19 marketing pet peeves that defined 2019

November 26, 2019 | 7 minute read
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As 2020 is quickly approaching, it’s time to consider those resolutions and look forward to starting with a clean marketing slate in the New Year. But first, let’s take a look back at 19 pet peeves that really irked the marketing pros and defined many of the faux pas and questionable marketing tactics of 2019. 

Pet peeve #1: The classic sales and marketing disconnect 

It really bothers me when I see marketing teams create elaborate marketing strategy with no input from sales or any understanding if sales can actually implement the strategy as intended. It saves a whole lot of time to engage sales early on in the process to get their feedback, meanwhile developing advocates on the sales team to help with “selling” the strategy to the entire team. 

Jeff Davis, Founder and CEO, JD2 Consulting Group 

Pet peeve #2: Poor targeting 

For me, it’s poor targeting. I constantly get marketing campaigns from companies who clearly never bothered to see what our company does or what my role is. As someone who spends a substantial amount of time narrowing and refining our targeting criteria and messaging based on firmographic, technographic, persona, and intent criteria, I see poor targeting as lazy marketing. 

Arpine Babloyan, Director, Acquisition Marketing, Verndale 

Pet peeve #3: Holiday marketing too early 

As a marketer and customer, my biggest marketing pet peeve is companies advertising Christmas at the end of August/beginning of September. It’s like they can’t wait to milk people for money although Christmas is 3 months away. Soon, I wouldn’t be surprised [if] some companies start advertising Christmas sales in May. 

Gregory Golinski, Head of Digital Marketing, YourParkingSpace.co.uk 

Pet peeve #4: Irrelevant emails 

As a consumer, I hate receiving email campaigns with offerings I am not interested in. It is a waste of time to read through all these emails just to find out you are not part of the target group for this campaign. 

Heiko Mock, Consultant/Contractor, VOQUZ IT Solutions GmbH 

Pet peeve #5: “Get rich quick” style sales pages 

My BIG marketing pet peeve is cheesy sales pages—the ones covered in questionable testimonials and lots of bold promises of how a product will change your life. I know these work on vulnerable and gullible people, and that sometimes they are selling legit products, but they really do represent the “get rich quick” side of marketing and give it a bad name. 

Ben Taylor, online marketer, homeworkingclub.com 

Pet peeve #6: Is it B2B, B2C, or B2P? 

As a B2B marketer, I hate when people act like B2C is something completely different. Do they know businesses are made up of people, who are also consumers? Can we all just call it B2P and talk about how to market to the decision makers and influencers? 

Angela Wells, Senior Director, CX Customer Evangelism, Oracle 

Pet peeve #7: Unhelpful feedback 

My pet peeve from a marketing professional perspective is a lack of detail in feedback from clients. Statements like: “It looks good but it’s not quite there yet,” or “This content is lacking a certain something,” are no use at all. 

Sure, it tells me that more work is needed, but I can only guess at what exactly is required! Specific feedback which can be effectively executed [is] what we need. 

Ben Culpin, Content Marketer, WakeupData 

Pet peeve #8: Filling up on digital junk food 

Clickbait headlines, titillating images, embarrassing gossip, and copywriting that reads like a snake oil pitch. These are all examples of marketing that’s the equivalent of junk food. 

Junk food makes us nauseous, sick, and bloated, but it’s what most people choose. The same applies online, where the most popular content tends to have no substance—nutritional or otherwise! 

As digital marketers, we can do our best to create quality content that helps people. If 90% prefer the “get rich/thin/popular quick” scheme bait and switches, we must accept that most of what we do won’t go viral. 

Jason Lavis, Managing Director, Out of the Box Innovations Ltd 

Pet peeve #9: I just want to unsubscribe 

I get a lot of unsolicited emails from people and companies who want to sell me all kinds of services and data. And it can be very annoying, as the frequency is sometimes daily and the targeting is totally off. But what angers me most, is that I cannot easily unsubscribe. There is either no link (write an email with subject “unsubscribe”), or the unsubscribe link is dead, or I unsubscribe and still get the email. Not only is this in a lot of countries a dangerous practice, but it also leads to “silent unsubscribes”, messes up campaign reporting, and last but not least annoys the recipient. 

Heike Neumann, Sr. Director Digital Marketing & ABM, Oracle 

Pet peeve #10: Pop-ups 

*Full-screen pop-ups* 
I hate, hate, hate these. When I am browsing websites on my mobile and this happens, I immediately click off from the website. 

Sneh Ratna Choudhary, Content Marketer, Beaconstac 

Pet peeve #11: More pop-ups 

Without question, pop-up ads are at the top of my list of marketing grievances—specifically when they launch as soon as you begin to scroll down a page. From a lead generation perspective it may seem like a good idea to hit users with your “sign up for email updates” ad immediately. But if you weigh the consequences, they’re just not worth it. 

Jonas Sickler, SEO Manager, Terakeet 

Pet peeve #12: And even more pop-ups 

My biggest pet peeve is when I open a webpage and there are numerous pop-ups, audio or videos playing automatically, or simply an excess of ads. If you place too many distracting elements on a page, visitors may not be able to find what they came looking for. And, as we all know, most people will not give you another chance after one bad experience. So, it is important to have a clean and minimal website design that focuses on the important things and doesn’t distract or confuse visitors. 

Shane Barker, Digital Strategist, ShaneBarker.com 

Pet peeve #13: So you think you’re a social media expert 

There’s a difference between understanding the basics of social media, and being a social media expert. In my 3.5 years in this industry, nothing is more frustrating when a new hire claims to be a social media expert just because they have 5 social platforms for their personal life. There’s more depth to it than that. 

Alexa Kurtz, Marketing Strategist & Paid Ad Specialist, WebTek 

Pet peeve #14: Disrespecting buyers’ data 

My biggest marketing pet peeve is disrespecting buyers’ data. I heard Kara Swisher speak [about] this last week, and she implored tech companies and marketers to find new ways to engage with customers that did not require them to pillage our data. We ask for buyers’ data (explicitly such as their email/phone and implicitly e.g. their behavior on our sites and campaigns). But, unless we are giving them back something of real value—personalized, relevant, insightful, etc., we are not being responsible stewards of that information, and actually risking creating a poor customer experience. 

Katie Martell, Marketing Consultant, katie-martell.com 

Pet peeve #15: Wasting money on the wrong tactics 

What really bothers me is to see my clients (and other companies) waste their messages and money on the wrong audiences—market niches that are wholly uninterested in their products. Despite all the talk about Big Data, it takes the right kind of intelligence to look into consumer research to see what insights are actually implied there. Who is the real buyer in any given situation, what is driving their decisions, and what are their values and goals? This is the research I do to determine how best to spend company dollars, time, and talent. So, I do wonder how I got on the lists from which I get car insurance ads when I’ve never owned or driven a car. 

Margaret J. King, Ph.D., Director, The Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis 

Pet peeve #16: Post-purchase badgering 

One thing we marketers need to watch is the post purchase follow-ups. Certainly to build community and loyalty with those customers who have purchased from our brand is good, offering them incentives, rebates or coupons—however some brands over do it on the frequency. We can retouch our customers 2 to 3 times a week with messaging that is bothersome, like: “Hey you bought that, what about this?” etc. 

Robb Hecht, Adjunct Professor of Marketing, Baruch College in New York 

Pet peeve #17: Going wild with PPT 

For me, my biggest marketing pet peeve has always been rogue PowerPoint templates and designs! I’ve seen some pretty bad ones over the years. 

Robert Kleinschmidt, Senior Vice President, AirBorn Inc 

Pet peeve #18: Sneaky connections 

My biggest social media marketing pet peeve is when people I don’t know send me a connection request on LinkedIn with a nice message, only to spam my inbox to sell me something. 

Srijana Angdembey, Social Marketing Director, Oracle 

Pet peeve #19: Prioritizing the dollar over the customer 

As my 9-year-old said to me the other day, “Papa, it seems most companies put making money first, but they should really put making their customers happy first and then they’ll just make more money.” It’s remarkable how simple yet profound this comment, from a 9-year-old, is. 

My pet peeve is that most companies consistently put the dollar before their customers’ happiness, and this pet peeve is a true pet peeve because it pains me both as a customer and as a professional trying to help companies be more successful. This mistake detracts value from companies and their customers simultaneously when the inverse is so easily possible by simply flipping the script and recognizing that the currency of customer happiness has far greater value than that of customer cash in a single transaction. 

We’ve heard this before in so many different ways, but as customers we experience value when brands put us and our happiness before our money. When that happens, we feel something—it’s emotional, it’s personal, it’s no longer just an exchange of money for goods or services—it’s a relationship, and the lifetime value of a relationship [over]shadows that of a single purchase, any day of the week. 

Taj Forer, Cofounder & CEO, Fabl 

For information on how to create great marketing experiences, visit https://www.oracle.com/cx/marketing/.

This content was originally published on SmarterCX by Oracle. It has been adapted for the Oracle Marketing blog.

SmarterCX Team

The SmarterCX team is comprised of subject matter experts, writers, artists, designers, and CX professionals who are dedicated to building a smarter customer experience.


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