Marketing Minds at Work?

With so many people fighting for our discretionary income, you would think that nobody would ever have to write about bad marketing or bad customer service. Yet, every six months or so, both of those themes surface here at No Facilities. It’s not like I’m passionate about stamping out bad marketing. It’s not like I’m anti-marketing.

Note: Scott Adams (Dilbert) might be anti-marketing. We’re guessing that he had a bad relationship with a woman in marketing. Seriously, search on “Dilbert marketing” or just click on this link. See what I mean?

I am actually pro-marketing. Our daughter is a marketing professional, and I am one of those people who appreciates a good ad campaign or a good commercial.

On the other hand, I have a real problem with bad marketing and bad ideas. I see them and I wonder: how they made it through any sort of review process without someone saying: “what were you thinking?

Recently, GoDaddy changed the login screen for their web-based email access. They changed it from something that was very GoDaddy-ish to something that looked like, well, nothing. In fact, it looked so much like nothing that we thought that someone might have hacked GoDaddy and was trying to skim our password. The funny thing is, we were pretty sure it was the real site, because those evil-doers usually do a better job. Seriously, the new GoDaddy site wasn’t as good as what a hacker would have built.

I called GoDaddy customer service, and I had the most amazing conversation:

Hi, I’m calling because we seem to be getting a really odd looking login screen when we try to access your web-mail service.”

Yes, we’re in the process of changing that screen.”

The one that we get, doesn’t have any GoDaddy branding at all, it looks like it might be a scam.”

A lot of people have shared that complaint with us. I’ll let the developers know.”

A few days later, it went back to the old site. Then, late last week, GoDaddy added a “we’re changing this screen” message to the old site with an option to preview the new, ugly site. On the new site, if you scroll all the way down to the bottom, to a section not normally visible in my browser, you see a tiny GoDaddy logo.

Maybe in next week’s Super Bowl ad, instead of Danica Patrick standing next to her black and green Indy car, GoDaddy will have an elderly man standing next to a white Buick. Maybe bland is the new sexy.

While I’m on a marketing bashing roll, let me share a few tips to the companies who are, at this very moment, trying to get my online attention:

To the folks at Starbucks and other coffee places, including those without a presence in New England:

My recent comments about Dunkin Donuts coffee do not indicate a general, exploitable interest in coffee. They indicate an interest in Dunkin Donuts coffee… period!

To my (former) car dealer:

The fact that I recently complained about the car I bought from you and the service you provided on that car, should not be taken to mean that this is a good time to try and sell me a new car. (Seriously, not only have I seen Google ads and ads on Facebook, these people actually called me to try and sell me a new car.)

To the marking knuckleheads at NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL headquarters:

Because the demographic information you’ve collected about me indicates that I live in New England doesn’t mean I’m a fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Yankees, Giants, Bruins, Mets (the Mets? seriously?), Jets (unless they’re playing the Patriots), Islanders or the Knicks. I’m all Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. I don’t follow NBA basketball at all, but, If I did, I’d root for the Celtics – I’m not completely anti-Boston.

While I’m at it, to the college sports knuckleheads:

I graduated from West Virginia University and The University of Pittsburgh, you know, the former Big East teams. I am quite capable of living in Connecticut and not being a fan of UConn sports.

To Amazon, the king of online marketing and sales:

The stuff I searched for before Christmas has either been purchased or scratched from the list. That microwave I searched for last week, it was for the office. I was actually only looking for dimensions. I bought one at Target ‘cuz people couldn’t wait another day.”

To every online travel site:

The fact that I asked for directions to Washington, D.C. doesn’t mean I’m going there. It means a friend in India wanted to know how far last week’s epic snow storm was from Connecticut.

Last, to the marketing department at Sleepy’s:

Don’t wrap your ad around the Sunday comics if you ever hope to have me read it.

For a quick look at an ad that I think is good, click here to see Watson and Ken Jennings, or this one of Watson and Bob Dylan.

91 thoughts on “Marketing Minds at Work?

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      1. Ha! Remember the “That’s Good That’s Bad” thing? The snow was hugely “that’s bad.” But I got an entire week of telework — and that made it a good week. I’m having such a bad Monday that I’m giving serious thought to a job in Detroit! Me! In the land of ice and snow! Now you *know* that’s bad. :D

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I like a good commercial too, but they don’t come along very often anymore. As long as GoDaddy still uses Danica; I don’t care what car she stands next to. Maybe you should be a Patriots fan….

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  2. There are not enough hours in the day, or days in the week, or weeks in the month or months in a year to catalog the stupidity of marketing and advertising campaigns we are seeing today. That includes print media, traditional and cable television and online. To your point early in your essay, I sit here dumbfounded that the ads make it out of a conference room without somebody with brains saying, “this is just plain stupid and will not work! Since it’s the start of the political winnowing down process, I tend to focus on political ads that insult our intelligence. Why do politicians think they will garner our vote by telling lies, distortions and half-truths about their opponents instead of trying to gain our support by informing us of their accomplishments or showcasing a concrete plan for moving the country forward? I can’t help to think how many disadvantaged people we could help with the hundreds of millions of dollars they are pouring into ads in Iowa and New Hampshire that are falling on daef ears and having no impact whatsoever on the political decision making by informed and educated voters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I don’t like to dabble in politics here Bob, but you are absolutely right about this. I don’t know what it would take (maybe term-limits) to take the money out of politics and force candidates to talk about the issues. I heard a news story last week where the commentator said “Congress won’t get much done this year, due to vacations and campaigning.” They should have to take vacation to campaign and they should have to sit in Washington and do their job the rest of the year. That’s what the average American has to do! These morons are so out of touch with what it’s like to actually live in this country.

      See, this is why I don’t go into politics…

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      1. Well it did take you over four hours to respond so I’m sure you were having reservations about doing so!

        I just saw a Volkswagen commercial this morning where a guy leaves his two young boys in the back seat of a car, with the engine obviously running, while he ran into a store to pick up something. Really? In this day an age you spend millions to put something like that on television, given the sickos in our society who manage to find their way into the headlines each day?

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        1. I still have a day job Bob. I’m almost out of lunch, so it will be perhaps four more until I get back here. When they do truly stupid things like that, I have to wonder “if this is how stupid their executives are, how smart are their engineers?”

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  3. Let me see if I got this straight: Go Daddy listened to the complaints long enough to decide that the solution was to go back and warn people of the pending change in hopes of not having to listen to more complaints about the ugly page?

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    1. I think you have it Norm. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but they aren’t really asking my opinion. It would be like if Ford had taken the Edsel off the market and then had an advertising campaign introducing the new Edsel in the next year.

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  4. Bland as the new sexy. Heh.
    I share your passionate aversion to poor marketing. The best one had to be last fall. Sassy had wanted this giant unicorn plushy, and I watched its price, which fluctuated with supply and demand. From September to December, I waited to purchase said plushy at $42 instead of $70 or $84 or $99 and every single time Sassy used my laptop the ad for the unicorn plushy was RIGHT THERE. If she hadn’t gotten the unicorn for Christmas, she might have died one of those tragically dramatic teen deaths where no one actually dies, but the house feels like a funeral. *sigh*

    I like the IBM Watson commercials, too :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I know of that teen-drama-death-like-thing. The sad thing is that I’m still getting ads for things that I bought, but I didn’t buy one from every store. I commend you on your patience at holding out for a fair price.

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  5. You really hit upon something that drives me crazy, Dan. Hardly a day goes by where I’m not lamenting, “Does no one take marketing these days? What the heck are they teaching them??”

    I could gripe endlessly about the changes to so many websites/social media platforms/etc. “Progress” is the word, people. Progress and improvements. Not regression and “less user-friendly”. WP’s new editor and the non-stop redesigns that Pinterest undergoes top my list of complaints. I would think the easiest thing to do on Pinterest would be to pin something, right? And yet the “pin it button” is the SMALLEST button on the entire page and it’s practically hidden. And it’s just a stupid plus sign? Seriously? When I log on to Pinterest, I want a GIANT unmistakeable red “PIN IT” button right at the top of my screen. The design is SO inefficient and it gets less and less user-friendly with every change they make. And guess what, websites? Not EVERYONE lives through a tiny little cell phone screen. Some of us use a thing called a “computer”, and we don’t want to have a center strip of information that uses only one third of available screen space. Stop being so lazy and keep your mobile app design SEPARATE, please, for the love of all that’s holy.

    And as far as advertising goes, geez, I miss the old days of pretty painted Coca-Cola girls and beautifully illustrated scenes of couples or families having fun. I guess I was just born in the wrong decade. (Or perhaps the wrong century! :P)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh Wendy, we could commiserate for hours on this topic. I maintain applications and website and I work very hard to keep things optimized for the device people choose to use. I thought I just didn’t understand Pinterest because I can never find the Pin-it button.

      I love the old Coca-Cola ladies – (still a fan of Pepsi). When I was in college, I worked as a mail carrier and I delivered mail to a Coca-Cola office. They had hundreds of photos and posters – I had such a crush on some of those ladies.

      As for WordPress, I don’t know why they seem to be on a mission to tick people off with the stupid design changes. And, with each new version, they seem to drop access to a feature I (used to) use.

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  6. Yeah, the car thing! Mom bought a car that tried to kill us. The dealer said they couldn’t recreate the problem so they couldn’t fix it. But they sent her letters and post cards trying to sell her another car until she told them they needed to stop or she’d sue them for harassment. :/

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    1. Oh my – I might have to try that. I wrote to one of the owners on a Monday. Tuesday evening, the Service Manager called. He offered a lame explanation and an even lamer “Accommodation” for my trouble. On Thursday, the salesman called offering to give me a great deal on a new model year version of the same car I was complaining about!

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    1. Aw, Sammy, you know me too well. It’s like I want to ask “why do people have to be stupid?” OR “why do people think I’m stupid?” I wrote this yesterday after a couple of cups and a walk with the dog.

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  7. Every time we do a search on line it’s like we’re creating poltergeists – that will haunt us forever! I never thought I’d ever seen Bob Dylan on a IBM commercial – yikes!

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    1. I know. I’m guessing those folks at IBM are over 30 :) We go leave these trails behind but they have so much other information they could use to figure stuff out. It’s not exactly s secret that I root for Pittsburgh teams. Certainly the car dealer should know that I was upset.

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  8. I agree with you! So many of the things you mentioned annoy me too. I was looking at hammocks online and came across a hammock bed. Out of curiosity, I looked to see what this was and found some crazy expensive, but cool, hanging beds. Though interesting, I don’t think I have a fancy enough back yard or bank account to buy a hammock bed for a few thousand dollars. So I just bought a good old-fashsioned $35 canvas hammock that hangs in a tree. Yet, because I looked, I now get emails, Facebook ads and whatnot about the fancier hammock beds. Maybe I should start searching for things like: coupons for free utilities and rich people who need to find worthy people to donate too….maybe then I would be bombarded with useful marketing?

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  9. As a former Chief Marketing officer for a well-known consumer products company I am with you. Someone somewhere lost sight of what the hell marketing is all about. It used to be about satisfying wants and needs with products that performed. Today it seems like a giant phishing expedition in hopes someone will get gaffed.

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  10. You made me chuckle and shake my head as I read through your posting, Dan, identifying with so much of your annoyance and frustration. We seem to possess similarly warped senses of humor (and I loved the two IBM commercials linked to your posting).

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  11. Hmmmmmmm. .. I can see your point about the new log in page. It’s blah. No pizazz, no zing, no natta. How boring. I’m not about to comment on anything else because I would be here not 4 hours but 4 days. The stupidity today is epidemic. I’ve even caught spelling errors on billboards. I’m done. No more. Self control employed …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. My wife finds spelling and grammar errors in the news, on billboards, in ads, even in the NOAA weather. I explained that a lot of what we read today is written by computers (it’s true and a bit scary). You’re right “stupidity today is epidemic” – also a bit scary.

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      1. You are winding me up now, Dan. Oh boy! I get so irritated when I see grammar or spelling errors or sentences without paragraphs all squashed together…. And if I dare say anything? I get my head chopped off. Capitization as well gone with the start of a new sentence first word lower caps. I mean AHHHHHHHGHGHGHGH!!! The art of writing, speech, listening all are being slowly eradicated. It scares me. Truly. I really lucked out and did receive a good education and when I see today’s standards of education I just want to scream. I was an assistant teacher for years (volunteer) but things got so bad for me with kids telling me I could not discipline them or tell them what to do because they would tell Mommy on me, and the fact, that the teaching just got so crazy I had to leave. Whew. I’m done. I could go on and on but I am off subject here. :(

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  12. I hope to tell you something no one else has mentioned. The Super Bowl will be aged 50 years old and they are going to feature old ad campaigns. One is with “Bewitched” Elizabeth Montgomery saying that there is a “new” oatmeal called Instant Oatmeal. The next one I found fascinating since there is definitely a double entendre included: Farrah Fawcett is shaving Joe Namath’s face. He says or the announcer says, “Joe creams his face while Farrah shaves it.” I was rather shocked! :) I liked it, though. I hope you will enjoy the marketing from 1966. They were cracking me up while our local station had our only newscaster over 50 with an orange sofa and olive green accent pillows and orange shag carpet giving us the weather report. Mike Davis, he is a hoot! Smiles, Robin

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      1. I agreed with several people and you that the way the Go Daddy log in is presented you would never know who you were logging in with, Dan! Also, white should never be considered a good selling or marketing color, in my opinion. Clothes, stains, car, dirt and mud show up, . . . :) The first Super Bowl was in 1967 not 1966. Oops! Math is not my “strong suit!”

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  13. I try to ignore the blatant ads on my FB wall for the reasons you state. Just because I’m on a site for two seconds…

    At one time, I, the cat lady would get mailings from the NRA and the then husband and big deer hunter would get mailings from the ASPCA. Figure that out! :-p

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  14. I’m not sure how the marketing department functions over there. I joined Tata Communications (India’s telecom giant) and Indian Dental Association (India’s premier dental association) in the last few years and I was with the marketing team. I found that at both the places the shots are not called by the Marketing Department at all. I found it very confusing and I don’t follow what they teach you in MBA school. For me as a creative person, my objective is to reach out to the potential customers and tell them – hey look, here is a product YOU can benefit from. Instead, my ideas go right into the dustbin, and MBA certified marketing guys speak up and come up with their own theory. Now, this theory is pushed to the higher executives and after a fortnight they chip in their own theory and push it down. The MBA guys now make adjustments and again it goes to the higher executives. The idea keeps bouncing back and forth until the higher executives are satisfied and then the MBA marketing guys come to me and say hey Sharukh – this is what we want. So basically, the idea comes from higher executives who have no ‘F’ clue about marketing or how they should present or say to their potential customers. In fact, marketing guys who take 6-figure salary per month liberally lift concepts of US and UK brands. (Check the IDA website and ADA website, the programs and initiatives are identical. ADA can practically sue IDA, if I give them more information). The fact is that marketing department fears to take bold decisions because decisions have consequences and they’re not willing to be on the receiving end. If someone has done it, we’ll do it – that’s the policy. This is the reason why I quit both the jobs and switched back to freelancing, at least I can make my own decisions now.

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    1. Thank you for the insight Shareukh, as sad a picture as it paints. I think the practice you describe, of following what others have done, even if it’s a bad idea, is widespread. Companies hire creative people but then they constrain their creativity.

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      1. Its not just about creativity Dan. I’m okay if they tell me my concept/idea is bad and also guide me where I was wrong. I love to learn from my mistakes, but its the overall management. Companies don’t want to step out of the comfort zone and their priority is selling the product rather than offering something valuable to the customers. I believe if I offer something valuable to my customer, I don’t have to work hard to sell because the customer understands his/her needs and will buy it accordingly.

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          1. I’m glad you are bringing up such content because it gives me an opportunity to vent. I doubt any other Indian is reading your blog. If I write such topics on mine, people will start calling me names, so I avoid picking topics like these and stick to my destinations niche. Next up is a new series I’m working on. I’m sure you’ll love it, blending history, war battles and the places connected with it.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. History – battles and places connected to them ? Oh my, those are some of my favorite subjects to read about. I have shelves full of books about such topics and I have visited places like that in the US. I can’t wait!

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            2. Yeah, some of India’s fierce warriors, their battles, their stories and the forts and palaces and places they stayed in. I thought it would be a great way to present ‘destinations of India’ that never get any attention.

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  15. I recently unsubscribed from a company who kept sending me emails with heading such as “Your New Spring Wardrobe Has Arrived” or “Stun All Your Friends By Wearing This”, and when clicking on the links I was faced with pages and pages of women’s clothes. I wrote and complained and got a response that their emails servers have no idea I’m a man so they send the emails out to everyone on their email list. Does the fact that the word ‘Mr’ shows in my title on their records not tell them that? Such a shame as the company sell some really great products.

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  16. Dan, I’m with you on the frustration, and if you have it, the anger towards so-called marketing these days. But as you stated in your first sentence about the fight for the suitable income, all people are looking at is the bottom line showing this income and they do not care about their products or services. Just another sign of the times.

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  17. I think I am used it now. When I first started getting adds on Google, I thought someone had hacked my computer emails. But then Google explained that they have a program that reads my emails and sends adds they think I’d might like. Now if I order anything online or look at anything, I get gazillion adds about the product. Oh well, I have decided not to get aggravated and let them send me gazillions adds. It kind of cracks me up how fast they appear after I have looked at something. Those pesky cookies or whatever is doing it! :)

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  18. When I first saw the ads on my email page I was so surprised at the coincidence! Now it just annoys me that my business is anything but private. And, as you say, looking doesn’t mean wanting.
    I loved the ad with Bob Dylan. He’s looking better than expected. :)

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  19. There’s nothing I like better than a well done commercial: for me, that means humor. And there’s nothing I hate worse than bad commercials: anything dealing with cars. There’s also nothing I like better than a well turned, clever phrase like this one: “instead of Danica Patrick standing next to her black and green Indy car, GoDaddy will have an elderly man standing next to a white Buick.”

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    1. Thank you! The worst possible commercials are the ones for pharmaceuticals where the side-effect listing sounds worse than any disease I can imagine. It will be interesting to see if GoDaddy even has and ad in the bg game. I understand that a lot of ads are going to be throwbacks to the 60s and 70s.

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  20. And speaking of ads – looking forward to the super bowl ads tomorrow! Hope there are not stupid inappropriate ones and hope there are not “bland” – we shall see – my least favorite are usually Doritos –

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            1. I was at a large party and almost everyone in the room were pulling for Broncos. The only ones who were not, were some Patriots fans who “didn’t want him to add to his legacy” but those guys are jerks. The defense was awesome.

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            2. Very interesting! And I can see why Carolina fans are saying it was not a good game – there Newt boy was stopped – and the Patriots’ fans we know we are neutral! Ha! But did congrats us afterwards – ha! Gosh Dan – we are still so shocked

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            3. Yes – and honestly had we known the game would turn out like this I think my hubs and his brother would have put the effort and $ into going to this game in CA – but it is what it is – and just a cool story book ending for PM.
              and hope your Big Ben is strong and healthy for his season next year!

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