Big businesses have seen their fair share of flops in PR, sales, and marketing. Some businesses are even forced to fold because of their embarrassing mistakes. Here are some of the most famous business fails throughout history and the lessons we can learn from them.
The Hamburger Mistake – Not Knowing Your Buyer
In 1996, McDonalds introduced its Arch Deluxe. The burger cost more than standard McDonalds’ fare and was aimed at “urban sophisticates.” This was outside McDonald’s target demographic. No one bought it, so McDonalds had to take the item off the menu.
The takeaway – If you try to sell to someone who doesn’t want what you’re selling, you’re destined for failure.
The Chip Mistake – Making Claims Too Good to Be True
In 1998, Frito-Lay marketed WOW! Chips. The chips were made with Olestra, a compound that made them fat free. However, Olestra’s molecules were too large to be digested properly. Customers experienced stomach cramps and diarrhea. The chips had to be taken off the market.
The Takeaway – Don’t get so excited about the good aspects of your product that you fail to conduct due diligence. Take your time, do your research, and make sure the data backs your claims.
Nintendo’s Mistake – Offering a Product Before It Was Ready
In 1995, Nintendo released Virtual Boy, new technology that was supposed to transport buyers into virtual reality. The tabletop game console was supposed to create the illusion of depth with stereoscopic 3D graphics. It didn’t. Games had low-resolution graphics, grainy images, and an often-monochromatic display.
The Takeaway – Know your target audience, and give them what they want, but be sure your product is up to the challenge first.
Facebook Home – Making Things Too Complicated
In 2013, Facebook launched an app for Android that makes Facebook’s cover feed the user’s home screen. The app was only compatible with a handful of devices and got negative reviews. Users reported Facebook Home gave them too many notifications and made it hard to see other apps. Critics said it used too much data and battery. Most people uninstalled it.
The Takeaway – Don’t over-provide. Start slow, and build from what works.
Don’t make the same mistake these big businesses did when they lost sight of their audience, rushed in with a product that wasn’t ready, or overcomplicated their sales efforts. Focus on your target market and audience and stay within that demographic. Eliminate unnecessary information and counterintuitive steps so these mistakes won’t happen to your business.