Marketing and marketers in general have a bad rap for being annoying, self-centered, and bullish. Unfortunately the bad behavior of a few has created a bad reputation for the whole. It’s part of my public service to rid business of said marketers
I offer the 12 most annoying things anyone can do in their marketing so that, hopefully, you won’t make these same horrible mistakes.
1. Talk incessantly
We’re drawn in when something piques our curiosity and when we feel listened to, so shut-up and focus on starting a conversation. That means two people conversing back and forth, not one person on autopilot while the other one daydreams of sticking a fork in their eye.
2. Cold call/email
Everyone hates telemarketers and spam, yet somehow they keep coming. Trash those purchased lists of “leads” and focus instead on meeting people and building a relationship.
3. Leading with a hard sell pitch
No one wants to feel like they have a bulls-eye on their head marked with a giant dollar sign. Get to know someone before you try to sell to them.
4. Attack your competitors
You may think that highlighting your competitor’s downfalls will make you look like the better choice, but in reality it makes you look petty and threatened (ahem Coke and Pepsi I’m also talking to you). The Facebook PR fiasco is a prime example of how this can come back and bite you in the—well, you get it.
5. Use tragedy as a gimmick
You may have remembered that fashion designer who tried to use the middle east revolutions and people’s deaths as a way to drive attention to his Twitter feed, or the woman who jumped on board the #notguilty hash tag in an effort to sell more baked goods. Both backfired horribly. Using tragedy as a sales tool is in bad taste. Don’t do it.
6. Pick fights
Polarization is good. It means you are standing up for something and adding another element to a debate. However, flat out insulting people and picking fights is a great way to turn people off to your message.
7. Automate engagement
It’s okay to automate some posts/preset some posts but when it comes to interacting auto-dm’s and canned responses are not only disingenuous, they’re the kiss of death. Instead interact on a personal level and find short cuts elsewhere.
8. Talk over people’s heads
No matter how smart you are or how many degrees you have, when it comes to talking to your general audience simple, plain language is best. Campaigns and copy that sound more like a thesis then a friendly conversation are always ignored.
9. Make promises you can’t keep
It’s an easy temptation—promise customers anything to get them to buy. Too often those promises are hard to keep. Its best to stick with the “under promise, over deliver approach” and leave the snake oil cure all sales tactics to the crooks and scammers.
10. Over stuff the channel
Slightly different from incessantly talking, this is when companies over produce marketing materials and then try to send them out very close together. Daily emails, weekly direct mails, and constant updates can get overwhelming and force people to shut off to your message no matter how good it is. Don’t stalk people with your marketing materials. Give them time to get to know you and let them ask for it when they’re ready.
11. Outsourcing to companies who don’t speak the same language
Nothing is more annoying than getting a cold call from someone whom you can’t even understand. Make sure that whomever you employ to handle you’re marketing can be understood and can carry on a real conversation.
12. No clear call to action
Nothing is more annoying then when you get excited about a product or service but have no idea what you need to do next to either learn more or get started. Not only is it annoying, it’s often one of the main reasons why the company isn’t selling. So be sure to include a clear next step in every marketing piece you do.
If people were to truly follow the golden rule in their marketing the above wouldn’t even exist. No one likes to be on the receiving end of the above tactics, yet so many employ them in their businesses. Ditch these twelve habits as quickly as possible and instead focus on thinking from the perspective of your customer. When you’re the customer what do you like? What don’t you like? Common sense will get you far, and common courtesy will take you even farther toward getting your message heard.