Picture the scene. You’ve just ordered your regular skinny cappuccino at your overpriced coffee shop of choice. It’s going to take a few minutes. You decide to spend that precious time skimming through your Instagram feed. Food, sunset, holiday, weird art thing, food, selfie…

Wait, what is that?!?

Now imagine you’re saying this stuff, but not aloud, just in your head.

Holy moly, that’s the best looking minimally designed watch I have seen.


Oh, it’s an advert. That’s ok, I like relevant ads, and I do love watches like this.

I’m going to look at the comments.

‘Wow, what a lovely timepiece’

Someone agrees with me. Nice.

‘I ordered this ten days ago, it’s hasn’t arrived’

That’s not so good, let’s see what the watch company have said.

Nothing. Hmmm.

‘I got this and it stopped working a month later’

Oh dear.

‘Well I lost mine when the strap-buckle snapped and the whole thing dropped into a vat of glue I was making’

That’s a sticky situation right there!

‘The company are refusing to refund me’

OH COME ON! I’m not going to tap this ad to find out more. In fact, I’ll never be interested in these watches again. So much promise, taken away so quickly.


You have to feel for us marketers

Miss Marketer at the watch company in question had done well by creating an ad that not only caught the eye, but was also nicely targeted. Unfortunately, she has been let down in two key areas – the quality of the product, and customer service. The advert is destined to fail. Marketing Misery.

What could Miss Marketer do?

1  – Delete all of the negative comments – NO!

That would solve it! Calm down. That’s not the right solution.  Whitewashing is not wise; it goes against the transparency that underpins social media best practice and creates further negative sentiment among the people that are failing to get the responses they require. The negativity isn’t likely to be confined to social media – review sites are sure to hold similar issues for the company and you can’t delete those.

2 – Kill the ads – YES

Simply just stop running the ads. They’re failing to attract levels of conversion that generate a return on investment and damaging the brand. This is a viable option until a time where the product is strong, with customer service to match.

3 – Work with customer service to address the negativity – YES

Miss Marketer needs to push the customer service team to respond to the issues and offer solutions. Doing this publicly shows onlookers that the company does actually care and despite problems with the product, are trying to do the right thing. This approach may actually negate the need to kill the ads, but only if they start to perform once the responding process is in place.

4 – Define a plan with customer service and the product team – YES

You can’t just not market the business! If the product sucks, it needs fixed. Not serving customers properly is unacceptable. Miss Marketer should be strong and drive those teams to commit to an improvement timeline (sooner, rather than later!) that can then inform the plan for marketing. Be brave Miss Marketer, be brave.

Brave like a lioness. Rarrrr.


Marketers need confidence in what they’re, erm, marketing in order to do so effectively. In this age of consumer power, choice and voice, we can’t do our jobs properly when we get let down by shoddy products and shocking service. Marketers – don’t sit back and let it happen, use your sharp communications skills to make an internal stand. Chaaaaaarrrrrrggggggeeeeeee.

And yes, I know marketers are more than capable of letting down the rest of the business too. We are the tip of the spear after all…

Have you ever operated in these tough circumstances? Let me know how you handled it in the comments, or tweet me @mike_mcgrail!


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