Ocean Marketing’s PR Fail: Four Ways to Manage a Public Relations Debacle

When you decide to outsource marketing, or any business function, every small business hopes for the very best. But, should you also be prepared for the very worst?

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When Dave emailed Ocean Marketing, a California based marketing consultancy, to ask for a status update on a recent order, it began what is arguably the worst example of customer service ever.

And just when you think things couldn’t get worse … they did.

The story behind one customer’s ill-fated customer service experience is a cautionary tale for small businesses everywhere. When you decide to outsource marketing, or various business functions, every small business hopes for the very best. But, should you also be prepared for the very worst?


The Biggest PR Fail Ever

N-Control, a Miami-based video game controller manufacturer, hired Ocean Marketing to handles its Customer Service and Marketing. But they couldn’t possibly foresee the climatic PR nightmare soon to disparage their brand … or the culprit behind the debacle — Ocean Marketing’s owner Paul Christoforo.

The for-hire and “categorically dismissed” marketing company failed to do their job with any semblance of professionalism.

And I mean utterly failed.

“It’s hard to misinterpret a company’s representative telling a customer to “put on your big boy hat and wait it out,” before threatening to sell the customer’s item on Ebay. But that is exactly what happened when a customer named Dave emailed Ocean Marketing to ascertain the status of an order he had placed several months earlier,” according to digitaltrends.com.


A Cautionary Tale for Small Businesses

Since the incident, N-Control has been scrambling to deal with Christoforo’s rudeness and the resulting consumer backlash. Reviews for the company’s product plummeted, social media critics attacked N-Control and Christoforo at every turn, and N-Control experienced first hand that the old adage – “There’s no such thing as bad press,” may not necessarily be true.

While N-Control dismissed Christoforo’s company, the aggrandizement of online chatter that materialized over something as simple as a bad customer service experience was astounding.

This cautionary tale leaves much for your small businesses to consider as you make plans to outsource services and recruit reputable partners.


How to Manage a PR Debacle

While we aim to hire the very best, what happens when a once trusted business comrad goes rogue? How should you handle the fallout and preserve your company’s image?

If you ever find yourself dealing with a crisis of this magnitude, here are four ways to minimize the collateral damage:

1. Head for High Ground

“We do value our customers but sometimes we get children like you we just have to put you in the corner with your im stupid hat on.” – Christoforo 

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