Marketing Strategy Gone AWOL

Jul 22, 2019

Do we have to talk about this again? Yes, because companies continue to make epic marketing failures. In most instances, such goof-ups can be attributed to faulty marketing strategy.

Strategy involves choices. Done right, decisions are made to select particular options from various alternatives. How do you make the choices? You figure out your ideal customer (your target customer) and you speak to that person. 

The choice you make is going to resonate with a certain segment of the population. It also is going to fall flat for others. That is a good thing. But make the wrong choice? Or choose too many targets? Your message won’t be heard – or in some cases – you will create a negative reaction. 


Diaper Disaster

When global diaper supplier, Huggies, aired an advertising campaign with the slogan “Have Dad Put Huggies To The Test,” the— “s#[email protected]”—literally hit the fan. 

The commercials showed dads so consumed by sports on TV that they neglected to tend to the full diapers on their babies. A voice-over in the ad explained that the company put the diapers to the test “to prove that Huggies diapers can handle anything.”

Really? This is the 21st century. Dads in the today’s Huggies market are not the helpless, comical dads from those 1960s sitcoms. The backlash for the Huggies ad was so severe that one stay-at-home father created a petition “We’re Dads, Huggies. Not Dummies.” Huggies eventually had to remove the advertisement because of the negative feedback. 

Huggies clearly made some wrong choices. There probably are dads out there as stunned as those featured in the Huggies ad. But I bet you anything, they’re not the dads buying diapers. 


What choices do you have?

Once you’ve made your strategic choices, the tactics fall into place. 

  • Your ideal customer spends a lot of time in a vehicle? Consider radio ads and billboards even though everyone tells you “digital” is where it’s at. 

  • Your ideal customer won’t make a decision without checking with their favourite influencer? Put your resources into a digital marketing plan, not print ads.

  • Your ideal customers live in rural areas? Increase your investment in online sales channels. 

  • You ideal customer is a millennial dad bonding with a new baby? Use images and tag lines that treat him with respect – not humiliation.


Like a child in a candy shop, marketers are now faced with more channel choices than ever before and their reaction is usually to want to do everything. Marketing Strategy invoices choice. What you invest in is as important as what you say no to.