5 Companies That Tried—And Failed—At In-House Marketing

5 companies that tried and failed at inbound marketing 

Even the most successful companies can fail at in-house marketing if they are not aware of the latest marketing techniques, or they are not prepared. Most commonly, companies focus their efforts on product design and manufacturing rather than on marketing. Products that do not have adequate exposure will not sell. Here are some examples of companies that tried in-house marketing, and failed.

1. Microsoft Windows Vista

Microsoft was guilty of releasing their product before it was ready, and over-inflating its ability. Experts recommend delaying the launch of a product until it is completely ready. In 2007, the company allocated $500 million to its marketing campaign. With this type of investment, Microsoft expected 50 percent of its users to migrate to the premium edition over the course of two years. 

Instead, the company was faced with numerous compatibility and performance problems. This caused many previously loyal customers to switch from Windows Vista to Mac. This was an epic failure that stemmed from an in-house marketing problem 

2. Coca-Cola C2

Coca-Cola C2 developers failed to ensure that the product was different enough from its current products to create demand. Coke C2 had a target market of 20- to 40-year-olds who did not want to consume the calories and carbohydrates found in traditional Coke. A $50 million marketing campaign was launched to introduce the C2 product, which offered half the calories and carbohydrates, but the same Coke flavor. When the trend of low-carbohydrate diets faded, Coke C2 was deemed a failure. Soon afterward, Coke Zero was introduced, offering a new product with no calories. 

3. Febreze Scentstories

When consumers need a significant amount of education on a product and its benefits, products are bound to fail. Febreze Scentstories were designed to emit a scent every 30 minutes while playing a song. Even though the company hired Shania Twain to promote the product, consumers were still confused about how to use a device incorporated both music and scents, so the product did not perform well. Aromatherapy and audio-therapy might have been popular in some circles, but the general population was just not ready for Febreze Scentstories. Because of this, the product failed.

4. Segway

Segway is a revolutionary product, but there was no target market for the product when it was released. No one in the marketing department thought seriously about who would buy the product and what would be the appropriate price for the product. 

There was a lot of momentum leading up to the product launch, but it did not live up to its hype. Marketers predicted it would sell 10,000 per week at $5,000. Instead, the company sold only 24,000 in the first five years. It was an in-house marketing nightmare. People simply did not understand how this product could be used in their daily lives. Law enforcement and tours were two markets; so there was a use for the product, but not to the extent the manufacturer originally hoped.

5. Mosquito Magnet by American Biophysics

This company’s marketing strategy failed because they could not handle its fast growth. This product was designed to use carbon dioxide to kill mosquitoes and was introduced in response to the West Nile virus. The problem was not the product, or the timing, but the ability to keep up with the demand and so it became a marketing disaster. The key is planning and execution; there should be a plan to ramp up fast if a product is wildly successful.