Marketing 101: Can Marketing Damage your Brand?

Marketing 101: Can Marketing Damage your Brand?


Can marketing damage your brand? The short answer is Yes! Let me explain.

A couple of weeks ago I arrived home to find one of the telco’s running a promotion on my street. The offer was three months free ADSL with free installation. The brand ambassadors running the promotion did an outstanding job of selling me the product.

Not only did they manage to effectively market their product but they managed to complete the sale too. The ability for this specific telco’s marketing team to measure the ROI for this project would have been a piece of cake. 1 sign up = 1 new customer. Not only had they managed to sign me up for their product, but they had also managed to effectively change my perception of their brand.

So far so good, you’d have to be wondering where the headline and body meet up. Well, I was told that I would be contacted by a representative within the next ten days to arrange a suitable time for installation. And here we are, four weeks down the line and still waiting for my call!

Overcoming challenges

This experience of mine had highlighted a number of challenges that we as marketers face. On the one hand not only did marketing effectively manage to market a product, they also managed to convert it to a sale. This doesn’t often happen and should certainly be counted as a big win! On the other hand, the business wasn’t geared to fulfil the demand that the marketing actually generated.

Marketing cannot just be the job of the marketing director and his or her team. While led by the marketing team it’s the organisations responsibility to ensure that the business is able to support the sales demand. The call centre needs to understand the intricacies of the proposal and be able to answer any questions about the product or promotion on offer. The operation guys need to ensure they have people available to support the demand.

How is it possible to assess the damage done? Well take my scenario. Not only has the telco in question failed to deliver to me, they have lost a customer before they were even able to fulfil the sale. In fact they have possibly lost a customer for life and that equates to thousands of Rand’s of revenue over my lifetime. Not only that but I will share my experience with my network and they too will share it with their network and all because of a company’s inability to deliver on a promise that its marketing made. So, can Marketing damage your brand? You decide.

Greg Kockott
Greg Kockott is a foundering member of Penquin , a full service agency. He has over 10 years experience in all facets of Marketing and Advertising, specialising in Digital and Business Development. Greg believes that the agency should own the clients communications strategy and this can only be successfully achieved in a truly integrated environment. In a battle for survival, specialist agencies will always push their own agenda over that of their clients.
  • Very interesting article and you have provided all the valid points. I would like only to add that the success of a marketing strategy starts by having good ‘internal’ brand ambassadors! If one can ‘sell’ the promotion/idea/launch/strategy internally to its employees & directors then a marketing campaign has a great chance to achieve its objectives.
    Dr. A. Michail