Fail more

audience surveys 2017

Many things in life are failures: startups, product launches, crowdfunding campaigns, marriages and more.

Are we doing enough of them in marketing? And are they teaching us anything?

Failure can be an excellent teacher. We often forget that lesson, especially when we see apparent successes all around us on social media.

Digital marketing offers us excellent opportunities to fall flat on our face. But if we mitigate risk by aiming for middling campaigns, we can neither fail nor win. We settle into the status quo.

It’s a fast-pace industry, with changing media, tools, audiences, shopping habits, devices and metrics. What works today will more than likely not work down the road. We really can’t afford to take baby steps every day.

But we do so, because the fear of failure outweighs all other concerns. If we fail, we might be held accountable. If we fail, we might not recover. If we fail, we might need to analyze if the problem is deeper, whether within our organization or process.

Are we willing to risk routine failures that are big enough to point us in the right direction?

Remember that failure isn’t as public or as catastrophic as we might imagine. We must take risks in developing and executing our marketing strategy — only then can we stumble upon better methods and reap higher rewards.

It might look like a video series. Or a niche email newsletter. Or a microsite. Or a sassy Twitter feed (though that’s probably been done to death).

Do better, marketers. Fail more.

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About Wade Kwon

Wade Kwon is conference director for Y'all Connect. See his full bio.

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