Marketing Fail: iNET Web Case Study

Welcome to a pillar series I plan on putting together on my blog titled, “Marketing Fail”. The idea behind this came out of watching companies market their products and services. Some do their marketing extraordinarily well, while some just plain fail. Hopefully reading about these marketing blunders will help you avoid these mistakes in your own company and strive to produce a marketing campaign to be proud of.

When marketing your company, there are certain ways to go about it. You have many mediums to promote in, including social media, to be aware of as well. Some mediums are more potent then others, yet each one has its own benefits associated with it. For example, in television commercials; people are listening, reading, and watching all at the exact same time. Compared to print, where someone is just reading something, you are capturing more senses and engaging that person with your message. With social media, you are engaging that person’s senses and encouraging them to respond, building a relationship with an individual that is impossible with television, radio, and print combined. But that is for a later article, lets take a look at a case study of marketing gone wrong.

Case Study: iNET Web

iNET Web is a website design and hosting company located in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They began in 1998 with the intent to “crush every Waukesha web development competitor in not only price but also design”. They have done just that through their radio ads, effectively downplaying every competitor and taking the market over by force.

Two unforeseen problems came up with this stance, and here is the predicament that now looms over my hometown of Milwaukee.

1. It incenses the “Competition”

Marketing 101 for any company regardless of industry teaches owners to focus on telling their own story. Business owners are encouraged to differentiate and sell their unique benefits for the consumers benefit. It is slightly different from the presumed my-product-is-better-than-your-product argument that companies regularly initiate in, but an important difference nonetheless. Think of it this way, are you in business just so you can “crush your competition” or to provide a solution to a consumer need? Act that way. Market your company that way. Your company is not here to give you an ego boost, you are in business to provide a way of living for yourself by providing the solution to the consumers’ need.

iNET Web effectively created a large rift and threw the competition into it, silencing all opposition. As a result, I barely hear of other website design companies. The ones I do hear of? They despise iNET. The flip side? Some of these companies I stumble across make pretty impressive websites and love their customers to pieces.

This is a fine line, yet this could spell death for your company no matter how profitable you are. Not only does this make your “competition” mad at you, it also splits the market and prevents you from working with your “competitors” down the road. Listen closely, your competition is not in business to bash you, they are in business the same reason you are: to make a profit. There are more than enough people in your market for everyone to benefit from, you physically cannot serve everybody in that market. Neither can your “competition”. That is an undisputed fact. As you understand this, you will start to view your competitors in a different light. Now, rather than “bashing” them, you will see how all of you can work together to serve your market; to both widen and deepen it.

2. It keeps the Market in the Dark

Would you be very happy with someone if they deliberately kept you in the dark? At first no, you would just assume that is exactly how things should be. Then somebody walks by your darkened room’s window with a candle. How would that make you feel? Confused? Mad? Jealous? Yup, all that and an insatiable desire to learn more about that light. Questions would be running through your mind, answers waiting to be uncovered. If the person who originally locked you up and taught you about your “dark room” came by, you would probably tackle him to the ground and give him a sound beating before running out the door after that light.

That is the exact situation the website design/hosting market in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is now facing. Business owners are walking around without a clue what their website is and what it could be. They are walking around in that dark room. They are deliberately left out of the loop, fed only the bits and pieces certain companies want them to hear. Not only is this saddening to hear, but it also makes me mad.

I know this as I walk around that very market (I used to run a website design company in Milwaukee as well) pulling out tidbits of information to gauge what is going on. The reports brought tears to my eyes. How could this market stay in the dark for so long? How could they remain this uneducated about the Internet? How could they not see how immensely powerful their website has now become? If they saw the light, they would break down that door running after the light. My response to this was to flip on my webcam and record something to educate that market, in a way hoping to be that light that would pass by their door.

I don’t think you would want to be that company (person) in their way when they see the light and attempt a mad dash towards it.

For those two reasons…

iNET Web is a Marketing Failure in my book.

Want to learn more about iNET Web as well as my own personal story with them? Watch this video on iNET Web Bashing.

Now that you understand what not to do, what thoughts do you have and what do you intend to do? Any company you’d like to see a case study on?

159 comments

  1. This is a very interesting insight you have given, Taylor; and I agree with you wholeheartedly! Your analysis of iNET web's marketing failure is absolutely true. I stumbled across them a bit over a year ago and laughed when I saw their web site. I couldn't believe a company would market themselves in the way they did.

    I often check back to their web site to see what, if any, crazy things they are doing. It still astonished me at how weird their copy-writing is, because it comes across as so unprofessional, as you alluded to in your article.

    But the thing that really cracks me up is the marketing stunt they tried with the Milwaukee Web Guys web site. At first I didn't know it was supposed to be a parody of their competitors (or at least that's what I gather they are doing). I almost think the iNET Web/Milwaukee Web Guys marketing debacle could be used as fodder for a marketing case study. Maybe you could use that yourself for a future article — I'd enjoy reading it šŸ™‚

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. I think iNET Web and Milwaukee Web Guys are one and the same, they are just appearing to be more "professional" to themselves while stabbing blindly with a dagger. I'll definitely look into it as another case study though. Let me know if you uncover anything else you would like me to do a case study on! šŸ™‚

  2. This is a very good ananlysis of a company's marketing. I can't stand hearing their radio commercials. They are very rude and brazen in their bashing of every other company in the Milwaukee/Waukesha area. I hope they can turn themselves around and see their competitors as equal to them, rather than squashing competitors to pieces.

    1. Exactly. I don't have a problem with iNET Web. They are a company that does at the very least, passable work for what their client needs. It's the marketing that fails.

  3. I also can't stand hearing their radio commercials. I usually switch the station when I hear one come on (wish radio stations could measure this somehow).

    Plus a for a company that talks so big their web page is terrible! I don't know how anyone in their right mind would hire them after looking at the monstrosity.

    1. Exactly. Wouldn't mind them upgrading and changing a few things about the way they do business. If anything, this post is meant to show the flaws, what not to do, and how to approach it the correct way.

  4. Awesome post shared about marketing fail internet web case study that is actually informative and this will be really useful for knowing better idea about Internet web info. I like it. Thanks a lot. Keep it up the great task ! šŸ™‚

  5. Interesting post Taylor. Just look at exactly how this 'fantastic positioning' has worked out for iNET Web, then take a second to compare that to the real movers and shakers of the last 4-5 years like Hostgator and WordPress… heck, you could even throw in more 'done for you' solutions like Weebly and Webs into the mix! Now compare the results…

  6. Quite effective and informative post! Marketing is the key for any business success as marketing refers a new product or service introduce to the targeted consumer. This dealing topic (in the content) is follow able and should avoid those marketing mistakes what are fixed up here. I think avoiding those marketing mistake would be efficient for the perfect and successful marketing. Thanks!

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  8. Now that's what I call aggressive marketing. If the company can do that for its own benefit, it stands to reason that it can just as easily do the same for client websites.

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  10. Uh yeah there were definitely some huge issues and flaws with their marketing launch. Massive failure in my opinion. I never liked the commercials and their site is super ugly to top it off. But I guess they worked for their intended purpose, or I assume they did. However, there are a ton of better options out there so I would look elsewhere if I was in the target audience. Anyway, I guess what I am saying is that I agree with you.
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  52. Mr. Marek, I would strongly encourage you to reexamine your case study research & formation process. Not only are your two Marketing Fail examples nebulous and shallow, they are essentially only brief platforms for you to springboard off of and ramble your 'marketing expertise.' Your readers cannot even be certain that you are reporting on the correct company, because iNET Web's clear intent is 'Improving the Economy One Business at a Time.' Even if your argument of iNET's obsession with competition were true, competition encourages individuals and companies to strive for a greater share of a market to sell or buy goods and services. It also stimulates innovation and development of new products–not such a bad company quality to have.

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