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Terminus Blog

September 30, 2021

Marketing Mistakes: How to Pivot & Succeed

Category: FlipMyFunnel Post

We all make mistakes and marketing is no exception; but, learning from those mistakes, adjusting for the future, and implementing future strategies is the difference between failure and success. 

In this special Q&A, we speak with various members of the PEAK community about marketing mistakes, Q1 wins, and strategies to improve upon moving forward.

We discuss:

  • Biggest mistakes made as marketers
  • The COVID-19 pandemic impact & other key changes on Q1
  • Discussing strategies for moving forward

Biggest mistakes made as marketers

It’s easy to feel like the only person making mistakes when you don’t have any examples to show you otherwise. Despite the feeling, we all make mistakes — even as marketers. By sharing our mistakes, it can serve as a reminder that we’re all human, but also as a way to improve and avoid those mistakes moving forward. 

”I want people to recognize that marketing is all about making mistakes and learning from it and doing it.”  — Sangram Vajre

James Gilbert’s biggest mistake

Early on in his career, he was learning how to handle data management and orchestration. One day, he accidentally wiped out all the opportunities and financial data in their CRM. Despite everyone knowing about the mistake, James kept his job and was able to rectify the issue.

“It was a nightmare. It took me four weeks to fix it, but we’ve actually fixed it,” James comments. 

Allison Munro’s biggest mistake

In the early 2000’s, Allison had incorrect emails go out to her 5,000 organic subscribers due to an error with automation. She then had to go through each of the subscribers and apologize for the oversight — the mistake rocked the perception of the brand for each of the subscribers. 

“The biggest takeaway that still sticks with me is it taught me how to be human,” Allison explains.

Darryl Praill’s biggest mistake

The work-life balance for Darryl was difficult at first. He initially invested deeply in the role — traveling constantly and never seeing his family. When the company approached him with an all-expenses paid trip to Jamaica for him and his wife, he knew something needed to change. 

“I have boundaries. I still work stupid hours, but I have boundaries. And I’m not afraid to turn off,” Darryl says regarding how he maintains balance these days.

The COVID-19 pandemic impact & other key changes on Q1

The digital transformation acceleration brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how marketers interact with their customers. People are online now more than ever — for work, entertainment, and socialization. It’s the job of the marketers to double down and make the buyer’s journey as enjoyable as possible from start to finish; it’s the only way to keep customers coming back. 

Knowing the customers

Take an honest look at your top 10 customer list and ask yourself how strong your relationship is with them. Do you have their number stored in your phone? You have to differentiate yourself if you’re going to stay relevant in the minds of your customers. Building true relationships can change the game.

”All it required is for somebody to be courageous enough to say, ‘I’m going to take the time to spend the time with the people who are actually coming in and actually build relationships with them.’” — Sangram Vajre

Q1 changes

As companies pivot to acknowledge the changes taking place in a post-COVID-19 world, the question arises: What’s the best way to know what the buyer wants? The best way — go directly to the buyer and ask. This approach has been the most helpful in predicting where to place focus in the future. 

”What’s different in the short term? What’s different and long term? What are things that are now non-negotiables that maybe weren’t before?”  — Michael McCunney

Discussing strategies for moving forward

So, what can be done to do better in the future? Guidelines.

Carving out time to work hard, relax, spend time with family and friends, and scripted plans for the future is a great way to avoid burnout.

In a digital-centric world, forgetting to foster relationships with your customers can result in failure. If you don’t have a guideline in place, it’ll be near impossible to put your best foot forward when it comes to your customers. 

”No matter how hard you work, and how smart you work, you can’t move up the ladder any faster than the ladder lets you. And sometimes you’ve got to create opportunities for yourself.” — James Gilbert

There are always going to be some mistakes, but talking about them and crafting some working guidelines will help you prevent many before they happen — and make it easier to repair when they do.

This post is based on an episode of the #FlipMyFunnel podcast. Check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Flip My Funnel in your favorite podcast player.

Written by Sangram Vajre

Sangram Vajre is the co-founder and chief evangelist of Terminus, the leader of the account-based marketing (ABM) movement transforming B2B marketing. Before co-founding Terminus, Sangram led the marketing team at Pardot through its acquisition by ExactTarget and then to Salesforce. Sangram is the author of Account-Based Marketing for Dummies and is the mastermind behind #FlipMyFunnel. Follow Sangram on Twitter at @sangramvajre.

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