RECOVERING FROM A MARKETING FAILURE
Sometimes a blog just writes itself. I had a day last week that was a massive failure. And it felt horrible. Super, duper, outstandingly, over-the-top terrible with a dash of shame and despair. Or something worse, whatever word might describe that. As I was reeling from the setback, this blog descended upon me. At least something good came from it!
We’ve all experienced failure along the way in our businesses. Intellectually we are prepared for it. We’ve bolstered ourselves with the knowledge that all the greats have failed. We’ve seen the quotes about failures being the steps to success. We feel ready and nonchalant about it. Until it happens. Then we may become a sniveling, shaking heap huddled under the covers sure that we can never, ever show our face to the colleague, customer, or vendor that saw it happen to us. Or worse, we are a snappy, snarly, defensive version of ourselves in defense of our wounded ego.
Whatever version you tend towards, any of these scenarios coming up in our marketing can knock us into this less than attractive shell of our formerly fabulous selves:
- Average or below average returns: especially when we had expectations or hopes that this campaign or effort was going to score big.
- Technical glitches: during a call, presentation, or in communicating with clients. Nothing can make the steam come out faster than dealing with an issue that’s not in our control.
- Ineffective content: you labored over it for days, or worse, paid someone to do it for you. It seemed perfect but no one bought a thing. Not getting the response you hoped can quickly bring feelings that range from “no one likes me” to worrying about your financial ruin.
- Fears, doubts & bad days: nothing specific has gone wrong. Sometimes we just aren’t feeling the love and have a sneaky suspicion that our whole business may be destined for failure.
Just how do you move from failure to fabulous?
Step one: Move into massive self care while sitting with whatever feelings the failure brings. You already feel really, really bad. Don’t add to it by berating yourself with your words, thoughts or worries about what’s next. Get into action doing something lovely for yourself. Go for a walk, take a bath, eat a fabulous meal, get a pedicure, or take a nap. Do it as fast as you can even though no part of you thinks you deserve it. The bad feelings will still be there and the mind chatter is probably high, but your focus can also begin to accommodate the wonderful activity you are doing. This can create a tiny sliver of space in the mess.
Step two: Be willing to let it go even if u don’t see how it could possibly ever get better. You don’t have to actually let it go at this point, in fact it’s highly unlikely that you could. Mind chatter is still high, and you still feel icky. This is an act of faith. You just have to say or think something like “there’s no way this will ever get better but I am open to letting it go somehow.” Fake it till you make it really applies here. Lo and behold, the sliver of space will widen inside of you.
Step three: Ask universe for feedback about the good from this failure. You are probably still arguing in your head about what happened to cause all of this but ask anyway. You aren’t quite open to hearing the answer yet but asking will actually widen the sliver to a crack in your armor of upset.
Step four: Be open to some to some “Yes and … ” Yes, you failed. Yes, it’s terrible, embarrassing or whatever. Yes, it’s part of learning. And there may be something else here for you in this failure. You may start to hear or understand a more subtle learning about this situation. Maybe you realize this was an activity you didn’t really want to be doing in the first place. Or that you were working with the wrong vendor. Or that your messaging needs an upgrade. Or all three.
Yes, we all will experience failures of one sort or another in our businesses. But it’s what we do with them that matters. Have any amazing failures that sparked learning for you? Or that you haven’t learned from yet? Please share as I’d love to hear your experience.
Linda believes that small business owners can step into a better version of their business when they embrace authenticity and become more fully themselves. Her 25-year marketing career has included Kimpton Hotels, Jamba Juice, and Disney helping her clients win awards and placements in publications like The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine, as well as on the front cover of WIRED magazine. You can visit her website here: lindabasso.com or join her FB conversation.