Photo: Flickr/Dov Harrington
Internet marketing is the new frontier of outreach campaigns at many businesses. It is important to know your audience when creating marketing campaigns, to be engaging, and to find a way to avoid appearing too salesy.With Internet use at an all-time high, marketing campaigns online are one of the best ways to drive business to your company, but also carry a higher risk of failure than they used to.
As an MBA degree resource explains, as the incoming class of business people MBA students must familiarise themselves with the ever-changing currents of social media and Internet marketing tactics to put themselves ahead of the curve.
However it is also important to avoid mistakes that have already been made. Thus MBA students should make sure they know about previous flops, study them, and be informed enough to steer clear of making the same mistakes as their predecessors. For starters, here are five big Internet marketing scandals that future business people can learn from:
- Don’t use obvious “black hat” SEO tactics. For a while, JCPenney was showing up on almost every search result as the first natural (non-sponsored) search option in Google search results. This seemed so fishy that it even caught the attention of the New York Times, who ousted the company in February 2011. The JCPenney website was mercilessly (and very obviously) linking to a myriad of other sites to improve their page rank. Google took “manual action” to counteract JCPenney’s tactics, and now their sites come up in far fewer search results. Not only does this escapade reflect poorly on the company as a whole, but the aggressive marketing campaign also serves as an example to other ambitious entrepreneurs that when you play dirty in the Internet marketing world, everyone will find out, and your tricks may hurt more than they help in the end.
- Don’t forget about customer service. In a now famous incident, Southwest airlines kicked famous Kevin Smith off of a plane because he was too large to fit into just one seat. He angrily tweeted about the incident, and the event became an instant scandal. In this age of instant, it is more important than ever to have a positive company mission and treat clients respectfully.
- Watch what you say in public, and don’t make enemies of well-connected friends. The now infamous Spreading Santorum campaign is a public response to Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s anti-gay messages, and public attack on former college roommate and at times controversial broadcast journalist Dan Savage. The inflammatory comments from Santorum about Savage and the gay community sparked outrage from followers all over the world.
- Don’t advertise company mistakes on your blog. PlayStation users had a major scare and delay in service when Sony believed that users’ credit card information and addresses were potentially being hacked through their online service. Not only did the service shut down for close to a month, but customers also lost trust in the company after it publically announced its own errors repeatedly.
- Do learn from your mistakes. Wal-Mart, for example, has had many social media and Internet marketing failures. One notably includes the Facebook fail of 2007, when the company misinterpreted their target audience and their fan site was bombarded by anti-Wal-Mart messages. The company now does successful marketing campaigns, but they have had quite a few epic failures along the way to learn from.
As an MBA graduate, you will likely be expected to perform in a fast-paced and competitive environment in the workplace. If you study the ways companies have failed before, it will be easier to avoid making the same mistakes in your future company.
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