In recent years, failure has become glamorized.
You’ve seen article after article telling you to embrace failure, to fail forward, to fail quickly. The successful business owners you admire all have harrowing tales of epic screw-ups.
But there’s an important distinction to be made: the failure itself isn’t the important part. In fact, failure by itself is never a good thing. It’s what happens after the failure that matters most.
Failure presents a unique opportunity that’s often absent from success: it’s much easier to determine why something failed than to determine why something succeeded.
If you want to see someone act clueless, ask them what they’ve learned from their successes.
For example, look at Slack, the increasingly popular team communication Platform. In the span of 12 months, Slack went from not existing to being valued at over $1 billion. When the CEO of the company, Stewart Butterfield, was recently asked at a conference how they had become popular so quickly, his response was brutally honest:
“I have no ******* idea,” he said.
Failure doesn’t guarantee enlightenment. But it does provide the opportunity.
It was with that in mind that I recently spoke to some friends at companies I admire and asked them:
“What marketing failures have you experienced that you could teach us to avoid?”
Below, you’ll hear the stories of their most epic failures in their own words, and — most importantly — exactly what you can learn from each of these stories.
Jason VandeBoom, Founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign
“My largest marketing failure happened a couple of times and was caused by our desire and habit of moving very quickly.
“We are moving at a fast rate and there have been times we have missed out on fully benefiting from some of the work we have done. We would release a major feature that would help all of our existing users (and bring in more users) but once the feature passed dev/QA it didn’t get the attention it deserved for marketing it to our existing users as well as potential new users. So much time was spent on the UX, development, and testing while the marketing of the update wasn’t given as much time.
“We now give post-release marketing & education the same attention (and resources) that we give UX, development, and QA. This has resulted in higher conversion rates of new users, lower churn, and consistently improving our average revenue per user.”
Key Takeaway: If you create an outstanding product, you need to remember to show people how outstanding it is.
At LeadPages™, we call this the “minimum marketable event.” It helps you recognize opportunities to talk about your product that you may otherwise miss. For example, every time we release a new free landing page template for LeadPages customers, we create a video about it on our blog. We do the same for major feature updates.
The ongoing evolution of your product provides tons of marketing opportunities — be sure you’re on the lookout for them.