5 marketing errors to avoid when promoting your small business

Forgetting the "social" part of social media is a common marketing error.

Forgetting the “social” part of social media is a common marketing error.

By Marcus Jensen

No matter if you have misspelled your message or targeted the wrong audience, the result of a mistake is always the same – loss of money and customers. To avoid that, here are all-to-common flubs you should avoid when promoting your business.

Misguided Idea

It is good to lean onto the reality of the customers when handling a marketing campaign. What is not good is going overboard with being too “in the moment.” Trying to stay current, but with a misguided message is the worst.

A famously infamous example comes from 2011 Kenneth Cole attempt to connect an “uproar in Cairo” with a popularity of their “new spring collection.” The uproar in question was the beginning of the Arab Spring and, based on a subsequent 2013 Syria-related tweet, this clothing company seems to have learned nothing from that bad experience.

Going hip backfires

Coca-Cola is one of the most famous and easily recognized brands and when they fail at marketing, the word gets around. Their campaign from mid-1980s was intended to attract a younger audience with a new formula and identity – New Coke.

Alas, while the taste was excellent, the campaign brought no results. Abandoning the established brand was seen as treacherous by many, especially in the southern U.S. states, and the sales plummeted. Luckily for Coca-Cola, the brand has always had good marketing, which brought their popularity up quickly.

Logo failures

In the days of Google’s new logo, it is always fun to remind ourselves of a few logo failures. Re-branding can sometimes be good – KFC, Starbucks, FedEx, Apple, MailChimp, etc. – but it can be disastrous for a brand. Look at Gap, for instance.

In 2010, people at Gap thought their logo is not working any more and they should design a new one. So they did and their users went berserk, but not out of joy. The brand returned to the old, perfectly good logo in just a few days, loosing thousands, both in dollars and paying customers.

Too much 2.0

Being present on social media is obligatory and you simply must have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts if you want to build a successful business. Nevertheless, too much social media can be counterproductive.

While having no social media is the worst thing to do, being present everywhere is not far from that either. Stick to two or three most popular platforms at first, and then gradually move to others. Also, do not pay for fake followers – they are computer-generated bots and not real people who bring in money. Moreover, you could notice that your Facebook page likes are dropping due to these and once deactivated accounts are removed.

Local knowledge

Knowing your client base is the surest road to success for a small business. Being friendly will get you a reputation and a word-of-mouth marketing is the cheapest way of promotion. However, pay attention to specifics of the area and learn from mistakes of others.

Two of the clumsiest came from Pepsi and Ford. The former marketed their launch in China with a slogan that, mistranslated into Chinese, offended their heritage and ancestry, while the latter manufactured a car named Pinto for Portuguese market not knowing that that word indicates a tiny penis in that language. Learn about cultural differences before expanding in order to avoid confusion and problems.

Other avoidable mistakes

It is most important not to pressure your clients – too many ads are overbearing and tiresome, so distribute them wisely. Similarly, abandon useless hashtags and too much content on Facebook and Twitter and focus on a personal connection with your followers – it is called social media for a reason!


Bio: Marcus Jensen is an Australian IT support professional. He’s running his own business, working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He’s an SF fan and has actually seen Star Wars 44 times.


  1. Kevin says:

    Great post.

  2. afahrurroji says:

    I always consider the points as you describe above. Do not let the marketing that is not good that we do actually make worse the business promotion.


  3. Marcus Jensen says:

    Thank you both for the praises.
    And yes afahrurroji, even though there is a saying that even bad marketing is better than no marketing, I would not be at peace to agree with that 100%.

  4. It’s important to have a strong logo and stick with it. Brand recognition is very important for small businesses. It instills trust with your customers and potential customers.

  5. Marcus Jensen says:

    That is true, even on a larger scale. Just take a look at what apple does. Their simple but recognizable logo is the prevailing reason people buy their products – they have created a name that carries weight with it, and a suiting brand logo to accompany it.

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