Bad Marketing – Really Bad Marketing!

The Bad Marketing Tumbleweed Moment 

bad marketing

Bad marketing wise, what’s wrong with this picture? What isn’t? might be a better question. This shop opened in a slightly run down area near where I live a few months ago. I took a shot of it then because I thought it was a great example of bad marketing, nay, terrible marketing. Passing by it again today and noticing it has now closed I thought it would be worth a few words.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a big admirer of anyone who has entrepreneurial spirit. There also clearly a big market for cheap things theses days but come on! This particular shop front gets it wrong on so many levels. I passed it by at least once a week while it was it open and was never once tempted to have a look to find out exactly what cheap things Cheap Shop sold. It’s a part of town that can be nerve wracking to pass through anyway but that place made me think of black widow spiders (same colour scheme) and eastern european horror films: A false front to an evil organised crime den. Bad marketing at it’s very best.

bad marketingEven before the steel shutters came down for good it was not exactly a customer magnet. To me and I guess most people, it looked more like a Soho sex shop with its sleazy Black and red colour scheme,  or some sort of cover for illegal activities of some kind. People avoided it in their droves for months.

What it definitely did not say to me or any one else was – “Come on in friend , we have many interesting and great value for money household goods”. I’m guessing that’s what they sold by the way as that’s what pound shops or 99p shops seem to sell. I guess now I’ll never know. Even a kidnapping or snuff movie gang would have made a better attempt at the luring people in bit you would think. It’s a text book definition of bad marketing.

I did say that this shop was in a slightly tired, run down area of town. It was however still close to a main road with a lot of passing traffic so that’s not really a great excuse. There are lots of funky little shops in similar areas that do well. That’s because they look more welcoming and make it obvious what they actually do or sell.

I mean surely if you run a bricks and mortar shop the number one thing you want to make plain as daylight would be what you actually sell !! Then you would want to entice customers in by looking friendly and welcoming – or at least not sinister and scary (unless you were selling fancy dress costumes)

It’s the same with an online business except that you have way less time to make that first impression. Experts reckon your website has anything between 3 and 8 seconds to: Tell people what it does, tell them what it can do for THEM and why they should stay.

Cheap shop couldn’t do that in 3 to 8 minutes. You would have to actually go in to find out what they sold and well, you wouldn’t would you? Clearly not many people did given by its short lifespan.

It’s not easy to get marketing this wrong. Even if there was an attempt at irony in the name It doesn’t work: It’s like one of those cringy tumbleweed moments. It is easy to spend too much time trying to give people what you think they want rather than finding out what they actually want and giving it to them. That is bad marketing and it’s the reason why places like Cheap Shop don’t succeed. For All I know it may have been a paradise of amazing, imported marvels at rock bottom prices. If that had been the case word or mouth may have saved it from it’s own bad marketing but for there to be word of mouth there needs to be customers.

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A Great Example Of Bad Marketing 

By Dave Menzies

bad marketing