Is fear-of-failure holding back digital progress?

Nobody likes to be seen to ‘fail’, especially in a work environment when maybe that next step or your perception among colleagues might suffer.

Could this be part of the reason why, despite pioneering capabilities in digital marketing, adoption and creative use of the most advanced marketing technologies is lagging at many companies? Are CMOs encouraging their marketing managers to be experimental, at least some of the time??


Recently we went to pitch at a major software security vendor, only to be told that our proposal was far too ambitious and they’d not tried that type of tactic before. They wanted “a simple campaign that’s quick to get out and will tick the boxes” (paraphrase).  About 2/3 of our proposal contained fairly traditional tactics, but we had added some more experimental digital elements too that we felt were worth trying. We didn’t win the pitch, I’m not sure we were the right agency  to help.

I may be wrong, but my sense is that marketing departments need to set aside some time and space to try things out, deliver ground-breaking experiences, change the way tomorrow’s campaigns need to run. There’s plenty of amazing technology out there, but not enough companies are really using it to push the boundaries either creatively, or by driving data and analytic insight.

Much of the agenda in digital is currently being driven by the messaging of major marketing tech vendors. I’d like to see more discussion among marketers about how to adopt, experiment, test and learn, live the dream.  I’ve tried groundbreaking ideas enabled by digital technology.  Some show promise, others don’t work.  At least I don’t make the same mistake twice and often there’s success to build on.

Ultimately it’s up to us marketers to take the tools available to us and use them to drive our messages and brands into the hands of the consumer or customer.   In order to be more successful, perhaps vendors should help more with adoption rather than selling licences – after all successful implementation is what matters.

If you feel your company is behind the curve, why not think about your upcoming campaign plans. Try doing 75% of what you know works but use 25% of the plan trying to prove digital concepts you haven’t tried before?

Thanks for reading our blog – I’d love your feedback below…

James has 20+ years experience in marketing & sales, initially at Vodafone and Microsoft, then more recently agency-side having founded Brightfly, an agency providing 'digital agility' for clients. Passionate about both marketing and tech, James is pushing the leading edge of digital journeys and customer experience.
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