The power of good marketing is something that simply cannot be underestimated. Whether you’re selling a product, a service, or trying to make yourself known in any way, the bottom line is that without good marketing, you will fail, regardless of the quality of your product.

We are strong believers in the power of marketing at Portaboards, which is why we offer a variety of solutions for billboard-based advertising, one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of thousands of people at a time. Helping people to market their products is our goal, but we also believe it’s important to help them understand just how essential good marketing is.

That’s why it’s interesting to take a look at good products that have failed because of poor marketing efforts. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how good the thing is that you’re selling. If it’s advertised poorly, or even worse, not advertised at all, you need not scratch your head wondering why you didn’t achieve runaway success — the answer is right in front of you.

While there are countless options to choose from, here are two (relatively recent) examples of good products that could have been saved by better marketing.

Nintendo Wii U

This is a fascinating case study because video game giant Nintendo had every ingredient for their 2012 game console to be a tremendous success. The Wii U was Nintendo’s successor to the massively popular Wii, which made history in the gaming industry by penetrating the casual market in ways that were unprecedented at the time.

The Wii was advertised as something that appealed to everyone — a unique way to play games that could be enjoyed by children, working adults, elderly people, men, women, every demographic imaginable. And it worked — the Wii’s sales numbers crushed for years and it seemed like Nintendo could do no wrong. With such a strong momentum behind the Wii, it was unfathomable that its successor would fail.

Enter the Wii U.

The Wii U, for whatever reason, was not marketed nearly as intensely as its predecessor. TV, print, and billboard advertisement were conspicuously absent, and the console had a fairly quiet release — many people didn’t even know the Wii U existed.

In addition, the marketing for the console was downright confusing. The console’s main selling point, a controller with a built-in screen, was the focal point of the advertisement, with the console often sitting in the background. To many people, it looked more like an accessory to be added on to the original Wii, and the ambiguous name, Wii U, didn’t communicate clearly whether it was an accessory or a replacement.

Ultimately, the console sold poorly despite being well-received by players and industry professionals who gave it a chance. Fortunately, Nintendo pulled a complete 180 from the Wii U in 2016 with the Nintendo Switch, a console that has a similar premise, but was better marketed by several orders of magnitude, another clear example of how marketing can make or break a product.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

When Disney acquired the Star Wars license, everyone thought they may as well have found the golden goose. Disney’s marketing power is unrivaled, and an annual Star Wars film seemed like the perfect recipe for yearly box-office success in excess of hundreds of millions.

Solo: A Star Wars Story seems to be the first movie that tells us otherwise. The most recent of all the things in this list, Solo opened on Memorial Day weekend, pulling in box office numbers that were disappointing to say in the least. The movie pulled in roughly $160 million in domestic and overseas markets combined, falling short of projections and failing to make up its costly budget estimated to be anywhere between $250-300 million (before marketing). While time will tell how Solo will perform in the long-run, it’s the first Star Wars film that was not met with roaring excitement.

That leaves an important question — how much of this was due to marketing, or lack thereof? If it were up to us, we would say a lot.

Disney, for whatever reason, seemed resigned to Solo’s failure before the movie even released, something that can be discerned from their marketing. There were zero promotional materials for the film up until three months before release, a stark contrast to the previous film The Last Jedi which began its marketing efforts eight months in advance.

Even after the trailer was released, there was a surprising lack of Solo advertisement in public spaces. Merchandise, billboards, print advertisements, and social media presence was significantly low, implying that Disney wasn’t confident enough in their own product to market it well. The film opened up to half-full theaters, whose patrons had to go home and remind their friends and family that the film even existed.

The film opened up to generally positive reviews and good word-of-mouth, exceeding expectations for most fans. But one has to wonder how well the film would have fared if the marketing was more on-point. For a media giant such as Disney, this should have been no problem, and yet, here we are.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Marketing

While your small business in Denton, Texas doesn’t quite have the scale of companies like Disney and Nintendo, the lessons from these companies still apply — marketing can be the difference between success and failure.

The first step of good marketing is simply making sure that your product is in the eyes of as many people as possible. For a small business, there is no better way to do that than with outdoor advertising. Our mobile billboards and portable signs have helped countless businesses to raise awareness and grow their brands, and we want to help you too.

If companies with hundreds of millions of customers can fail due to poor marketing, it should be all the more reason for smaller businesses with fewer resources to not take shortcuts. Need an edge in your advertising efforts? Do you want your business or product to be seen by as many people possible? Check out our selection of mobile billboards and signs, or contact us today!