Danger Ahead: 10 of the Absolute Worst Marketing Mishaps of 2016

Ah, marketing. Love it or hate it, a well crafted and executed marketing campaign still has the power to move us…to tears, or laughter, or awe, and ultimately, to purchase.

At least that’s the goal. Sometimes though, it falls just a little short.

For every puppy-monkey-baby (although annoying, it did capture a lot of attention for Mountain Dew Kickstart), there’s something so cringeworthy that you can’t help but, well, cringe.

A “good” ad campaign can live forever. David Ogilvy’s 1959 marketing for the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud is widely considered the best automobile ad of all-time.

Unfortunately, a “bad” campaign can live just as long (and likely feels even longer). Some brands and products never get over it.

Every year around this time we celebrate the best of the best. The marketing ads and – in our modern digital world – social media posts that did everything right. The instant classics.  

The best campaigns are good for inspiration…but it’s the worst of the bunch that makes us guffaw and shake our heads in a that-would-never-happen-to-me kind of way.

These ten take the prize for 2016. Read. Watch. Enjoy. But under no circumstances should you repeat.

One Tool to Rule Them All: How to Score True Social Media Automation

social media automation

Photo courtesy of Photoroyalty – Freepik

Let’s play a game.

Stand up. For every question I ask, stay standing if the answer is yes (you can sit if the answer is no. Take a break. Go get a coffee).

Are you using social media as part of your blog and/or content marketing strategy?

Do you share your content (your original blog posts, videos, infographics, and more) on your social media accounts?

Do you share curated content (from other sources) on those same social media accounts?

Do you recognize the potential of automation?

Have you implemented automation of some sort into your social media strategy?

Do you at least sometimes schedule your social media posts in one monster session (each morning, or every week)?  

Ever heard of Buffer or Hootsuite?

Still standing? Then this post is for you (yes, you…but those of you who were sitting by the end can still read it, too).  

And thanks for playing (editor’s note – I didn’t say it would be a fun game). But I do promise you’ll come away from this blog post with a better understanding of why and how to harness the power of social media automation the right way.

Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Twitter Bio and Why You Need One

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We’re all online looking for someone. Our next fan, follower, employee, lover, business partner, critic, cheerleader, investor, mark, or exorcist (that last one is admittedly rather specific to my needs this week).

Everyone’s searching for something. And we’re turning to social media in snowballing numbers to do so. A full 78% of Americans have at least one social network profile in 2016, and there’s currently about 2.2 billion social media users worldwide.

With those kinds of numbers, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for (unless you’re U2, in which case you still haven’t found what you’re looking for). But the onslaught can work against you, too.

How do you stand out in a crowd of 2.2 billion?

You can’t. Not really. But you can work smaller. One platform at a time.

Take Twitter, for example. Good old Twitter (can something started in 2006 really be called “old”?). It’s got a respectable 310 million active users, but that’s a far cry from Facebook’s 1.65 billion. So how do you stand out in a crowd of 310 million?

As Danny Kaye would say, make ‘em laugh. Everyone loves a comedian. And your Twitter bio is the perfect opportunity to give ‘em a chuckle and make a quick connection. Bios have a cap of 160 characters; not a lot, but certainly more than you need to make an impression.

Flying the Coop: 9 Reasons You’re Losing Twitter Followers

Photo courtesy of Julia_Tim/Depositphotos.com

It’s the fourth largest social network in the world, behind only Facebook, Google+ (according to Google at any rate), and Instagram, with over 300 million active users.

From humble beginnings on March 21, 2006, it now boasts an average of 6000 tweets per second, 500 million tweets per day, and 200 billion per year.

It’s penetration among U.S. social media users is a healthy 29.2%, with 42.6 million Americans using the app on their smartphone.

All hail Twitter!

Remember Twitter? It doesn’t get the attention it once did (everyone has moved on to Snapchat…and Peach, although no one can explain that one), but it still has a place of honour at the Social Media table. Facebook may be the Godfather, but Twitter is Sonny.

Okay, maybe not Sonny. But at least Fredo. And you need to show it proper respect.

The Real Dynamic Duo: Email Marketing and Dynamic Segmentation

Holy alliterative descriptor, Batman!

The Dynamic Duo will always be Batman and Robin for some. They fight crime. They wear tights. They drive some epically cool vehicles. They’re dynamic alright.

Dynamic segmentation, on the other hand, may not be as flashy as the Caped Crusader and his colourful sidekick, but it can be just as powerful. Nay! More powerful. It could take on the Joker, the Penguin, and Two-Face all at once…metaphorically speaking.

But what is it exactly, and why is it so crucial to your success in 2016? In the immortal words of Bette Davis:

“Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

Or morning, or mid-afternoon. Whenever you’re reading this, really. And it won’t be so much bumpy as informative and helpful…but “it’s going to be an informative and helpful night” just doesn’t have the same ring.

When Nursery Rhymes Lie: Words CAN Hurt You

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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Remember that one from childhood? Useful anytime someone had the audacity to toss verbal ninja stars at us…but turns out it was false! Words most definitely can hurt you.

Using certain words could be having a negative impact on your online performance. To paraphrase Napoleon from Animal Farm:

“All words are created equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Deciding on which words to use – and which to actively NOT use – can be the difference between ranking well in the search engines, and languishing in obscurity (using keywords for SEO). Between a successful pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, and throwing your money away (using keywords for advertising). Words, words, words. If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, we must carefully choose our weapons.

And with 12 billion monthly searches in the United States alone, there’s a lot of words out there for the plucking. Grab yours.

Evolution of the Beast: Content Marketing in 2016

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Content has been king for a few years now, but is it still lord of the manor, queen of the castle, um…duke of the duchy (okay, that last one is a bit of a stretch)? The short answer? Yes. The slightly longer answer? Yes, but…

“Content” is changing. It’s a living, breathing animal, but like any beast (and let’s face it, content marketing is a beast), it evolves over time. It’s not just blog posts and a Facebook Page anymore.


But before we open it up and play doctor, we need to define a few things. What exactly do we mean by content, and content marketing? What’s the difference between inbound and outbound marketing? What do you call the foam on a glass of beer? And what the heck is the day after tomorrow? These are the things we need to know moving forward.

Content Marketing

Creating and distributing valuable, useful, and consistent content to attract a defined audience and achieve a specific goal. The term didn’t really take off until early 2012, but it’s witnessed steady growth since then.

According to an authority no less than Seth Godin

Content marketing is the only marketing left.

Sheesh. If that’s not enough to keep content awake at night, nothing will.

Your Lucky 13 Roundup: Off-the-radar Marketing Services

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There’s an app for that. And that. And that. There are thousands of them. Some are useful, and some are not (I’m looking in your direction, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood). 

You know Buffer, and Hootsuite, Canva, and Salesforce (am I the only one who reads that to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”?). But there’s a digital plethora of lesser-known marketing services out there that are just as good – or better. Sadly though, they’re buried under several feet of marketing goodness that came before them.  

And that’s a shame because there’s some hidden gems. The ambitious among us will go digging. They’ll grab a shovel and roll up their sleeves. But the rest of us? We don’t have the time. Or the energy. Or the shovel.

But that doesn’t mean we’re not interested in them. So, consider me your spelunking guide, heading deep underground to find buried treasure on your behalf. I get dirty and chased by mole people while you reap the benefits.