The three marketing fears that keep you up at night

An embarrassing typo in an email subject line, a “hacked” Twitter account, a PPC ad which spent £10,000 instead of the £100 allotted budget; every marketer has a fear that keeps them up at night. You’ve no doubt read a real-life horror story where one of those things did actually happen to an unfortunate marketer.

You can’t stop these horrors with a pinch of garlic and a crucifix, but they are preventable. Here are three of the biggest marketing fears and how to combat them.

1. The social media disaster


The boom of social media helped many businesses reach global audiences. Its impact has been huge for many brands, particularly smaller ones, who have gone from relatively unknown to household names across the world. Many marketers have put a huge amount of effort into social media campaigns, in the hopes that one day, one post would go ‘viral’, but what if it goes viral for all the wrong reasons?

Remember when a member of staff live-tweeted the HMV firings? Or when McDonald’s tweeted how much they hated Donald Trump? Just like how one great post can boost likes, followers and sales, one mistake can damage your entire reputation.

How to avoid disaster

Have a solid social media strategy and guidelines in place so your team knows what the boundaries are. Fast food chain Wendy’s social media team takes a risky approach, but it pays off because they know exactly who their audience is and how to speak to them. Define your tone of voice and stick to it – your followers will notice when you’ve gone off brand and likely respond poorly.

Restrict access to who can post to your social accounts and make sure employees don’t continue to have access after they’ve left the company.

2. The angry customer

Angry woman

Even the best businesses in the world have unhappy customers from time to time, but angry customers are a marketer’s worst nightmare. They don’t just write a single one-star review. They leave you multiple negatives reviews wherever possible, tell their friends and family to stay away from your brand and bombard you with scathing posts on social media.

How to tackle this nightmare

Ideally, you want to calm the customer down before they have the chance to spread any negative comments about your brand. Keep an eye on your reviews and prioritise replying to unhappy customers. If you can solve their issue quickly and politely, they won’t feel compelled to complain elsewhere – they may even change their star rating or compliment your brand on social media!

Whatever you do, don’t make the situation worse by deflecting blame or lying to the customer. Check out our guide on responding to negative feedback for more tips.

3. The misunderstood advert

sad pumpkin

Even the best intentioned, biggest and most experienced brands sometimes miss the mark. Creating eye-catching adverts that cut through the noise and sell your product or brand effectively isn’t easy. Some brands resort to controversy, which is fine if that’s what your audience admires, and it fits in with your messaging, but being controversial by mistake can be hugely damaging.

Last year Dove angered its audience and was accused of racism after a Facebook ad showed a black woman turning into a white woman. The advert was quickly removed, but the damage had unfortunately already been done.

How to prevent this catastrophe

Know your audience! Every advert campaign you run must represent your brand’s and your audience’s beliefs and values. It’s also worth running your campaign ideas past consumer groups first to ensure you’re striking the right chord.

What’s your greatest fear?

Did we miss what keeps you up at night? Let us know in the comments!

You may also enjoy reading:


Net Promoter® and NPS® are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.