Helen Lancaster
Helen Lancaster 2 December 2015

Marketing Nightmares - Losing Control Of The Funnel

Here are some humorous examples of seemingly harmless marketing campaigns that quickly turned into nightmares.

While Marketing tries to be as smooth as possible there are many instances where the processes in place just break down.

Whether this breakdown is due to a lack of communication between departments, an internal joke that never should have seen the light of day or an email that just never should have been sent, all these breakdowns have one thing in common – they are guaranteed to give marketers nightmares.


You really shouldn’t have sent that email…

Spare a thought for Shutterfly who in 2014, due to a breakdown in marketing communications, emailed many of its clients congratulating them on their newborn baby, many of which, of course, hadn’t given birth…and nor were they expecting to.

Sales are ignoring you…

Your team have worked round the clock on the new marketing campaign, the MQLs are flying in and everything is pointing towards a success when you realise…80% of Marketing leads are ignored by Sales and that dream uptick in revenue has transformed into a nightmare of wasted energy.

An internal joke goes external…

Rather than sending a real email to departing customers reading “Sorry you’re leaving us, please take time to let us know how we can improve”, one nameless individual thought it a good idea to let loose the internal spoof email which read…“farewell nostril hair, we don’t need you anyway”.

Everyone is on a different page…

The brand image is strong and clearly defined, only other departments have not been listening and the messaging you worked hard to create is being diluted across other channels, damaging your brand in the eyes of the 47% of shoppers frustrated with brand inconsistencies.

Automation breakdown…

Athletic wear retailer JD Sports experienced a marketing nightmare when it emailed people on their mailing list thanking them for their recent order… regardless of whether they had actually recently placed an order or not. Understandably panic, outrage and confusion quickly followed.

No one cares…

70% of marketers produced more content last year than they did in the previous year, and 64% of millennials will respond positively to content that is tailored to their interests. But what if your content is one of the 5000 marketing messages they are bombarded with every day and they choose to ignore it?

The CEO goes rogue (there’s nothing you can do)…

However no level of communication could have helped the staff of the major designer who once tried to use a hashtag about the Cairo uprising to draw attention to his sale in the US – but as long as your CEO doesn’t go rogue, a bit of planning should help!


  • Double, triple, check that the right communications are going to the right people
  • Collaborate and communicate to avoid marketing mistakes
  • Successful HR policy for flexible working involves letting go
  • Sometimes marketing nightmares are all but inevitable, and quick and slick reactions are all that can salvage your campaign

Avoid marketing nightmares and boost innovation in your business through the power of collaboration by downloading your free eGuide ‘The connected business: Bust a silo! Collaborate to innovatetoday.

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