketing techniques first means there is a wealth of knowledge which emerging economies can learn from in order to ensure that their online marketing strategy is optimally efficient and not always exploratory.

Why do emerging economies need to learn from first world mistakes?

In first world economies, and especially in big business, there is a lot of cash to go around and it takes a little while before the mistakes pile up enough to be a catastrophic failure to the point where the business may fall over. So, what are some of the mistakes that first world marketers have made (and continue to make)?

1. Huge, Big, Awesome Complicated Ideas
Just because an idea is clever, doesn’t mean that it is going to work. When planning your marketing campaign, always look through to the action that you need your users to take. Amazon is brilliant at doing this. They are constantly testing and evaluating their site to ensure that users who interact with it have an intuitive sense of where to go and what to do. Ensure that there are as few hurdles your users need to jump to do business with you as possible.

2. Cover all the bases


US fast food outlet Burger King learnt this one the hard way. Burger King had a campaign called “Whopper Virgins” (an unfortunate title already). The campaign kicked off with a teaser commercial, which directed viewers to the campaign website.

If you were interested enough and went to the site; you were treated to videos of people from other countries trying out a Whopper against a Big Mac in a blind taste test.

What went wrong with their campaign is that they forgot to factor in how people would find their campaign online.

If you got the domain wrong and went to whoppervirgin.com (which has since been bought by Burger King) you landed on a parked domain filled with AdSense for Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Money, etc.

If you did try and search the campaign the lack of text on the website meant it didn’t rank very well within Google.

In fact, the actual campaign didn’t feature on the top three pages while it was running. Search Engine Optimisation was clearly not a priority in their plans.

All campaigns need to be integrated across marketing platforms to ensure that when your audience sees your initial pull to get them to interact with your campaign, there is no way they can “get lost” while trying to find that campaign through another medium.

3. What’s the point
Very often, when large advertising and marketing agencies get involved; there is a tendency for the campaign’s underlying message and fundamental objective to go out the window. South Africa’s Loerie Awards are excellent accolades but they should not be the marker of a campaign’s success. Effective ads do not have to win awards for being fancy and for having huge budget. Effective ads convert the skeptical viewer into a paying customer.

4. Hire the best, not your cousin
Bearing the above in mind, the industry does exist for a reason and there are agencies out there doing some excellent work when it comes to getting results for clients. Budgets are usually a lot tighter in emerging economies than first world ones, but there are three Major mistakes which emerging economies and small businesses make which are especially counter-productive:

a. I don’t need online marketing: I’ve got a Yellow Pages Ad
The world is moving online at a rapid rate of knots and so is the Yellow Pages. It’s time to move to where your customers are moving.

b. My niece is pretty good at computers — she can help me over the Summer
Would you let your niece run your business? Then don’t let her near your businesses online presence or marketing collateral.

c. ‘Noone wil notise a few typing errers’


Your online presence is the face of your business. If you slack on your quality control here; what guarantee has your customer got that you are not going to slack on the quality of other aspects of your business?

Emerging economy marketers are incredibly fortunate in that they have a recipe for success that has been written by marketers in the world’s leading economies. All that they have to do is look and learn from where these marketers have seen their greatest successes and failures and then contextualize these for their markets to secure the successes in their own strategies.

Image: Erica Marshall of muddyboots.org.

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  • Haroun Kola

    Its funny how the pony tailed brigade can be so out of touch with the digital reality, and have so much money to create an expensive disaster!

  • http://www.headarticle.com Latif

    I think it is a shortcut to be able dominate market share, but if the website is just relying on search engine so they do not get what they expect. Distributing the website would be better to use twitter, but why didn’t I found the twitter button in there

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