When Marketing Gets It Wrong

Do you read Product Reviews before buying a product?

The content of product reviews are increasingly influential for the public, when it comes to future purchasing choices. The opinion of the majority, or, the ‘herd,‘ also known as ‘Group think,’ is seen as paramount, as we discussed in a previous post .

Marketing techniques that target this type of thought and purchasing pattern, could be seen as lazy and fundamentally flawed.

Post-Purchase Screening of Customers

Consumers are more often than not, badgered by, not one, but several automated, emails asking them to give up their free time to:

“Tell us about your purchase,” and follow up if you do not reply to the email with a friendly:

“It’s not too late to tell us your thoughts.

Sometimes it is a text message asking,

How did we do?” in serving you and requesting your idea of a numeric rating.

All this in the name of improving customer service.

Do you like this level of attention after you have purchased a product?

Can you imagined if I badgered my readers like that?

Do you like my blog?

How often do you read the posts?

Do you want a daily update?

Are you sure?

It is not too late to subscribe!

Receiving a 5 star rating in a review might boost product sales more than any media advertisement and costs the company nothing. In short, shoppers are doing the marketing work for the company.

Canvassing Customers can be Risky Business

A product review can cut both ways. Badger a customer for a response and you might get a response, but not the the company likes.

A poor review might damage reputations, especially if it remains published. The veracity of the review itself is always at the mercy of customer competency and subjective biases.

Marketing Fail # 1

For example:

Recently I purchased a kitchen appliance for my new house that intermittently stopped working.

Frustrated, I wrote an online product review with a poor rating, whilst the ‘Moth’, (a.k.a. Man of the House), took it back to the store, asking for a replacement.

The product tested perfectly well in-store, but with an explanation that it was an intermittent fault, as we thought, the store replaced it without hassle.

Back home, the replacement product malfunctioned again!

So. Hmm.

Maybe, just maybe it wasn’t the product, after all, but a faulty power source? After all, ours was a new home, with newly installed power points.

To our horror, the appliance worked without fault in a different power point.

With a guilty feeling in our gut, we had to admit the appliance wasn’t faulty at all. Yet what damage had I done to that product’s reputation with my poor review, in the meantime?

Marketing /Product Review Fail # 2

I purchased a bra online through a popular department store and the automated email follow up I received after store pick up, is seen below.

I was asked to add photos, a video and location information!

In a young lady who purchased intimate apparel, this might be considered intrusive, but can you imagine photos, or video footage, of a 50 something lady, modelling a bra?

Probably not the content the store was after for their site. Aside from the fact they would surely filter out such content, it begs the question what else would, or could, they filter out?

As for the question of location – I can see the rationale to that question, but in the context of a bra purchase, it felt voyeuristic and slightly creepy.

Generic email and privacy filter arguments aside, this exemplifies how this style of marketing fails miserably and just serves to defeat its intended purpose!

Imagine if I had purchased underwear, or God forbid, a sex toy!


43 thoughts on “When Marketing Gets It Wrong”

  1. Does badgering a consumer for a rating ever work? I automatically delete any email that asks for this.

    I will say though that I will read customer product reviews before buying unknown stuff. I’ve learnt to take them with a grain of salt though. I look at not only the rating scores, but the sample size and the date stamp on reviews.

    You’re funny on the bra review 🙂 In theory, there’re lots of people who look like you and might want to see how it’d fit. In theory, it makes sense. I guess. But a YouTube video?! I think Target needs to rethink their choice of polling app 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have never noticed a sample size on reviews, Sandy. I must look for that.
      Yes, Target taking the lazy marketing route, with the generic questions.
      And in light of Graham’s comment and your mention of sample review, the comments received or tick boxes may not even be an accurate reflection of the customer’s opinions?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Like everything else on the internet, you have to read with caution and be aware. Ratings and reviews do influence buying patterns and because they are so powerful, it can be manipulated and abused by sellers & marketing agencies. We’ve all heard of the scammers who ‘sell’ hundreds of 5-star ratings or post false reviews. It’s why Brand Trust is such an important thing.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Totally with you on the post-purchase requests for reviews. Recently, I had to send a product back to be replaced. A few days into the process I got an email asking me to review the service I was about to receive. While I’m flattered that they think I’m clairvoyant, it’s probably just as well that I didn’t respond as the replacement still hasn’t arrived.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Another example of the failure of generic emails. If they are after stats and don’t mind this sort of failure, the stats they receive are obviously to be taken with a grain of salt as they are not indicative of the overall customer satisfaction. Again, lazy marketing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t know. I think because reviews and ratings are looked at so much, businesses want them good or bad. I saw something the other day where research has shown people want to see bad reviews so they can make a judgement based on all reviews. If they only see good ones, there’s a suspicion that they’re fake and it undermines their confidence in the product. What’s that about?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting for sure, Graham. I do actually read bad reviews for their specific complaint. Did it seem OTT or justified? It is food for thought in presenting an overall balanced perspective of the worth of a product, particularly if companues are able to buy 5 star reviews as Sandy suggested.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate all those emailed follow-ups we often get after purchasing a product! I would think the company risks irritating their customers enough that a positive purchase experience could turn into a negative review. Btw, I definitely think you should send them a picture… or, better yet, a video! Hahahaha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a video I assure you they would NOT want to see! Lol. You are right that they reviews could turn nasty for them. What if we all said the product worked okay but you badgered me so much afterwards, I won’t return to your store!?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Drives me MAD, this after-sales grilling ! Now I just delete it; but as you say, sometimes the company keeps at it.
    Totally dickheaded ot them: my reaction – and I doubt I’m alone – is “I’ll bloody never buy one of those again !”.
    I have written product reviews; but I ain’t gonna write no more no more. [grin]
    Good topic, Amanda !


    1. Just like you to tell it like it is, M-R. I think it is lazy and a way of publicizing their brand over and over. I will be deleting them without reading now, as I question the validity and therefore the value of the balance of reviews and bias. It borders on harassment, but really photos of a bra!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not much on replying to those kinds of questioning emails. I did leave one recently asking how the company was doing in the repair of my heat pump. AC/Heater. I let them know how disappointed I was and planned on discontinuing their service. They still haven’t done their job and will wait until the heat pump is repaired or replaced and then discontinue and will also post on how slow this process can be when you rely on them. My son goes to ratings to decide what he will buy. I trust nothing anymore because companies are being bought out by conglomerates and the products become poor quality. My last Viking sewing machine that I paid dearly for is a pile of garbage that I’ve had back to the sales store more often than anything I’ve ever owned.Turned out this one was manufactured in China not Sweden. I can’t even sell it in good conscience. It’s a giant doorstop. ;(

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry about your Viking machine but am not that surprised. When name brands move their operations offshore, the products are never ever the same and almost always they then put out an inferior quality product using the brand name, to get sales. Happens all the time.
      Using the example of something as basic as a portable camping chair. They used to be made in Australia, a solid design and comfortable. Now the product is made in China. Company falsely believe that will mean more sales and money for them. No jobs at home in Australia anymore except a few in customer service and logistics. The company decreased the padding, (so they can sell it year after year at the same or a reduced price which they think will increase sales), until the padding is so thin, it becomes terribly uncomfortable, with the consequence that no one buys it anymore. On a larger scale, the company might fold, as there is too much competition in camp chairs. The remaining companies scoop up the failed company’s customer and sales pool.
      In a world of finite resources, this capitalist system unfortunately, is geared towards concentrating wealth more and more, in the hands of fewer and fewer people and in addition, relies on an ever increasing drive to keep prices down. This desire to eliminate competition has a lot to answer in terms of loss of jobs and consumer choice is the big loser.
      Sometimes it feels like we are headed towards a modern duplicate of the medieval feudal system. A few wealthy lords and the rest are poor indentured sevants who can never get ahead.
      I tend to look at where the product is made now. If it is China, it is usually cheap and poor quality, even if it is a brand name. No one even repairs these cheap products because it generally isn’t worth it. It will be a solid doorstop, I hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The best most foolproof way of avoiding those irritations of marketing is to stop buying. I buy the basics of food and no one has yet asked me to comment on my margarine or Brussels sprouts. Major items such as solar paneling I tell the telemarketing person I live in a house that has no roofs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. An interesting Heading. ‘When marketing gets it wrong’
    Marketing always gets it wrong. Because rarely does marketing feature anything that we need instead they focus on the unwary consumer to buy stuff in any case without questioning of needs. Stuff that we need doesn’t need marketing. We don’t rush out because a particular potato has been marketed. Most marketing is well beyond a necessity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would you say that marketing is an extraneous indulgence? I think information on new products is welcome but it needs to have a good look at its ethics. And clearly the type of product purchased. As in the questions about the bra.


  8. My friend scored a coffee machine from her father for almost the same reason as your #1. He thought it had failed, bought a new one, it also didn’t work and then figured out it was the powerboard. He’d already used the coffee machine so he couldn’t send it back. So his daughter scored the old one.
    Your #2 made me laugh. It is certainly the downside to automatic emails. 😀

    I use Choice to research a product before I buy. I grew up with the magazine and never buy anything without checking their reviews. I’ve rarely bought a dud as a result. I don’t pay much attention to consumer reviews as I think they can be a bit too subjective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t had direct questions about whether I liked the article, Lisa, but google stalking is real. I find popups of all sort of similar ads if I enter a search for a particular object or product. Woe betide anyone that searches on ladies fashion – you never get away from the ads. Google rug stores near your location – rug spams for weeks! This is targeted advertising isn’t it? But not ideal. On my phone there is a little pop up that says – “Stop seeing this ad” – I am always clicking that. I think you can also use a pop up blocker – check your add ons on your pc, if you use Mozilla firefox as your browser.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Before purchasing online, I’ll read a few very positive, a few middle of the line, and a few bad reviews. Depending on the really desired product and the overlapping negatives from all sides– that’s usually how I’ll decide. It also helps if I personally know people who have these products… and their input.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds like a very sensible and balanced way to go about making purchases, Art. I like that you read a variety of reviews and take note of the comparative overlaps and anecdotal evidence. Has it ever led you astray?


    1. Is that the rotating features or a specific photo that captivated you Art? I have randomized headers activated, you see, so I am not sure which one you are referring to.


  10. Amanda, The whole purchasing and review thing is flawed and I often do feel manipulated. A huge darn on the issues with your kitchen appliance. Funny and not funny on the bra purchase questions. You remind me of a blogging situation last year. All reputable, nice bloggers. A blogger discussed what purchase she had made as a treat for herself, I think it was during Christmas shopping. For me, with my lifestyle, a good quality sports bra is a treat. Another blogger chimed in on this and a few minutes later I had bra pop ups/advertisements on my site. We decided to immediately curtail our discussion. Funny and not funny. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow those google spiders work so quickly, Eric/ka! Not even relying on the content from the post, the spiders picked up the content of a comment or two. How invasive! Did that make you censor your language in comments henceforth?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I let the other two bloggers know what was appearing on my end and we all just stopped talking about bras. It was basic, tasteful conversation. It may happen here, now, Amanda lol. I don’t get too hung up on it. Still good to be aware.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We shall see! Interesting how their algorithms work. It also is reflective of how they encourage consumerism. Morals just doesn’t seem to enter the equation. I guess they rely on the, ‘let the buyer beware,’ mantra. We as consumers are then duty bound to exercise discipline and restraint, only succumbing to purchase, if it is something we do actually need.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a really interesting read! I’m currently a university student studying Communication, and I was hoping to conduct research on product reviews and how that affects how consumers decide whether or not to buy something. I just want to ask — what is it that puts you off from this sort of ‘marketing’? Is it the lack of consideration with the bra situation, or the repetitiveness of companies asking you to review their stuff, or everything altogether?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the repetitive nature of the requests and the invasive nature – arriving uninvited to your phone or email inbox is the most irritating part, Jennifer. I also feel like reviewing should be a voluntary act initiated by the customer to be authentic. I don’t like the way reviews can be manipulated by either the customer or the company. I once posted a review about accomodation at a hotel because of the way they shuffled guests from room to room in an disruptive way. When I posted the review about the hotel the management responded contradicting everything I wrote along with false accusations questioning whether I had even stayed at the hotel. There was no avenue for me to respond back to their false claims – no right of reply, so that seemed unfair and unbalanced. It seemed likely readers would dismiss the important information I was trying to convey.
      Perhaps a small discount if you wish to post a review might encourage people to post. If a company can buy 5 star reviews, then they become meaningless.


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