Photos from the Street: 3 Bad Marketing Examples

As a marketer, you never know when inspiration — or lessons on what not to do — will appear. So I always make sure that I keep my iPod camera on while I walk around town, during visits to New York City and even while in the car (but not driving, honest…).

Now, we all know there are good ways to promote your business, and bad ways to promote your business. Looking at examples of both can help us become better marketers. Here are three more bad examples of marketing we can learn from.

Excuse the blurriness on this one, but that is not what makes it bad. Where is the price? Where is the guarantee? Where is the irresistible offer? Where is the call to action? Where is the agency that they overpaid for this terrible idea? I don’t think this would be in my small business marketing plan, and it shouldn’t be in yours either.

Great idea, but poor execution by this street vendor. You need to adapt when something disrupts your business environment. In this case, construction around your newsstand means you need to change up the placement of your signage. Move the sidewalk signs to another part of your newsstand, or hang them on the fencing so passersby can actually read them.

Imagine you have a jewelry store on Wall Street in New York City. How would you dress your brand representative on the street? Me? I would have them dressed like everyone else going to work in the area, NOT like a street vendor.

No offense, of course, to the street vendors of NYC who provide me with excellent coffee, but the ticket item difference and customer experience between coffee and jewelry is definitely not the same. The attire, demeanor and approach of your brand representatives should exemplify that.

What examples of bad marketing have caught your attention? If you’re on Facebook, share your pictures with us on the Small Business Bonfire Fan Page.

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  1. Jayson,

    VERY GOOD post and a great lesson for all SBO – You provided 3 excellent and simple examples of marketers incorrectly executing their message and brand :


    A good lesson for ALL advertising – 1 Information- Make certain your message resonates useful content with a strong call to action, 2. Placement- Where you place advertisements is critical to your TARGET demographic/audience, 3. Presentation- How and Style must be professional in presentation and delivery.


    • Jason Gregory

      Thanks Bill!

      Your points are spot on and expand nicely on my post…which makes me think YOU should write a guest post expanding on these points :)

  2. I think this proves why SBO’s struggle mightily. They try to tackle every part of their business, instead of focusing on the one area they’re really good at . . . instead, we wind up with examples like this.

    Marketing is a beast of an industry. People spend years trying to master it and still scour the globe looking for new ideas. If we just stick to what we’re really competent at, and delegate the rest, the world will be a much happier place.

    • Jason Gregory

      So true Marcus! Outsourcing isn’t just for the big boys and it is smart business.

      There’s a saying “Work ON your business not IN your business”

  3. All of the above, PLUS you always want to show the best representation of your business, it seems like they make have been able to accomplish this a little better!

  4. Double….no wait…triple-check the spelling!!!!

    I know it may seem basic, but you’d be amazed at how often I run across ads that contains grammar or spelling errors. Everyone typos, heaven knows. But on an ad??? No excuse is a good one.

    If you want a chuckle, check this one out that I found on BNet’s web site just yesterday by a giant firm, no less – Fed Ex!

    How many people saw this ad before it was posted? My guess is no less than four: the designer, the art director, the editor, and finally the web manager who uploaded it.

    • Alyssa Gregory

      OH, that is bad, Kristine. You are so right about having multiple people check for typos, too. It’s good practice with everything you write — so hard to proof your own words!

  5. Pingback: Thumbs Down: 37 Posts About Cruddy Marketing (and What You Can Do Better) | Complete SEO Marketing News

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