Times When Your Marketing Bombed

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We all like the success stories, but how about some times when you didn't succeed? Was it for your own venture or a client's? Were you able to make adjustments and turn it around?

I know marketing is a matter of testing what works and what doesn't, tweaking things, then running with what works until it stops working.

I enjoy hearing about the entire process and that includes the failures.

One of my first efforts was when I was a teenager. I was trying to sell vacuuming services to offices. I didn't have a lawnmower, but I thought I could just go door to door doing the same pitch as friends who mowed lawns used. I must have went to 50 different stores and buildings. I didn't get a single client. Nobody seemed to take me seriously. I think the logistics and reasoning of letting a teenager into empty offices alone late at night also played a role. Trust may have been an issue as well. If a kid is cutting your grass in daylight outside, you or somebody else can at least keep an eye on him if you wanted.

Seeing people's reactions to what I was trying to do eventually wore me down and made me stop. It was a good lesson in rejection though and helped me get thicker skin, (very slowly, but surely).
#bombed #marketing #times
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    My very first sales job was selling fire alarms in people's homes. Four months of two appointments a day. No sales at all. I was indescribably terrible at it.

    My first two years of advertising (my retail store)also produced almost no results. After a few months of terrible results, I started studying direct response advertising.....read lots of books on copywriting, studied magazine advertising that repeated for more than a year (at the local library). It slowly turned around to where my ads were pulling 20-40 times their cost. This is before we advertised online.

    As a seasoned salesperson, I always made money...except once. I had a guy the factory (who made the vacuums I sold) hired show us all how it was done. All of us distributors were experienced business people. We should have known better.

    The entire country (including me) went from paying a commission, to a straight salary. And we started offering a room of carpet steam cleaned for free as the incentive for the prospect to let us come out. Bad incentive. Lots of wasted time, and bad appointments.

    My personal closing percentage went from about 80% to about 15%. And the 6 or 8 "sales" people I paid to "sell"...didn't make a single sale for 4 months. Every week, these guys were getting good pay, and no money was coming in, except my own personal sales.

    I started that year with a successful business, $100,000 in the bank, and an office. After 4 months, all the money was gone...wasted on non performing people and office staff.

    This is the only time as an adult...an experienced sales guy..that I really lost money. And it's the only time I partially blame it on someone else. I followed someone else's untested idea, and lost big. Again, I should have known better.

    After 4 months, I fired the "help", and just went out in the field and sold the way I always did. It took me a few months to get back the money I lost. But the lesson stuck.

    I was one of maybe 30 distributors that followed the same idea, and we all lost money. It almost killed the company as well. Live and learn.
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    • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
      Claude,

      For the fire alarms, looking back - do you think it was the product, the prospects, or you that hurt your results the most?
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

        Claude,

        For the fire alarms, looking back - do you think it was the product, the prospects, or you that hurt your results the most?
        It was 100% my incompetence. The fire alarms were well made, the presentation was a proven winner. And we had financing. I was just too terrible at it. And for some reason, the office kept giving me appointments.

        Now that I've said that...it wasn't a fun sale. You had to scare the parents a little. My personality wasn't suited at all for it.

        The prospects were qualified in that they were home owners, had a phone, and had a job. They had no idea what we were going to be showing them. But i had the same type of appointments selling vacuum cleaners, and did well.

        I was just too young, had no idea what I was doing, and wasn't really trying. I was 19 years old, I think.
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        • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
          When I was 19 I tried the meat/seafood door to door sales. I hooked one lady and my partner/"mentor" I was paired with, closed her. After 3 days I was done. No script was given, we were just told to knock on as many doors as possible. After a few days I had zero interest in trying. I wish I had stuck with it, looking back. But I just wasn't ready.
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          • Profile picture of the author GordonJ
            Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

            When I was 19 I tried the meat/seafood door to door sales. I hooked one lady and my partner/"mentor" I was paired with, closed her. After 3 days I was done. No script was given, we were just told to knock on as many doors as possible. After a few days I had zero interest in trying. I wish I had stuck with it, looking back. But I just wasn't ready.
            I made a ton of money doing this, but...I did not run around, the reason they make you knock on doors then run across town, is it is as shady a deal as it gets. So, thinks me, who likes shady, under the table, off the grid deals, where are the people with money who will buy this stuff, the guys who hate the supermarkets, hate shopping, but like to grill out, and have parties?

            And then, EUREKA...a friend told me. MOTORCYCLE CLUBS. And we have quite a few in the area, a couple with "clubhouses" where on any given week dozens of guys and their ladies would BBQ and Budweiser it up. Sold so many cases, the home office offered me a substantial bonus to reveal my secrets. I declined.

            Found a legit supplier for the same type of items, and did well for a couple of years with just reorders, no more door to door.

            I think many would be salespeople might be a bit intimidated approaching a "gang" of Bikers, but they have CASH and they EAT (and drink) a lot. It just seemed right.

            I do have several bombs, if I have time, I'll share those later too.

            GordonJ
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            • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
              Ha! Great thinking on that one!

              And I drove by a sidewalk of restaurant-fronts today, that all had a chalkboard outside...

              And yes, as painful as they may be, would love to hear failures too!
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  • Oh Gosh? The failures...

    Pull up a chair...

    Lemme set the tone.

    The year is 2002. I'm in a small rural community. The money spenders are "Old" money, like Methuselah old. Land owners, Grove owners, Cattle owners.

    Well, the local bank, which started back when the Pony Express was around, gets robbed.

    Feds come in. State comes in. City and County come in. All doin their investigating.

    Local paper splashes headline across their front page,"150-Year Old Bank Robbed!"

    The town is in an uproar and said bank starts getting one account after another closing.

    Well, me bein who I am, I get this hair brain idea to create a direct response flyer selling home Safes.

    Headline read, "Is Your Money Really Safe In A Bank?"

    Had a real nice picture of a Sentry Safe right underneath the headline. Below that was the pitch, the price, and my phone number.

    Mailed that flyer out. Within two-three days I'm getting calls from interested and worried people.

    I'm thinkin, Wham! I just hit the motherload.

    Ran that flyer campaign for about a month.

    Zero, Nada, not a single sale.

    Later I discovered that an employee at the local hardware store received one of my flyers. They turned it over to their employer.

    Turns out local hardware store ordered 10 pallets of, you guessed it, Sentry Safes that looked identical to the picture on my flyer.

    And yes, they sold everyone of those money chests.

    Moral of my story, there are others who will use your own marketing to profit from your efforts.

    Chinchilla
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by ThePromotionalGuy View Post


      Later I discovered that an employee at the local hardware store received one of my flyers. They turned it over to their employer.

      Turns out local hardware store ordered 10 pallets of, you guessed it, Sentry Safes that looked identical to the picture on my flyer.

      And yes, they sold everyone of those money chests.
      Smart move on the Hardware store owner's part. I used to do it in reverse. I'd see a large ad in the paper, selling something I could buy wholesale....The next day, I'd have a small ad in the paper selling the same thing for a little less. Many times, this was a loss leader, but I would usually sell something better (more expensive) to the customer anyway.

      Also, if there was an infomercial running locally, I'd buy a few of what they had (either wholesale or just buy from the dealer) and advertise them for a little less.

      I was such a stinker.
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      • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
        I really want to try this. Do you think it would work nowadays?

        There's lots of ways do be seen now, (Craigslist, etc) but that also means there's lots of competition.
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    • Profile picture of the author StevenTylerPjs
      Did the store undercut you like Claude was doing or did they just run an ad? I'm surprised you didn't snag at least a few sales since you were first.

      They must have really jumped on it!
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

        Did the store undercut you like Claude was doing or did they just run an ad? I'm surprised you didn't snag at least a few sales since you were first.

        They must have really jumped on it!
        I wasn't really taking sales away from them. I ran the ad after they did. The people that I was getting is the ones that they missed, but just barely.

        In the same way, I used to get the leads that salespeople (in my business, or in my office) tried to sell the day before, but missed. I'd call them, get a sale, and give the salesperson (the one that didn't sell) $50.

        One big factor is selling (in person or from an ad) is that far more people almost buy...than actually buy. Those "almost sales" can be harvested if you are quick enough.
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      • Hellor Steven,

        Nope. I was stupid, naive, and arrogant. I did not do my due diligence.

        So I paid the ultimate price. Failure.

        Plain and simple.

        Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

        Did the store undercut you like Claude was doing or did they just run an ad? I'm surprised you didn't snag at least a few sales since you were first.

        They must have really jumped on it!
        Chinchilla
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  • Profile picture of the author forexmouse
    It was back in 2011, I succeded making my forex and trading web blog a little cash cow.
    At that time, I studied at University and getting roughly 500 Euros monthly it was amazing.
    It lasted only for 2-3 months but I was exciting.

    I published a pdf about forex with my blog articles filled with top player affiliate link, the pdf became very popular among newbies but soon the forex company changed the affiliate domain link, so I lost my affiliate link on such guide.

    Then the revenue went down to 10-20 euros, I sold the website after a while becuase I've found a job as system administrator.
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    I was one of those guys who bought a mailing list of 10,000 "business opportunity seekers" for $500. That was a real bargain - until postage and packaging was applied. It took me nearly 10 years to get a return on that from the few MLMers I managed to recruit.
    Signature
    “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton
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  • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
    Administrator
    Not me, but we can look at Microsoft, Nokia, and Windows Phones.

    The modern version (Windows Phone 7) was introduced globally in 2010. The platform was unique, modern during its time, and its interface closely resembled Windows 8

    Fast forward to 2013, Microsoft bought Nokia's mobile phone division essentially making Microsoft a mobile phone manufacturer.

    Microsoft released three subsequent versions - the aforementioned WP7, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8.1, and finally Windows 10 Mobile. Then in 2017, it was announced that Microsoft would eventually be closed due to poor market penetration and lack of interest from app developers.

    Microsoft heavily marketed the platform, even making fun of Siri when the Redmon-based company released their own virtual assistant named Cortana.

    But it failed.


    Originally Posted by StevenTylerPjs View Post

    We all like the success stories, but how about some times when you didn't succeed? Was it for your own venture or a client's? Were you able to make adjustments and turn it around?

    I know marketing is a matter of testing what works and what doesn't, tweaking things, then running with what works until it stops working.

    I enjoy hearing about the entire process and that includes the failures.

    One of my first efforts was when I was a teenager. I was trying to sell vacuuming services to offices. I didn't have a lawnmower, but I thought I could just go door to door doing the same pitch as friends who mowed lawns used. I must have went to 50 different stores and buildings. I didn't get a single client. Nobody seemed to take me seriously. I think the logistics and reasoning of letting a teenager into empty offices alone late at night also played a role. Trust may have been an issue as well. If a kid is cutting your grass in daylight outside, you or somebody else can at least keep an eye on him if you wanted.

    Seeing people's reactions to what I was trying to do eventually wore me down and made me stop. It was a good lesson in rejection though and helped me get thicker skin, (very slowly, but surely).
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11549770].message }}
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