Posted by : Sarah Menbari

The Best Way to Waste Your Marketing Budget

A few months ago, I was commissioned by a client to find a solution to address customer service issues they were experiencing in their organization.

I spent a few days researching options and weighing them against my client’s needs and finally narrowed down the choices to 3 solutions.

One option was Company X, the focus of my story and a choice that my client had specifically asked me to look into. When I looked them up online, their name popped up a number of times in the ads section of Google, so it is safe to say that Company X has allocated a budget to Google advertising. I went to their beautifully designed website and reached out via a super cool widget and asked for a demo. Almost instantly, I received an automatic response thanking me for my interest and informing me that someone will be in touch. Great!

For the next few days, and for a long thereafter, I continued to see their ads while browsing the net, including on Facebook and Instagram. Based on this, we know they are spending good money on remarketing and display ads on the Meta and Google Ads networks. Great!

A couple days went by, and I still had not received a response from Company X. I went back to the website and, trying to remain hopeful, clicked on the “live chat” widget. The window opened only to display a contact form with a message that went something like this: Please input your information and a member of our team will get back to you. So much for live chat!

I did as they said and almost immediately my inbox when ding. “Yes! They are getting back to me,” I thought. Umm, no. It was yet another automatic response!

I dug into their website and found a support email and asked for someone to reach out. After a day or so, I received an email from a representative asking me to fill out a lengthy form so they can learn more about what I am looking for. I took my time and filled out the form and pressed send, hopeful that I would finally receive a response and move forward with the demo. Two more days passed and still no response. To add insult to injury, I received unrelated, completely irrelevant marketing emails from Company X daily. Seriously? I reached out to the rep again, noting that I filled out the form and was looking for a response. Here’s what I received: “I will look into it and get back to you.” Another day passed and still no response! At this point I was ready to send an email titled “WTF”, all caps. Instead, I resorted to one titled, “What’s going on?” The response? “We are very busy with other clients and will get back to you as soon as we get the opportunity. We appreciate your patience”.

Now, I do understand that this is probably an edge case when it comes to terrible customer service, but I am 99.9% sure you have encountered similar cases. It’s frustrating when organizations fail to follow up, don’t deliver on what they promise, and just straight up provide a terrible customer experience.

In the end, I Googled “company with similar offerings as Company X”. Thanks to my dear friends on Reddit I was able to find a smaller, more responsive company who fulfilled my client’s requirements.

The moral of the story? Marketing is no longer just about beautiful branding, out-of-this-world UX and technology, sophisticated automation and the overload of content dispersed to your audience. It is not about the thousands and millions of dollars you spend on advertisement, machine learning, and the next shiny object found in the bag of your award-winning marketing agency. In the age of social media, instant gratification, and all things delivered lightning fast, if you are not focusing your efforts on creating positive customer experiences, you might as well take all of your marketing and operating budget and flush it down the drain.

What you did in the past does not matter. What you did yesterday does not matter. If you want to stay relevant tomorrow, you need to get up and get out there: create exceptional customer experiences, be helpful, and be there for your customers when and where they need you.