Is a Failure Always a Failure?

By | Category: Lead Story, Marketing, Mindset

Yesterday I talked about failing enough. Today I will explore what to do when you have a failure.

So you have gone out on a limb and tried something new, and the project didn’t turn out the way you expected it to. What do you do now?

Evaluate why it didn’t work. If it was a new product, what didn’t your clients like about it? Did you test it before hand? Did you test the price?

Could this work in another way that you haven’t thought of yet? For example, 3M’s most well known product, Post-It notes, came about as a result of a failure. The company was looking for a way to improve the adhesives that they use in their tapes and developed this adhesive that didn’t work. Another company employee was frustrated by his scrap paper bookmarks in his hymnal, so his first application of the product was as a bookmark for his hymnal. Spencer Silver, inventor of the Post-It adhesive said “If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” This may seem like a million dollar idea from heaven but you can use this same technique in your company.

Brainstorm on other uses for the project. Can it be packaged with something else as a bonus or used for something else completely?

In the book, How to Think Like Einstein, Scott Thorpe gives tons of ways to think creatively. For example, can you make it smaller like Chips Ahoy 100 calorie snack packs? Or think about it from another point of view, like how would a 12 year old solve this problem?

Successful marketers know that every marketing campaign is simply a test to see if the new campaign will beat the control. If it doesn’t they simply know another way it doesn’t work.

If everything you do is successful then you may think that you don’t have anything to learn from this article. Maybe you are failing to set goals that are big enough for you. As the great Teddy Roosevelt put it so eloquently, “Far better it is to dare mighty things to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

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