Failure shouldn't be a four-letter word for your business

By Jeffery Hoyle

Emphasis Marketing & Communications

No one likes the word failure. Yet, unfortunately, it can be a part of business. A lot of people choose to give up when they fail, which is the worst possible thing you can do, especially if you’re particular failure relates to the marketing of your business.

Just because your message didn’t resonate as well as you’d hoped, it doesn’t mean you should give up. On the contrary, that’s the perfect time to regroup and try a different approach. Here’s an example of what I mean.

I recently worked with a client who spent a great deal of time and effort on email marketing. This strategy had worked so-so in the past, but it was felt that putting a professional spin on it might make it sing a bit more to their target market. However, from our first meeting, I knew that we were going to have some difficulties.

First, we were working with a list that this client had purchased, not one developed organically (more on that later). Second, we couldn’t agree on the concept of the e-marketing campaign. To say the client was stuck in a rut would be an understatement. Lastly, the assumption was that because I do this type of thing for a living, the end result would net them a greater return than their efforts in the past.

Now, just as a point of clarification, I am a public relations and marketing professional, not a miracle worker. I can only do so much to enhance the image of a business. The key is for the client to be open minded about the approach to whatever type of campaign they are attempting to launch. Paying a professional for their input should be the first clue that you want a different result than you may have had in the past. For this particular client, this was not their view at all.

Fast forward to three weeks after the launch of this “re-vamped” campaign. An early morning phone call brings the words that I had been expecting. My efforts on their behalf had been a colossal failure; at least in their eyes. After more than a decade in this business, I understand how to not sweat the small stuff, and this was indeed small stuff, in my opinion.

I explained that even though they had hired me, the professional, to take on the task of sprucing up their e-marketing efforts, they had, in essence, tied my hands behind my back by not allowing me to make changes to what they had been doing previously.
I finally had their attention and was able to offer some sound suggestions and ideas on how to better showcase their business, and all parties were finally happy with the end result.

Fast forward another three weeks, and to another ring from the same client about their re-re-vamped campaign, but with a very different outcome to the conversation. "Thank you, thank you, thank you" was all I heard from the other end of the phone. Eureka! Success at last.

Marketing is not a precise science in the traditional sense. Sure, understanding of cross sections of specific demographic or target market, the ROI on the clients investment, or being able to create an estimate for a project require some scientific acumen, but science is not the key component.

What is important is the understanding of how to present — and what to present — to your consumer. Professionals in my industry are all different; some are better than others. And as a business owner, you, too, may be able to achieve the same goals that a PR professional could gain for you. But the bottom line is simple: If you fail, don’t cave in and resort to repetition. Reinvention is a huge part of keeping your consumer interested. And in the end, isn't that what we're all trying to do?