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  • Writer's pictureJenna McCarty

My First Marketing FAIL!!!

Updated: May 8, 2020

Let's take a time machine back to a time gone by....

It's January, the start of a brand new millennium. Everyone is looking forward to the Summer Olympics in Australia, and bands like Destiny's Child and Backstreet Boys are gracing the Top 10 of the Hot Billboard 100 charts.

A young girl with her red hair in pigtails is sitting in front of her large-backed computer monitor engulfed in a game she has just received for Christmas that year…

Funny to think that at the time, she has no idea that one day the mistakes she is making while playing that game would make it so, in the future, I could help my clients do their best with their marketing strategy…

The game my younger self was playing on that Gateway computer was Hasbro Interactive's Roller-Coaster Tycoon, and it was the craze for every child, teen, or adult PC gamer in the early 2000s.

Now, if you have never played RTC, that's okay, but I'm sure you have maybe at least heard of it. Roller-Coaster Tycoon is a series of simulation video games where the player is put in complete charge of building and managing an amusement park. Each game in the series challenges players with open-ended amusement park management and development, allowing players to construct and customize their own unique roller coasters and other thrill rides while at the same time, trying to master money management and marketing strategy.

My younger self was notorious for losing at this game. I could never win!

I was so excited to start building the super cool coasters and found myself focused on having the flashiest decor I could buy.

And still, I lost!

I lost so much, I eventually gave up playing, because I could not begin to understand why I couldn't make the profit I needed to be the top. Isn't that what my consumer wanted? The daring drops and explosive effects?! Nothing else mattered, right?

Fast forward to 2020, Covid-19 Stay At Home Order. An adult me has just downloaded the newest version of RCT for my IPad. Going into the game, I soon realize I am looking through a different set of eyes than I had been two decades prior. From a business owner's standpoint, I can now see exactly where I was going wrong all those years ago.

This time, instead of the biggest coasters and the gaudiest decor, I focused more on making sure my visitors were happy. They had all the necessary amenities for them to want and be able to stay longer (things like restrooms, food/drink stalls, and benches.) I cut the unnecessary spends- the lavish water fountains, the rides that didn't make enough profit, and the things my visitors wouldn't miss.

I saw what my child self couldn't - that more people meant more revenue. And more revenue could only be achieved through one thing- more marketing investment. In the end, I was winning! My visitors were happy, I still got to have all my favorite rides, and I could expand my Park to make room to build all the cool coasters I could want!

So what was my younger self doing that my older self wasn't?

Now we have finally come full circle - Here it is, My Very First Marketing Fail! - When the profits and funds were low for my business (aka my amazing, super-fun, super-flashy amusement park), the first thing I would do is cut the money going to my marketing budget. 🤦‍♀️ FAIL!

Marketing (especially social media marketing) is the tool to reach your consumer's heart. Now more than ever is not the time to go silent. With these shaky times, it is understandable that businesses are having to make cuts to their budgets.

Marketing, however, SHOULD NOT be one of those things.

Marketing is what keeps your name relevant even when you may have to step away, reaching your audience so that once they can use your services again, they will be lining up at the door to do so.

Still, feeling a little lost on how you should be marketing during times such as these? Here are four things you should be doing right now with your business' marketing strategy to help boost business even during a global pandemic.

  1. Post behind the scenes stories about little things you are doing to better your business during this time.

  2. If you do have services that your customers can still access, let that be publicly known that you are open and are taking the proper precautions to keep everyone safe.

  3. Let everyone know you are supporting local and small businesses by highlighting partnering businesses on your page.

  4. Be honest with your consumer. Everyone is going through a tough time right now, and people will respect and appreciate a level of transparency. We all know everyone needs a good haircut and misses spending time with their friends and family.

Don't be like me playing Roller Coaster Tycoon circa 2000, and see the true importance behind your business' marketing strategy. It's all about where you invest the funds and how you budget to make it work for your consumer so that they will return in the future. When it comes time to cut, marketing should be at the bottom of the list.


Stay safe and healthy out there. Enjoy some time in the sun with your family if you can. We are all in this together. 🤝🧡

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to all the essential workers out there who are continuing their work to keep our lives as close to as normal as it can be right now. You are beyond appreciated.

Much love and happiness🧡,


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