Investing in anything means understanding the possibility of failure exists alongside your investment. If you buy a stock, you know that it may not only go up. There’s the possibility that the stock could go bottoms up and you lose all the money you put into it. If you’ve ever started a company, you know the risks involved. You likely had to pony up some of your savings to get started and hustle your ass off to get those first clients.
And even then, there’s no guarantee that your success will continue. But any time you want to succeed at anything, you have to accept that you could fail as well. That’s what makes great things worth doing.
So, why don’t people treat marketing in the same way?
The prevalent attitude about marketing seems to be that if something isn’t successful right away, then it has to be shut down immediately.
No room for error. No room for flexibility.
Most people approach marketing with a complete fear of failure.
They run an ad campaign for a week and then never spend money on ads again because they spent $500 and got 5 clicks. They publish a blog for a couple months and see website visits go up by 20 visitors, so they decide it’s not worth doing.
They record a video that no one likes on Twitter. The takeaway? I guess videos don’t work.
If you’re going to get good at marketing, you have to get comfortable with the fact that some, maybe even most, of your “good ideas” could fail.
But unless you can operate with patience and get comfortable with looking at your own work with a critical eye, you never even give yourself a chance to be successful.
This is an idea totally ripping off Wayne Gretzsky’s “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” quote, but in this case, you have to be ok with taking 100 shots—and only making one of them.
The one you do make might just be the game winner. It might transform your business. Or it could just be the small win you needed to keep going.
And then you realize the other 99 shots you missed weren’t failures. Each one of them changed how you approached the next shot.
Maybe one ad campaign that got lots of clicks but not a lot of leads helped you write a better landing page on your next try. Maybe the first handful of blogs you wrote got no clicks because you realized your headlines were boring. So now you’ve put in the time and work to write emotionally charged headlines that entice people (without being a clickbait weirdo).
Maybe you weren’t looking into the camera the first time you did a video. But you kept at it. And now you’re 100 videos deep and you’ve built a confident presence in front of the camera.
There are a lot of best practices to follow for marketing, but there are no sure bets. And that’s an uncomfortable thing to accept. Because marketing is not a private action. It’s a public endeavor.
So What Do You Need To Do?
- Develop patience to give your marketing experiments enough time to give you actionable data that will inform your next idea.
- Remember that the only good ideas are ideas that work. Spend less time on strategy and more time taking action.
- Learn adaptability. You have to be flexible, but you’ll only know the right time to make a pivot after you’ve had enough experience to see it.
Get comfortable with the idea that success is born from failure.