These days it’s popular to think of Marketing as a science.  With all the analytics available, platforms and tools that promise success if you just follow the numbers, it’s easy to forget that ultimately, marketing involves one major variable — human beings.  And human beings are — well — unpredictable.

I thought it might be fun to collect reach out to our community and collect a few marketing stories where what should have been a major #MarketingFail, actually turned out great.

YIKES — No Business Cards! How a Handwritten Note Landed a Big Client


paige arnof-fenn, marketing ideas, marketing mistakes

It can be hard to laugh at mistakes but looking back I remember one week early on when I had 3 or 4 talks lined up over a couple of day period so I went from one evening event to a breakfast the next morning to a lunch and evening talk the following day.

I enjoy public speaking and get a lot of referrals and business that way.  The morning after my final speech I showed up at a meeting with a prospective client along with a few of my colleagues and I realized I was completely out of business cards.  I was so embarrassed and my team laughed at me since I always remind them it is important to be professional and prepared all the time.

I ended up sending a handwritten thank you note to the prospect with my card enclosed and we won the business so I turned my mistake into a good outcome plus I have never run out of business cards again!  — Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls

Sticks and Stones — How to Turn Negative Comments Into Social Engagement

james robinson, marketing ideas, marketing mistakes

I once saw a social media influencer use all negative comments and messages as a promotion. He would screenshot the comments or repost mean things people were saying.

The crazy part is, he started gaining more followers and his engagement went through the roof!

People couldn’t believe he was sharing this stuff. People were so shocked that they themselves started sharing his post. Users also started tagging their friends.

Now, this influencer is verified and does funny skits about himself. He makes a living making fun of himself. It’s unbelievable but it works for him.

The best takeaway for a business is to use the negative to your advantage, don’t just ignore it and hope that it goes away. (Think Jimmy Kimmel with the mean tweets.) — James Robinson, Marketing Advisor, Iconic Genius

How Mailed Out Magnets Attracted New Customers

becky meach, marketing mistakes, marketing ideas

My eCommerce business has been around for 2 years now and does $500k in sales.

What I did that could be seen as a mistake was investing money to mail out magnets and stickers to my customers. I just wanted to give them something with my company logo on it.

My friend thought I was stupid to spend so much money to the tune of $5k. It turned out to be successful because I got lots of repeat customers that came to my store and used the coupons I gave in the package.

Giving out physical goods to customers helped me grow my business, which sells digital products. — Becky Beach, eCommerce Owner and Business Blogger,

Hmmm – Clean Your List, Offend Some — But Sell an Additional $20K

taisa duskie, marketing ideas, marketing mistakes

After some media attention and great word of mouth, we had built an email list of about 20,000 people.

I read somewhere that you should “clean” your email lists by sending out a, “hey, are you still there?” short email. If people open and click the email then they stay on your list, and otherwise you delete them to improve your overall engagement rates.

We sent out a picture of casper, titled “hey, are you ghosting us bro?” which offended people by the dozens and seemed on the brink of causing a small anarchy. Instead?  The email caught the attention of a few people who had otherwise forgotten about us, and started conversations worth $20,000+ in work and deliverables.. — Tasia Duske, CEO of Museum Hack

Want to Increase Email Subscribers to 25%?  Replace Your Fancy Site With a Simple Single Page Site and Add Some Cartoons

michael alexis, marketing mistakes, marketing ideas

I’m a self-taught coder and marketer and when I first joined the startup world I was at high risk of a blunder.

The company I joined had just completed a successful crowdfunding campaign and invested in a fancy website. On day two I rebuilt the entire site from scratch, abandoning all aesthetics and SEO protocol. I replaced the site with a single column one-page site with large text and some cheap cartoon images.

The result? Our subscribe rate skyrocketed from 1% to 25% and we saw a massive jump in sales; enough to win Shopify and Richard Branson’s Build a Business Competition. — Michael Alexis, Director of Marketing at The Great Guac Off

Use HARO to Increase Domain Authority, Get Backlinks and Drive Traffic

shakun bansal, marketing mistakes, marketing ideas

We wanted so badly to increase our domain authority and ranking to bring more traffic to the website and drive business revenue. But we were struggling to get backlinks to our website 2 years back.

I was new into this role in marketing. Being a part of the founder’s team, I was employing a number of known tools and techniques to get success in increasing website traffic. I was going through some internet resources when I came across HARO. Nobody had heard about it in the marketing team and it was a bargain I was making. Also, people were unsure whether or not investing time and a human resource is a wise decision. I didn’t know what kind of implications it would have. But irrespective of whether it succeeded or failed, it wasn’t an investment-heavy proposition I was making.

My team and I just went with using HARO anyway. We looked for opportunities where we can answer questions (like this one).

We weren’t sure if it would work, But it turned out to be one of the most successful endeavors to date as we managed to get around 300 backlinks ranging from low to medium to high authority websites. It naturally increased our website traffic and accelerated the brand consciousness, nudging business revenue in turn.    — Shakun Bansal, Head of Marketing Mercer Mettl