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BizReport : Social Marketing : September 17, 2010

Marketing failure par for the course

Digital marketing, and social media in particular, is still in an experimentation phase and marketers shouldn't be afraid of failure. Industry experts are trying to coax marketers to embrace digital and be prepared to make mistakes.

by Helen Leggatt

Earlier this year the subject of social media failure was the topic of a post on Sysomos' blog. They wisely advised that marketers should expect failure, embrace it, and learn from it.

"Failure offers insight into activities that were not effective and didn't resonate with users," wrote Mark Evans, director of Communications at Sysomos.

"By putting the spotlight on failure, companies can get a better handle on the best ways to approach social media while avoiding strategic and tactical pitfalls."

More recently, the VP of marketing (Europe) at Anheuser-Busch InBev voiced a similar opinion saying marketers "need to be willing to make mistakes, and make them faster", if they are to keep up with the fast-moving digital scene.

However, in these times of tight budgets and increased accountability, the pressure is on for marketers to make every marketing dollar "work". Failure is often seen as wasted dollars instead of being used as an opportunity to learn valuable lessons.

Some businesses dip their toes in to digital channels, such as social media, only to find they can't immediately make it "work". The plethora of stagnant Facebook pages is testament to this lack of learning.

Tags: brand marketing, digital media, Internet, marketing budget, online marketing, social media

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  • It's very true that failure is a huge part of the social media landscape these days. There is no such thing as a guaranteed success these days and we're all learning.

    It's also true though that with everyone being a social media "expert" these days that failed campaigns are more scrutinized by outsiders of the campaign, but people can't let that get to them. The person who criticized them probably knows just as much as the person that failed.

    We're all learning and teaching each other at the same time in social media and that's one of the things I really love about the space.


    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos



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