In that order.
It's a useful little rule of thumb, or however you'd like to think about it, when it comes to creating content or ads or other marketing communications.
But by no means does it make the whole marketing puzzle resolve into clarity.
Every time I sit down to create a new marketing campaign from scratch. Or worse, trying to get a startup to work, I'm reminded of how goddamn fucking hard it is.
Anyone who is usually offended by the word fuck, and who has also been through this process, probably wasn't offended by its usage in this particular instance. Cuz it's fucking hard.
Because there are a million pieces that need to work. Everything needs to fit in all the right slots and work in perfect harmony. You build a machine, plug in electricity, and hopefully it sings. But most likely it starts making weird, guttural noises and sputterings and maybe the whole thing explodes.
I read an article yesterday about how doing a startup is a lot like jumping off a cliff and trying to build an airplane on the way down. That's strikingly accurate. Both in how it actually works, and how terrifying it is.
I'm just in the process of trying to make something work right now. Something very simple that shouldn't be so hard. Something isn't working, and no one knows what or why. And it could be any of a million different variables.
There are some people, like Glenn Livingston, who has gone into something like 20 different, unrelated markets, one after the other, and been profitable in all of them from day 1.
But that guy is insane. His research system is brilliant. Those guys are few and far between. 99% of marketers... even the ones considered to be the best in the world... they will fail more than they succeed. Me included.
Maybe 1% of everything I've tried has worked. It makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth.
Which is weird, because I can't think of anything I like to do more than marketing. So that's what I'm stuck with. Whatever, that's not the point.
Most people are afraid to do anything because they're afraid of both failing and succeeding. To such an intense, high degree that they don't even realize it themselves. It's like this vague black hole inside them that sucks the verve out of them as soon as they sit down to do anything. And instead hop on over to facebook or youtube or whatever, and waste a couple hours until it's late enough in the day for them to justify it being the end of their workday. They'll do it tomorrow.
When you change your perspective on what failure actually is, these things go away. At least to some degree. The more you execute, the more positive feedback you get, making it easier to do next time.
You need to start basing how you feel about your work in doing the work, not the results of your work. In other words, if you want to create a successful marketing campaign, you need to be overjoyed that you sat down to do the work. And not miserable when it doesn't work. The fact that you did anything is forward progress.
Consider this expression: "Experiments never fail."
That's the mindset you need to have. Pretty sure I read that in a book that I really liked but can't remember the name of.
I'm not sure how remarkable one would consider this blog post. It just seems like another day at the office to me. I just sit down and write what is on my mind. But compared to a lot of blogs written by low paid "writers" following templates, it's pretty remarkable. To people used to reading those blogs, this would probably be worth making a remark about.
I hope my attempts at being unfiltered, not trying to make my writing clean (and so on) is entertaining and informative both. Like, damn, this is 2013. Grow up. People don't want tidy and professional and everyone loves Hank Moody. If you're that kind of person and always has been that kind of person, keep being that kind of person. Just be authentic. Don't smile if you don't mean it. People who try to impress or be artificially polite just make me vomit a little in my brain.
Be real. Authenticity beats political correctness any day.
Finally, if you're in that place where you feel like the walls are closing in and you don't know how the hell you're going to make it out of this mess... stay frosty. And keep executing. Do your work, and trust in the process. You'll make it out the other end. And breathe more deeply. Even if everything you do fails and it seems like you'll keep failing forever, eventually you will run out of ways to fail and you'll have no choice but to be successful whether you like it or not.
Ok. I feel better. When you write honestly you always feel better after. Try it, even if it's only to yourself in a secret journal.
Have a good weekend. :)