Fail Fast – Marketing Tactic or Life Lesson?
In the world of online marketing, there is a saying, “fail fast.” Essentially it means you are to measure every part of a marketing effort, learn what is working and what is not, and optimize the effort to what converts for the goal. The faster you learn, the faster you stop the bleeding and increase the success. It is a great philosophy as it immediately reminds us that we will not launch perfect campaigns every time, and we will be forgiven because failure is expected. However, the pressure side of the saying is the “fast” part. Fortunately, in the digital marketing world, pretty much everything (other than dark social….pesky privacy!) is measurable. So, potentially, we can learn quickly to optimize quickly. The challenge is knowing what separates people who login to analytics tools versus people who know how to utilize them to the specific metrics for the company’s goal. Positive ROI is the obvious name of the game. But many goals, including email capture for buyers early in the process, have a longer sales cycle and lower conversion cost goal, and need to be monitored over a longer period than the campaign is even live and running. Not usually anything ‘fast” about getting the final metrics.
Now that we are wrapping up our first month of business at Leopard Digital, I am realizing that “fail fast” is just as much of a business mission and not just for the campaigns we run. There are many nuances of running a company, even if the company appears to be just a different umbrella covering the same work you’ve done for years. For instance, our original business model that is nothing original in the industry is already starting to make less sense and evolve to something unique. The markets that were the original targets are not as appealing as others we hadn’t considered in the beginning. Even the name has shocked me – would you be surprised to know how many people have trouble spelling Leopard? Lots! As the founder/owner, I have been hard on myself about these unexpected learnings. Though I’m not changing the name – I love it! – it is the only emotional decision I’m allowing myself. But, I have been in this field of online marketing from its beginning. How did I not conceive the needs just a mere few weeks ago that are already so obvious to me now?
This, I realize, is why “fail fast” is a worthy life value, too. Give yourself a break. It is inevitable that we will fail. We will say the wrong thing (or even worse, say nothing) and make bad decisions throughout our entire lives. But, if we use the philosophy to fail fast, we can quickly apologize or start over in the right direction. We can linger in the air of failure, guilt, and self-punishment as long as we’d like, but it is a total choice. Bring on the many quotes including, “It’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all,” “I’d rather have a life of “oh wells” than a life of “what ifs,” and my personal favorite, “we’re not so much afraid of our failure as we are of our success.”
So, I encourage you to do most everything that comes to mind. If it enters your mind then it already exists. Speak from your heart and be heard. Argue with kindness until your point is made. Set clear boundaries for even the people you love most. And then, fail very, very fast.
Thank you for your time,