10 Common Marketing Blunders and How to Avoid Them

Jeff Lizik
7 min readFeb 12, 2019


Few things are more humiliating to business owners than failing to catch major marketing blunders — especially marketing blunders that were easy to prevent in the first place.

From embarrassing spelling mistakes to bombarding customers with e-mails, marketing pitfalls can cause your audience to wonder whether you are as careless about your delivery of products and services as you are your marketing campaigns.

Below are the ten common marketing blunders made by marketing teams and some simple steps you can take to avoid them.

1) Inundating customers with too many emails

“If you keep bombarding your email list with emails, whether promotional or non-promotional, your subscriber list will begin to shrink at a rapid pace. In fact, 69 percent of users unsubscribe due to ‘too many emails’.”

– Renzo Costarella, Entrepreneur

As a business owner, it can be tempting to email your customers every day in an effort to bolster sales or promote your latest new product. But if you email your customers too frequently, you increase the likelihood that they will unsubscribe. But it is not always easy to pinpoint how frequently you should email your customers. After all, every industry is different and each audience is unique.

Coschedule analyzed 20 studies and reports to determine the ideal frequency to use when sending e-blasts. The Coschedule team also uncovered the key reasons why customers choose to unsubscribe to e-mail lists. While there was some variance according to company and industry, most people said that they would like to receive emails “At least monthly.” A much smaller percentage of respondents said they wanted daily or weekly e-mails, highlighting the need to refrain from sending emails too frequently.

2) Creating content that is not interesting or relevant to your audience

Dull or uninspiring content can cause your audience to tune out when they receive your marketing materials. It is up to you to know your audience and cater to their needs and interests. This means ensuring that your content is interesting, relevant, and valuable. For instance, if you own a medical equipment company, you may choose to feature a case study on a hospital that used one of your transport incubators to save the life of a baby in a remote area. Or you might feature a testimonial from a doctor who is able to see more patients thanks to the efficiency of your new electro-surgical unit Neil Patel outlines some specific strategies to help you create valuable content:

  • Make sure your content is original
  • Use images and video to engage your audience
  • Report data and statistics accurately
  • Update your website and blog on a regular basis

3) Choosing subject titles that are dull or impersonal

Underestimating the power of a strong subject title can produce devastating short-term and long-term marketing blunders. With nearly half of all e-mail recipients choosing to open an email based upon the subject title alone, you cannot afford to use a lackluster subject title. Marketing expert Khalid Saleh highlights some of the key mistakes marketing specialists make when selecting a subject title:

  • Being too wordy: Less than 10% of people will open an email with a subject title that is more than 20 words
  • No personalization: Subject titles that are not personalized are 22% less likely to be opened than those that are customized
  • Including “Fw”: Emails with subject lines containing “fw” were read 17% less than those that did not appear to be forwarded
  • No sense of urgency: Subject titles that do not create a sense of urgency are opened 22% less than those that do

4) Using poor quality images

Featuring blurry or poor quality images on your website or e-blasts can give the impression that you lack familiarity with current technology and may be ill-equipped to handle their needs. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to solve. Simply make sure that you use high-resolution images to illustrate your products and services. Today’s high-resolution digital cameras are affordable and easy to purchase online or in a local retail store.

5) Promising free products that you are unable to deliver

Offering freebies or bundling products to move inventory can be a highly effective marketing strategy. However, if you make promises that you are unable to keep, you will irritate your customers and perhaps even lose their trust. For instance, if you offer a free miniature stainless steel reindeer with every holiday wreath that is purchased, you could be in hot water if you discover that your reindeer stock is low and there is a shortage of stainless steel.

If you are going to promise free products with specific purchases, make sure you avoid marketing blunders and ensure you have checked your existing inventory and contacted your vendors to make certain that you are not at risk for running out of your freebies in advance of your promotion’s expiration date.

6) Employing shady marketing tactics

“Unfortunately, underhanded and shady practices are still alive and well in the SEO world. While most SEOs and website owners don’t intentionally set out to deceive the search engines, ignorance is no excuse; using these strategies to get ahead in the search rankings will inevitably get you penalized, whether you meant to be deceptive or not.”

– John Rampton, Entrepreneur and Founder of Due

Shady marketing tactics are even worse than stale or outdated marketing techniques. Unfortunately, many businesses still employ some of these “Black Hat” marketing tactics, which can hinder your SEO rankings and even result in your business being penalized by Google. Here are a few unsavory marketing blunders that are still used by a number of companies:

  • Keyword stuffing, or using the same words or phrases over and over again in an article in an effort to improve SEO
  • Article spinning, or changing a few words periodically in an existing article and presenting it as your own content
  • Scraping, or taking content from one site to use on another to attract traffic

7) Failing to stay abreast of the latest industry trends

Failure to stay abreast of the latest industry trends can give the impression that your business is not on the cutting edge of your industry. If you are not networking, attending marketing trade shows, and following industry news, you will ultimately be surpassed by your competitors who are staying on top of the latest developments in the marketing world.

8) Failing to proofread your content

Launching a marketing campaign without proofreading the content is one of the marketing blunders that can make your business the laughing stock of your industry. While some spelling mistakes are simply humorous, others can be downright offensive. Consider the examples below that illustrate how one or two letters can ruin an otherwise effective marketing campaign:

  • When trying to promote its Angus Burger, a McDonald’s restaurant in Hartford Connecticut advertised an “Anus Burger”
  • While trying to appeal to millions of voters, Mitt Romney misspelled America (spelling it “Amercia”) on his mobile app
  • Clothing giant H&M misspells the word “genius” on a newly released t-shirt

9) Sending emails to the wrong audience segment

To illustrate how devastating this blunder can be, imagine the following scenario: You create a special “20% OFF” e-mail campaign that is designed to “earn back” the business of customers who have not purchased from you in over two years. Then, instead of sending it to your dormant customers, you inadvertently send it to current customers.

With just a couple of quick clicks of your mouse, you have managed to offend your most loyal customers. They will wonder why THEY are not eligible for a special discount when they reward you on a regular basis with their business. Some customers might even choose to take their business elsewhere under the following premise: “Well, maybe if I take my business elsewhere for a year or two, I will receive a special offer.”

10) Failing to monitor your marketing campaigns

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

– John Wanamaker

You can introduce the best marketing initiatives in the world, but if you do not track their results, you will never know which campaigns were truly effective. Laura Lake, marketing consultant and author of “Consumer Behavior for Dummies”, describes how critical it is to track your marketing campaigns. In her article, “How to Track Marketing Efforts”, Lake discusses call tracking and other specific monitoring techniques to help you monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Your quick reference guide to avoiding major marketing blunders

The mistakes above are more common than you might think. Fortunately, you can avoid these pitfalls by carefully executing your marketing strategies. Below are some key takeaways to help you avoid the marketing blunders outlined above.

  • Avoid inundating your customers with too many e-mails
  • Know your audience and ensure that content is valuable to them
  • Include an expiration date or “while supplies last” footer on all special offers
  • Make sure to check your inventory before offering freebies
  • Use a headline analyzer to choose subject titles that are personalized, interesting, and relevant
  • Steer clear of Black Hat marketing tactics
  • Stay on top of current marketing trends by networking, attending trade shows, and setting up Google alerts
  • Be sure that you are sending promotions to the proper audience segment
  • Always have at least two people proofread any and all content before distributing it to customers
  • Monitor your marketing campaigns to assess their effectiveness

By following these ten tips, you can prevent some of the embarrassing marketing blunders that have sabotaged many unsuspecting businesses. Put your business on the path to industry success today by approaching your marketing campaigns with care and enthusiasm.

This article first appeared on JeffLizik.com



Jeff Lizik

Chronicles of the journey of a digital marketing entrepreneur. Sharing lessons learned and insights on marketing, entrepreneurship and productivity.