The Upsets of Marketing Madness

Marketing MadnessAh, March Madness. One tournament, 68 teams, hundreds of players, single elimination. We are in the midst of this beautiful event, where any team has a chance to come out on top. As we’ve seen, March Madness is full of buzzer-beaters, and underdogs coming out on top with upsets. Even those who hardly know anything about college basketball become passionate about the tournament, fighting to win their bracket challenge. The multi-faceted nature and contagious energy of March Madness make it hard to stay away.

The same applies to digital marketing. (Did you see that coming?) When considering the number of ways to market using digital methods, I’m sure you can think of at least 68. Facebook alone has about 50 ways to market your business. It’s a great spot to be, having so many options. But it can also be tricky, with ‘upsets’ happening as frequently as they do in the March Madness Tournament.

There are lots of articles and blogs out there discussing the successes and benefits of marketing and lead generation. But who’s talking about the curveballs, struggles and upsets that come with it? Below you’ll find Part One of a three-part series, of these 68 instances, where marketing will drive you, well, mad. You’ll also find ways to prevent or correct these upsets. Enjoy!

Social Media

#1 Typos We’ve all done it. Typos aren’t just when Microsoft Word puts a squiggly red or green line under; there is a whole world of grammatical errors out there just waiting to wreak havoc. You can see 20 of them here. To avoid making these mistakes, check out tools like Grammarly, which can be used on your desktop or as a browser plug-in. It is, however, a fan of the Oxford comma. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

#2 Posting on the Wrong Account I have personal experience with this one. Nothing inappropriate, but still a funny (and cringe-worthy) story. While in college, I replied to a friend who had tweeted my personal account using an organization’s Twitter account that I managed (not Abstrakt) –  with my bitmoji. Yikes. Thankfully, I took it down quickly since I realized it within 30 seconds, which is the key to resolving this situation. Learn from me – avoid posting on the wrong account, but if you do, be vigilant.

#3 Bad Excuses Social media blunders happen. But when they do, it’s important to come clean about them. Honesty really is the best policy, and blaming the intern is not.

#4 Chatbots While chatbots can be a great tool for managing replies and customer issues, it’s also important to monitor them so that they’re actually helping. Be sure to set up several different replies, as your customers will not all have the same concern.


Michael scott quote#5 Asking Too Few (or Too Many) Questions As a general rule, the more questions you ask, the better. Average reps ask 6.3 questions and top performers ask 10 to 14. They also dig deeper and listen more. But beware – after 14 questions, sales rates head back down toward average.

#6 Head Trash This could also be referred to as negative or pessimistic thoughts, but ‘head trash’ just explains this concept so well. Some examples of this could include the following:

  • “I’m not prepared”
  • “I’m never going to close this deal”
  • “I don’t feel like selling today”
  • “I’m exhausted”

Develop a routine that squashes head trash, and help other team members when they’re feeling down!

#7 Leaving Too Little Time to Discuss Next Steps Winning sales reps devote almost 13% more time at the end of their demos to discussing “next steps.” They use that time to confirm how they’ll move the project forward. That’s critical to confirming buy-in. Without confirming next steps and buy-in, you’re marketing, not selling.

#8 Asking Your Questions “Checklist Style” Don’t grill your buyer with rapid-fire questions. They’ll think you’re going through a checklist without listening to their problems. Spread your questions throughout the conversation in a balanced, natural way. If you ask all your questions at the beginning of the call, you’ll sound scripted and impersonal.

#9 Pitching Rather Than Conversing Take turns. It’s going to feel more authentic for everyone and will increase your chances of success. Bounce back and forth between speakers to make sure everyone is engaged in the conversation. In fact, a higher number of “speaker switches” per minute correlates with your odds of a second meeting and a strong connection.


“Everybody wants to take responsibility when you win, but when you fail, all these fingers are pointing.” – Coach K (Duke Head Coach 1980-present)


PPC Advertising

#10 Using Telephone Numbers Not many people will pick up their phone and dial your number if they see your ad. Including a phone number is just wasting space that can be used for an effective message. Instead, use a click-to-call extension feature. 

#11 Ad Extensions Using ad extensions in your ads will increase your click-through rate around 10%. The typical CTR on a site link is just 0.1%. Use them!

#12 Keywords in Ad Copy Be sure to utilize keywords you have researched in your ad copy and integrate it in a strategic way to make your ad more relevant. Like always, avoid keyword stuffing!



#13 Image Quality Check your images, people. And not just on your computer, but other devices, too! Blurry or pixelated graphics can take a page’s credibility down several notches in a small amount of time.

#14 Font Choices  Please stop using fonts that give readers a headache after 10 words. While it may look cool for a heading, body text should be as readable as possible, without straining any eyeballs. And while we’re on the topic, please stop using Comic Sans and Papyrus. 

#15 Relevant Images This goes hand-in-hand with the first design point. While a stock photo might look crisp and clean on your webpage, it doesn’t help much if it has nothing to do with the content on your page. Stick to images that are relevant to your business and industry!

#16 Missing the Overall Point Minimize this huge mistakes by doing some research and seeing what types of design projects have previously worked in your industry. Big, flashy design doesn’t work for all target audiences, so do your homework before embarking on your design journey.


“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden (UCLA Head Coach 1948-1975)


Reputation Management

#17 Neglecting Positive Reviews It’s common to want to respond to only negative reviews, but be sure to interact with the positive feedback, too!

#18 Responding Appropriately Negative reviews are never easy to read, but keeping your cool is important. Replying to these in a respectful and open-minded way will prevent further backlash and harm to your brand’s reputation. Check out these responses to get some ideas.

#19 Not Asking for Reviews Few places won’t ask you to fill out a survey or leave a review after you visit. If you aren’t asking your customers to leave feedback, you’re missing a huge marketing opportunity! You probably have more customers out there than you realize that would be more than happy to share their experience.

#20 Suing Customers that Leave Bad Reviews Yikes. While some businesses would never even consider this option, going to court over a review is definitely something that has happened a time or two. Check out some examples of this ordeal happening, and avoid it at all costs.


These common marketing mess-ups aren’t always easy to predict or prevent, but they can all be fixed! It’s important to learn from them when they do occur to better help your business in the future. Stay tuned for Part Two, where even more marketing madness situations will be discussed.