Recently we have seen a proliferation of mistakes from marketing departments across the world. There have been some fantastic marketing spins that are only now biting back at the companies that implemented them.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Are you guilty of sneaky marketing? Are you ready for it to backfire? ” user=”rhian_wilkinson” hashtags=”marketing, branding”]

Let’s focus on the painkiller product Nurofen, as it has been revealed they have been selling exactly the same product, with inflated prices, changing nothing but their packaging and marketing materials.

Essentially, someone came along and said hey! We should target our product here, here, and here, but let’s brand it for each of them, without making it clear that it’s actually all the same thing! They’re definitely silly enough to think they need to buy twice the amount of product to fix one kind of problem!

All of the Nurofen products in question use the active ingredient of Ibuprofen Tysine, specifically 342mg. Yet each of these products has been marketing differently. The green packet for back pain, purple for migraine pain, pink for period pain, and brown for tension headaches. These products are all additional to the standard Nurofen product. Despite containing exactly the same active ingredient, in exactly the same dosage, the products were being sold at a price almost double that of the standard product. The sneaky marketing tactic won Reckitt Benckiser, Nurofen’s maker, a Shonky Award from consumer group Choice in 2010.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched action against Reckitt Benckiser in March of 2015, and has just come to a ruling that will require all Nurofen specific pain products be removed from retail sale within three months, and that the company post corrective notices in newspapers and on its website.

Don’t market your product as the same thing five different ways

Moral of this story? Don’t market your product as the same thing five different ways. Nurofen is a painkiller, the ACCC is not disputing that it can be used for many different kinds of pain. But Nurofen has been misleading consumers into thinking that they need to buy the same product three times if they have period pain, a tension headache, and back pain (three pains that often come at once!). This is not only misleading, it is potentially dangerous if a consumer uses all three products at once, taking a potentially harmful dosage of the painkiller.

[easy-tweet tweet=”People are much more likely to buy one product that achieves five goals” user=”comparethecloud” hashtags=”marketing”]

Take a look at your suite of products, are you trying to sell your customer the same thing five times over? Psychologically people are much more likely to buy one product that achieves five goals, than 5 products that each do one thing.

The cloud industry is obsessed with acronyms that could frankly be gone without, there are companies who have entire internal languages, which are separate to what they actually refer to their products as externally. All of this confusion is making it harder for consumers to know what they are buying, and what they should be getting from their products.

There is so much focus now on big data telling us what to sell and when, surely we should know to trust ourselves sometimes. The Harvard Business Review recently did a Spotlight on Digital Customer Engagement. The focus was how to balance big data with traditional marketing tactics. The playoff between short and long term marketing.

If you have been running a campaign to increase brand awareness, and it is going well, but all of a sudden a big data analyst says you can make a quick buck by targeting your advertising at a certain segment, should you abandon your long term content goals?

you shouldn’t abandon your long term content goals in order to get fast results

My argument here is no, you shouldn’t. Companies are far too focussed on their short term goals a lot of the time. Only caring about meeting this quarter’s targets, and on-boarding as many customers as possible. Without sticking to the long term plan for their business’s brand, they will lose out.

Nurofen’s sneaky sales tactic may have made them more money in the short term, but now that it has come to light, it has negatively impacted their customer loyalty. They lied to customers in order to hit their targets. It was savvy, it was smart, but it was sneaky. People don’t like being tricked into purchasing things they don’t need.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Are you #marketing for the long term and protecting your #brand? ” user=”rhian_wilkinson @comparethecloud”]

So ask yourself, are you marketing for the long term and protecting your brand and your customer? Or are you just getting that customer on board for a short ride, and waiting till they fall off the rickety marketing bandwagon you built?