It’s 1953, and in a small lab in San Diego, three people set up a business to develop solvents and degreasers for the aerospace industry. After 39 failed attempts to get their water-displacing formula right, they finally hit the jackpot. Water Displacement Formula, 40th try was born. WD-40®.
We often hear stories of success in the face of failure, of getting things wrong until we get them right. Probably the most famous being Edison [anecdotally] saying, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The lightbulb was an invention with 1,000 steps”.
But most of us aren’t at the forefront of development in our work: We don’t push the boundaries. So, we either do what people tell us to or do what we think we should, based on what others are doing. We cling to the things we think work for us, often slow to adapt or even notice the need to adapt in the first place. We rinse, we repeat. We try not to fail.
But things around us change. Constantly.
With marketing, a lot of those changes have been delivery platform-based. We can now all promote ourselves easily. And we should. But how?
Posting platitudes on your company’s LinkedIn page is easy; anyone can do it, and many do. But these messages (for the sake of it) get overlooked. Yet, it continues for some. Picking every religious holiday to post about or that you need to look after yourself this week because it’s “Self-Care Week” (13-19 Nov) is lazy and disingenuous – and your audience knows it. You know it.
And if you are one of those individuals that keeps liking and sharing content about the difference between a manager and a leader – especially if you’ve never managed or led – it tells me that you’d be a pain in the arse to employ because real-life’s not the same as a utopian quote.
When you send your message to the world, it very well may not land how you want it to. That’s because we’re all judge and jury regarding what pops up in our feeds. Our life experiences have developed our individual perspectives, and they may not be aligned with yours. Welcome to the democratisation of instant feedback.
Like many professions, sales and marketing are not easy. But, because the channels are accessible for all, trying new ideas, failing, and thinking outside of the box – rather than just sharing other people’s posts on your timeline about thinking outside of the box – are essential if you want to adapt. The audience will give you feedback one way or another. You can guarantee that. The key is to listen, take notes and develop your ideas.
That doesn’t mean chasing the emperor’s new clothes or taking advice from someone whose niece is big on TikTok. When you pare back all the bullshit, it simply means sharing YOUR passion for what YOU do (and what YOU know) in YOUR way, even if you fuck it up a few times before you get it right.