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Great Products, Bad Marketing: 4 Brands We Love That Missed the Mark

Great Products, Bad Marketing: 4 Brands We Love That Missed the Mark Blog Feature

Ramona Sukhraj

Associate Director of Content, Strategized Initiatives That Increased IMPACT’s Website Traffic From ~45K to ~400K

November 13th, 2015 min read

So, tell me this hasn’t happened to you.

You’re starving. You meet up with a friend and they drag you to a small, sketchy restaurant where the menu’s falling apart, prices are scratched out and handwritten back in, the lights buzz, and you’re afraid you might get mugged in the bathroom.

Pretty much, things couldn’t look worse -- but after a few bites, you realize they also couldn’t taste any better.

We hear it a lot in business: even great marketing can’t help a bad product, but what about the opposite? You know, the awesome small business, product, or service that just doesn’t have the marketing or design to match?

As a marketer, nothing bums me out more than seeing great businesses go unnoticed due to poor marketing and design, and the feeling is one I share with much of the IMPACT team.

Thinking about this, I went to my teammates and asked them, “what are some brands you absolutely love, but hate their marketing or design?”

Here are four that came to mind:

Freeman’s C. Booth

“I’ve walked by their product thousands of times at the store and never thought twice about it. Why would I waste my precious time reading all that damn text? (Especially for a brand I’ve never heard of). Well, I recently got to try it for free from Influenster and it’s actually an AMAZING product. Good ingredients, good results, but the package is a huge turn off for people who are unfamiliar, which is a great deal I expect considering the brand’s minimal marketing.

I’m a new evangelist for this brand, but I think a product package redesign and lack of  and cutting down some of the content on the bottle would really help attract more first-time buyers.

This idea is something important to consider with your high-level site pages as well. Don’t turn your user away by bombarding them with all of your info at once.

Even if every word is important, insightful information,it won’t matter if they immediately exit the page. On another note, I have to give them their kudos for partnering with Influenster to spread the word. Hopefully a little word-of-mouth marketing will help out this awesome product. - Marcella Jalbert, Creative Lead


“As big as a company as Coca Cola is, they’ve definitely let their website wither away. Coke is supposed to be a brand that embodies fun, refreshment, and people sharing a connection over the drink, but upon first visit to their site you don’t feel any of these sentiments.  

Granted, they’re not a company who’s looking for “inbound-y” leads, but that doesn’t mean they can ignore customer delight.

On their US site, they just have too many things going on. The visitor’s attention is pulled in so many different directions, it’s almost impossible to know what you should be doing. From a carousel (that doesn’t work, by the way) with a call-to-action, to a YouTube video, to a pop-up Facebook panel (that also doesn’t appear to be working), the user experience isn’t up to bar with what one might expect from an accomplished brand like Coke.  

My guess is these glitches may not be universal, but that’s another thing that should be taken into account. If your design isn’t going to offer the same experience to all of its users, it may need some rethinking.” - Joe Rinaldi, Creative Lead


“I love Zara, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen marketing or advertising for them. Granted they seem to be doing well without it, but there have still been several times I’ve met people who say they’ve never heard of them. I’d love to see them do a bit more on that end. Perhaps make more of an effort to engage on social media, especially Twitter or Pinterest.

Furthermore, their website is not mobile responsive. For a brand that is so fashion-forward, it’s surprising that their web design isn’t. They could do a better job with that!” - Kwaku Awuah, Delivery Lead


“I’ve been following them for a while, but recently I’ve seen some major updates to their homepage that I don’t agree with. I’d love to see the reasoning behind some of the major design changes across the whole site, which include getting rid of the main navigation bar, disabling text selection, and adding flashy graphics that don’t convey value.

Taking the navigation away and trying to convert people right-off-the-bat in their hero is jarring. I understand that the goal is convert visitors into users, but I think that they could have the best of both worlds while still adhering to best practices.” - Derrick Weiss, Account Executive

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