Failing Up

Let’s face it, we all fail.  We all fall.  We all make mistakes in our personal and professional life that end up costing us.  Our culture has a scary emphasis on not failing, but our race was built to learn by failure.  None of us crawled or stood or walked on first attempt.  None of us could speak language fluently without years and years of careful practice and refinement.

When considering marketing, most businesses can’t afford expensive surveys on focus groups and demographics.  However, what we can afford is to listen, learn, try something and revise the process based on the results.

For instance, when I worked with Terra Technologies, the sales force decided what they needed were cartoons on giant posters – one cartoon per day – for a tradeshow attraction.  Now, I don’t think of engineers and other serious professionals being interested in what was my limited knowledge of chemistry lab humor and simple bright cartoon people.  However, we worked together to plot out a series and made posters as well as postcards that cycled each day.  They were a huge hit!

Likewise, we tried several marketing themes over the years.  Some really didn’t work well at all.  One mailer we got zero response to. Another we had people, unbidden, bringing our tradeshow announcement to our booth.  One tradeshow loved our map of the city give out, the other didn’t really care about it. Chicago loved our umbrellas.

What ever promotion you’re considering, don’t be afraid to try something because it might fail.  It might just surprise you!  If it doesn’t work then learn from it and try again.

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