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Good Marketing Bad Marketing

How to tell the difference between good marketing and bad marketing

If you’re a business owner or marketer, the chances are good that you’ve seen some bad marketing in your time. Maybe it was an ad that didn’t resonate with your target audience, or maybe it was a social media post that just didn’t feel authentic. A lot of times bad marketing isn’t quite as obvious as these examples—but trust me: It’s out there. And if you want to avoid falling into the same trap, you need to understand what makes for good marketing and what makes for bad marketing. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between good and bad marketing so that you can put them into practice for your own brand!

Good marketing is propelled by great storytelling.

One of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal is storytelling. Storytelling can help you connect with your audience, build trust and earn credibility, build a brand, and even build a business.

But it’s not as simple as telling an entertaining tale that has nothing to do with your product or service. Good marketing stories are great at establishing a connection between people and the products they love while simultaneously reinforcing the values that make those products special.

Bad marketing is hard sell, soft sell, and no sell all at once.

No matter how long you’ve been in business or how many clients you’ve successfully served over the years, if your marketing strategy fails to resonate with your customers—and more importantly their needs—you’re doing it wrong.

When I tell new clients that the biggest challenge, they will face isn’t having enough time or money but rather figuring out what kind of message is going to get their target audience’s attention and keep them engaged, most look at me like I’m crazy because this seems so counterintuitive on its face: Shouldn’t we just put our best foot forward?

Good marketing is multi-layered.

Good marketing is multi-layered. Bad marketing is one dimensional. Good marketing has a story, bad marketing does not. Good marketing engages you with its message, bad marketing does not. Good marketing shows value to the customer, bad marketing does not.

 Bad marketing feels fake.

Good marketing feels authentic. Bad marketing does not.

Real estate agent Jessica Smith is a good example of this. She uses her real name, talks about her kids and husband, shares stories about her community, and shares real-life photos on Facebook as well as some great looking professional ones. She makes it clear that she wants to help people find homes—and it shows!

Bad marketers are less interested in helping you than they are in making a quick buck off you. They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear rather than anything close to the truth; they’ll promise things that are impossible or at least highly unlikely; they’ll create a sense of urgency around whatever product or service they’re trying to sell so that you feel like if you don’t buy now there will be no opportunity for redemption later.

Good marketing feels genuine because it was created by people who care about their products/services/brands and want them appreciated by others too; bad marketing feels disingenuous because its creators don’t care about anything except getting paid

Good marketing has a prescient quality to it.

It sees what’s coming and gets there first.

It’s not just about your product or service—it’s about how you change the experience for your customer by anticipating their needs, desires, and wants. That means being on top of trends in technology and culture so that when it’s time to pivot from one marketing strategy to another, you can do so seamlessly because you’ve already seen where things are headed.

Bad marketing tells customers what they need to do or buy.

Bad marketing tells customers what to do and buy—and that’s it. For example, if a company makes a video about why you should buy their product but doesn’t show how their product fits into your life or why that matters, it will be ineffective.

Good marketing focuses on the customer experience instead of simply telling customers what to do: good marketing tells customers how and why their lives can be better with a particular product or service.

Good marketing tells customers where you want them to go and how to get there.

Good marketing tells customers where you want them to go and how to get there. Bad marketing tells them what not to do, why they shouldn’t go there, and what they need to do for you to take care of them.

Bad marketing uses the word “we” excessively. Good marketing uses it sparingly or not at all—but focuses on “you”

Bad marketing puts the audience on the defensive.

Bad marketing puts the audience on the defensive. When you put them on defense, it’s hard to get your message across and they’re less likely to buy what you’re selling.

Let’s look at an example: You’re at the mall with a friend and run into a salesperson who wants to talk to you about his company’s new line of shoes. He must have read all our blog posts because he starts off by asking if there are any problems with your current shoes – then he asks if there is anything that can be improved about them, like their durability or style. You tell him that those are indeed issues, but then he says something like “well I could get these for just $50 less than what you paid for those other shoes.” And suddenly we’ve gone from talking about ways my current ones could improve into me cringing as this guy tries to push his product onto me.

This is a classic example of bad marketing because instead of trying to find out how we can solve MY problems, this guy focused on trying to sell us something else. And now that I’m starting off defensive because he has put all these ideas in my head, it makes it harder for him to convince me otherwise when he offers up solutions like lower prices or free shipping – ideas which didn’t even occur until after I told him what MY problems were!

Good marketing comes from a place of authenticity and shows real value in its approach.

Good marketing comes from a place of authenticity and shows real value in its approach.

  • Good marketing is authentic. Authentic brands are true to who they are—they don’t try to be something they’re not or use dishonest tactics to gain your attention. They don’t overpromise what they can deliver, and when their products or services fail to meet your expectations, they will make it right with no fuss or false apologies.
  • Good marketing is honest. Transparency is key for any brand that wants to earn your trust, especially when it comes to issues like sustainability and ethical production processes. Honesty also means being upfront about any limitations that may exist for your product or service—if there’s something you can’t control or change within the industry right now, then address it directly by explaining why this situation exists and how you plan to address it long-term.
  • Good marketing is transparent about its intentions

A story can go a long way when it comes to helping your customers understand what you’re offering and why they need it.

As a marketer, you have an opportunity to tell your story. Your story is how you explain what you do and why it’s important to customers. It’s the difference between good marketing and bad marketing. The best way to learn how to write a great story is by studying examples of other people who’ve done it well before you. Think of your favorite brands, how did they win you over, how do they tell their story, and why do you keep choosing their products over the competitors.

The bottom line is that good marketing tells a story and bad marketing doesn’t. If you’re looking for a way to tell your brand’s story or if you’re interested in learning more about the power of storytelling in the digital age, reach out. We help small businesses across North America tell their good marketing story everyday and you could be next!

We help businesses just like yours with their marketing every single day and would love to do the same for you!


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