If you accept that marketing is all about statistics, then you can start thinking of it like a sport in a way. A batter who bats 333 is incredibly good — actually a great hitter. Yet, two out of three times, he strikes out!!!
Is he sitting there bumming out about his failures? Maybe yes, but it is a dumb emotion when he is doing better than almost every batter in history.
You will have the same thing going on. Most of your marketing attempts — especially at first — will end in failure. Indeed, the odds are that 99%, or even 100%, of your attempts will fail for quite a while.
This is inherently, and intensively, depressing. You get your hopes up, time and again, and your hopes get dashed. What a bummer.
Indeed, when I was starting out to try to do marketing, and it was failure after failure, day after day, and week after week, and even month after month, there were days I just wanted to give up and crawl into the fetal position and lie under my desk. Thankfully, my Marketing Director was tough as nails and she wouldn’t let me lay down to die.
Being honest with myself, and you with yourself, there is no way that my intellectual crap about statistics is going to cheer you up when you do everything right and just don’t get the client. It is depressing — there is no doubt about that. Indeed, if you failed in clinching a major deal, and you come home all miserable and your wife/husband says to you: “Well, honey, you know it is all a game of statistics like that annoying guy said in his column, so you know that this kind of thing is going to happen”, you will probably have a huge fight with your wife/husband that night.
So what do you do to protect against failure getting you down? I guess I don’t have a great magic bullet here, but maybe consider:
Think of Churchill, and “never ever ever give up…..”
Or Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest and “never give up – never surrender.”
Or think of Roosevelt and be “the man in the arena” who just got clubbed in the head, and is bleeding, but getting up anyway! And also be proud that you are not “one of those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” Here is a the full quote, which is one of my favorites.
Or do what I do, and drink some single malt scotch and watch an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that I have seen a dozen times before.
Then, once you have gotten past the sharpness of negative emotion, carefully analyze why you failed, without bullshitting yourself, and perhaps adjust your style and/or your message. Just like that great batter presumably does after he strikes out.
When this happens to me, and even today it still happens a fair amount, I beat myself up for my errors (with a pretty rough drubbing), and then I just keep moving along and I am immediately excited about the next prospect.
If you understand my message, then you will not think of this as a somewhat dreary article — and instead, you will start to embrace your failures — because without them you will not succeed. I will end with (another) favorite quote — this one from John Wooden — who says that “the team that makes the most mistakes usually wins, because doers make mistakes.” That is the team that is pushing the envelope and taking the necessary chances, some of which will fail but some of which will succeed.