Marketing Fails: Angering Your Target Audience is a Bad First Impression

When it comes to marketing, there are some fatal errors that people not only participate in but sometimes I’ve even heard them taught as if these are a good idea. When it comes to marketing tips, I’ve seen some of these promoted as “effective” even though the average consumer, when talking about them, find them annoying. Let’s talk about these Marketing Fails

Please, don’t be that person.

Marketing Fails: Unrequested Facebook Sales Groups are Annoying

Marketing Fails: Angering your target audience is a bad first impression

Not a week goes by where I don’t have to take the time to remove myself from a few Facebook groups some well-meaning person added me to.

This past week, I was part of Facebook groups selling leggings, essential oils, stickers for my nails, and some kind of diet thing. I would suddenly find my Facebook feed filled with junk I am not interested in, and notifications for things I never signed up for.

Even if I was ever to consider buying leggings, oils, those nail things, and pink drinks, I will not now. Ever. Period.


Y’all hacked me off from the first impression. My first impression of these products is not based on their benefit to me but based on them inconveniencing me by clogging my notifications and newsfeed on Facebook by adding me to a group without my permission. Whatever else you have to share…I’m not interested.

This cannot possibly help sales, can it?

Marketing Fails: Be Kind to Mobile Website Visitors — No Pop-Ups

While online this morning reading some posts, I clicked on a link that looked interesting. Suddenly, my phone screen filled up with a giant pop-up trying to get me to sign up for their newsletter opt-in.

It reminded me of a webinar where the person teaching about using newsletter opt-ins to grow your business was talking about the benefits of a pop-up opt-in because more people will sign up just to make it go away.

So, um….what now?

You decide to annoy your target market into shutting off your message.

Are you nuts? How is that a good strategy?

I actually wound up not reading that post this morning, because the stupid pop up wouldn’t go away. The irony here is that, if I valued what you had to say, I’d probably have been a return visitor. Now I’ll avoid your site like the plague.

Another website I used to enjoy visiting now has a pop-up ad that covers part of the content while you scroll down. The website’s owner told me that this was because my screen must be too small.

My computer screen must be too small? WHAT?

I am a graphic designer. As desktop monitors go, mine is a decent size, and up to date. The website owner also was trying to figure out (via a Facebook inquiry) why traffic dropped off of her blog.

Girlfriend….Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.

Marketing Fails: Did I Invite You Over?

Marketing Fails: Angering your target audience is a bad first impression

There was a time, maybe the 1950s and 1960s, where door-to-door sales was a thing.

Today that is not well received.

More than a decade ago, I had someone stop by my house just as the sun was setting to mention that my windows looked old and to tell me what kind of deal he could make to get us some “decent” windows. I was trying to get this person to leave and had made it clear I was not interested, but he kept pointing out how “bad” my windows were. Awesome.

I told them no, repeatedly, but he kept telling me how much better their company was than any other company. I slammed the door.

This was not the end, though. Apparently, we were now in the system. They again came by, because I had “Expressed interest” in talking to another salesperson. They stopped by or called at least once a week for nearly a year.

I kept calling their offices and getting nowhere until I finally talked to an owner. He said,

“Well, we want to get back to the friendliness of the 1950s ethic. Today how we do business is so impersonal, just sitting there waiting for customers to contact us. My philosophy is to train our people to look for a need and let the future customer know what we can do for them.”

Maybe we are more impersonal nowadays, but to me, I am not comfortable with people I don’t know showing up and expecting me to drop everything for them unless it’s an emergency.

I’m also pretty sure that showing up at my house and telling me that you, a total stranger, can tell my windows are crap is not going to make me want to do business with you.

In this case, as I think back to it, the sentiment was nice but poorly executed and done without respecting the customer base. Fail.

For better or for worse, in this day, no one likes being interrupted by advertising and follow up. Respect that to show respect to your readership and customer base.