A Content Marketing Fail That Doesn't Have to Happen

Mismatched red shed
Red shed image from Big Stock

As we planned to move back to Texas and buy our first home, Paul (rockin’ better half) and I decided to start fresh. We sold most of the furniture we had at our place in Washington, D.C. Although our new home was barren for a while, one of the first things we shopped for was a bedroom set.

I always liked the one my parents had that came with shelves and a built-in reading light. We found something similar, but excitement turned to disappointment when the furniture arrived. The set was fine as it was what we expected.

It was the color that was wrong. Since the floor sample was dark brown wood (the color of our D.C. furniture and we were darn tired of it!), we had to rely on a list to find out the other available wood colors and we chose a milk wash. I figured it’d be natural wood with a mix of white and blonde wood colors. Instead, the set had artificial-looking milk wash paint. We kept the set because it had everything except the right color. We searched all over the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex before making our decision and didn’t want to look again.

With businesses planning to increase content marketing efforts, they need a plan to ensure they deliver the right content to the right people at the right time.

Content Marketing Fail

A marketing company put me on its mailing list after I downloaded a free ebook or something. No surprise. The kicker was the email I received from the company a couple of months later.

Subject line: “Next Tuesday or Thursday.”

I see that you’ve demonstrated recent interest in our [product]. In order to help you discover how [company name] can benefit you, I’d like to setup a 15-minute call to go over your current marketing environment.
I can then make specific recommendations as to how [company] can drive [benefit].

Would you be available next Tuesday at 10am PST or next Thursday at 1pm PST? If not, is there another time that works best for you?

I was shocked. Really. This email was asking too much too soon. I knew I hadn’t taken the right actions to arrive at this point in the company’s sales cycle.

The company lost my trust and respect. I won’t recommend its products. I return to the beginning of the sales cycle since the company has to regain my trust. While marketing automation can be powerful, this company clearly didn’t map the process.

Four Common Content Marketing Fails

Here are some content marketing fails that can be avoided:

  1. Serving up the wrong content at the wrong time.
  2. Creating headlines and subject lines promising one thing and delivering something else.
  3. Publishing content that leaves readers thinking: So what? What was the point of that? What did I gain from this? Thanks for wasting time I don’t have.
  4. Using a photo with a headline that doesn’t match what appears when people click through to the landing page.

Bryan Eisenberg shares great examples of broken marketing. Like he says, this is basic stuff that can be avoided. Before creating and publishing any content, ask yourself if it’s relevant and matches expectations. What can you do to set clear expectations? The furniture store could’ve done that by providing small samples of the wood.

And yes, we still have the bedroom set.

Share a time when you got something different from what you expected. What other ways do companies fail to match expectations in content marketing? Thanks for posting your thoughts in comments and sharing this article.

3 thoughts on “A Content Marketing Fail That Doesn't Have to Happen”

  1. That’s because when content is given with a goal, it can look a little bit too pushy for some people. It is way too obvious that they are asking for a sale.

  2. Great article Meryl! Totally agree with your point about using wrong photos within a particular article that doesn’t match the actual content see this time and time again.

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