I work on the creative side of marketing. When I tell people this, there are two responses, my more artistic friends, often repressed at their day jobs, usually respond with bitter jealousy, saying things like, “you don’t even have a job, you just play on Facebook all day." My more analytic friends, the ones that work as engineers or accountants, shudder and tell me that they could never do my job. I tell my analytic friends that if push came to shove, they probably could do my job.
Because, if I’m being completely honest, a lot of the creative side of marketing is a confidence game. Some days I have good ideas, some days I have bad ideas, and most days I just hope that I don’t get myself into trouble. I’ve spent two years molding myself into the ultimate creative professional, and I’m very glad to report that compared to the beginning of my career, I’m spending a lot less time in the doghouse.
This morning, I came across an article that highlighted 10 biggest marketing fails of 2012. If you work digital marketing, this article will be especially valuable to you. If you don’t know how anyone can have a job that requires being creative all day, you’ll get a kick out of this too. If you’re mad because you think that I play on Facebook all day, I’m all too happy to provide this small snippet of validation.
How to avoid the pitfalls
For my digital marketing brethren who don’t have time to read this article, allow me to hit on the high points. These tips may seem basic, but clearly, online media mistakes are still being made, even at huge companies and huge agencies. If you've read this article, you already know that this is one situation where a quick review can’t hurt:
- KNOW WHAT TWITTER ACCOUNT YOU’RE LOGGED INTO
- If you’re marketing to women, there is a fine line between empowerment and misogyny. DON’T STRADDLE THE LINE.
- Make sure you understand any emerging marketing technology you’re using enough to forecast negative outcomes.
- Really think about everything you’re creating. If you think something might be offensive, run it by the most reactionary person you know. This isn’t fun, but it will keep you out of trouble…
- Don’t make light of huge, important events like the presidential election.
- Don’t lie in your campaign, (or base your campaign around a lie.) COME ON, MAN!
- If you’re branding a hashtag (#) USE CAUTION.
- If you’re making a fake page, let people know that it’s fake.
- Recognize that people are sensitive about anything relating to body image.
- Unless you’re advocating for a non-profit, DON’T EVEN DREAM of including the homeless in your marketing efforts.
Making mistakes is an important part of any creative process. But when you’re creating at work, you have to remember that your work doesn’t represent you, it represents your employer. Whomever you’re creating for should absolutely understand if every idea you come up with isn’t earth-shattering. But, they probably won’t be as understanding of any idea that is offensive. If you're being risqué or clever, “is this okay?” is never a bad question.
Digital marketing advice? Chime in on Facebook.