A Marketing Lesson From The Go Daddy PR Nightmare

Everyone’s talking about Go Daddy these days. And not in a good way.

In case you missed it, Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons not only shot and killed an elephant on a recent trip to Zimbabwe, but he posted the video of the kill online for the world to see.

The controversial video, and Bob’s response, have been flooding the media. PETA has deemed Mr. Parsons the “scummiest CEO of the year.” He however defends his position, insisting that the kill helped protect the crops of nearby villagers.

There is no doubt that the Go Daddy public relations department has been working overtime to address the flood of outrage. This situation gives all of us a reminder of the importance of pr and reputation management.

There is another key marketing lesson to be learned here too – the importance of keeping tabs on your competitors.

You are no doubt already carefully monitoring your competitors in terms of their product offerings, their pricing, their distribution, their marketing campaigns. These are all an important part of the competitive landscape. But the Go Daddy fiasco highlights the importance of monitoring ALL competitor activity, and acting quickly to capitalize on any situation that can help boost your business.

Many web hosting companies acted right away in response to the incredible negative backlash. Host Papa is one example of a Go Daddy competitor that was on the ball. They quickly rolled out a program that gave a $5 donation to Save the Elephants for every Go Daddy customer that made the switch to their hosting services. They did an excellent job of not only responding to the situation, but taking the opportunity to emphasize their own environmental commitment and their pre-existing eco-initiatives.

The internet has made competitive monitoring easy – using Google Alerts, taking the time to monitor industry news, signing up for email updates from industry publications, using social media to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. The information is there if you’re proactive about tracking it.

Simply having the monitoring in place is not enough, however. Your team has to be ready to act, and fast, when these types of opportunities arise. Consider your business’ internal workings. Firstly, do you have staff actively monitoring what’s going on? And secondly, have you empowered them to act quickly?

Encourage your staff to bring ideas to the table. And make sure that they have the power and the support that they need to make things happen fast. In situations such as these, dilly dallying, waiting for approval or stalling until someone has the time in their work schedule to execute won’t work. You’ll miss the boat. And your competition will be reaping the benefits.

Posted March 29, 2011
Categories: Blog, Advertising and Marketing General
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