Why Marketing Can’t Cover Up A Bad Business

Starting a business requires a lot of work, but keeping it running is the real challenge. Aside from thinking of ways on how you can launch an effective marketing campaign, you also need to consider the other important aspects of your business.

Yes, you need to spend a lot of time, effort, and money into marketing. But you also need to allocate ample resources for the other vital parts of the business.

Having an excellent marketing strategy is not enough to sustain a brand. Marketing alone cannot even cover up or revive a failing business.

A great example of a huge business meltdown is the WeWork IPO debacle. This can easily be the biggest controversy in the business industry in 2019.

In case you haven’t heard, the commercial real estate company filed its initial public offering (IPO) paperwork in August 2019.


TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017 - Day 1


But after the filing, the company faced a lot of scrutiny from the media and their investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission revealed billions in losses and a huge collection of leases.

In 2018, WeWork lost $1.6 billion in $1.8 billion in revenue and for the first half of 2019, they posted a loss of $690 million in revenue.



Aside from the company’s financial woes, people are also looking into their work culture. In an exclusive report by Business Insider, current and former employees revealed that under the company’s co-founder and now-ousted CEO, Adam Neumann, there are no boundaries between work and play.

News about WeWork’s debacle is all over the Internet and this is something that even serious reputation management cannot reinvigorate.

These things can occur not only in big companies like WeWork, but it can also happen to startups or any other businesses, big or small.

So what can we do to prevent this from happening to your own business? There’s a lot of things to consider, but let’s analyze it.


Things have to be aligned to fulfill your marketing message

As cliché as it may sound, for a business to succeed, you need to make sure that everything is working well. Always make sure that your marketing, operations, finance, production, and every team in your company are in line with one another.

Yes, your marketing strategy can be a perfect one. But how about the other aspects?

Your brand may be established enough to get your consumers to support your business, but what if your products or services fail?

Let’s have a look at what happened to BlackBerry. To keep up with the competition, they released a touch screen phone in 2008, their first device without a physical keyboard.

The BlackBerry Storm initially sold well because of the brand’s good reputation in the market. But it eventually went downhill. According to Verizon’s chief marketing officer, John Stratton, every one of the 1 million Storm phones shipped that year were needed to be replaced and the replacements were returned as well. Sounds like a disaster, yeah?


blackberry storm mobile phone

So what the heck happened? Well, probably BlackBerry’s impulsive move to release a touch screen phone just to curb the competition.

Their marketing team has done a great job influencing consumers to purchase, but the product itself was trash. It did not fulfill the marketing message.

If all of the marketing aspects are working well, but your operations are terrible and your product is not reliable, there’s a big chance that your business will most likely falter.


Deception is not the answer

As marketers, our job is to show the value of the business to everyone. But that job cannot be done if everything is not in sync.

If you’re putting up an amazing marketing campaign for low quality or much worse, deceptive products, it will never work.

Volkswagen, a world-famous automotive brand also suffered a brand failure before. In 2015, the company campaigned that their diesel cars are eco-friendly, but various environmental groups questioned the legitimacy of their emission testings.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later found out that many of their cars had a “defeat device” in diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested, changing the performance to improve its results.



Aside from having a £30 billion lawsuit, the scandal has done a lot of damage to the brand’s image. Years after the controversy, they’re still having a hard time redeeming the trust of the consumers.



Let’s go back to the question, can great marketing save a bad business?

The answer is pretty simple. It won’t matter how good your marketing campaign is, if your products and services are bad, it will most likely fail.

Just like what they say, you can’t put lipstick on a pig. It is the same in business, if you have a bad business, even the best marketing can’t fix it.



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