Monday, March 06, 2006

Major Marketing Blunder

A marketing miscue could not have come at a worse time of the year ... right when consumers are considering who they want to prepare their tax returns for the dreaded April 15 hit in our pocketbooks. Well, actually it wasn't a marketing miscue, but it sure is a marketing headache.

All the hard marketing work that H&R Block has done in building its brand name, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in TV advertising, now has the potential of unraveling. H&R Block admitted that it filed its own corporate tax return inaccurately -- by $32 million. Block's tax blunder came from underestimating its state tax liability and while this is an issue that is unique to corporate returns, it is enough to cast doubt on their claimed thoroughness.

Everyone in marketing shares the fear of such a miscue in our own companies. Mistakes happen. Marketing managers should always have a positive rebound for any anticipated negative news. We need to protect our brand equity with rapid response marketing strategies.

Block needs to head off the potential negative hit from this mistake. Admit it on their website, but trivialize it and show how this cannot happen ... reinforce its customer guarantee for accurate returns. And Block needs to get active in the blogosphere fast to show negative bloggers a more positive story.


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