What Do I Know About Failure? - Jules Epstein, Primary Design


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Jules Epstein, President and CEO of Primary Design presents to the AIM Conference 2010 in Huntington Beach, CA.

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What Do I Know About Failure? - Jules Epstein, Primary Design

  1. 1. AIM 2010 <ul><li>What Do I Know About Failure? </li></ul><ul><li>Jules D. Epstein </li></ul><ul><li>President and CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Primary Design, Inc. </li></ul>
  2. 2. <ul><li>56 year old Jewish guy from Philadelphia who ignored family’s advice to become a doctor or a lawyer. Instead, insisted on a life in real estate marketing. </li></ul><ul><li>Bought my first 200 year old house at 26 and restored it singlehandedly over 10 years. Made my first $100,000. During the same period, my good friend, Steve, bought and flipped 5 homes without touching them. He made his first $Million. </li></ul>My Credentials
  3. 3. <ul><li>Owned a 50% stake in a vacation home that I sold to my real estate partner for $375K to save my business in the recession of 1989. He held onto it and recently sold it for $3.25M. </li></ul><ul><li>Advised several friends to sell their Apple stock when it “topped out” at $80. I haven’t heard the end of this one. </li></ul>My Credentials
  4. 4. <ul><li>A relative term </li></ul><ul><li>Without an occasional failure we would not know success </li></ul>What is Failure?
  5. 5. <ul><li>With the exception of consultants who are always right, absolutely </li></ul><ul><li>As marketers we cannot help but fail on occasion because we “test” new ideas </li></ul><ul><li>And again, failure is relative. It’s inevitable when you have a great run of successes </li></ul>Is it OK to Fail?
  6. 6. <ul><li>Failures fall into one of two buckets: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bad Ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bad Execution </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Marketing Failures
  7. 7. <ul><li>A Bad or Uninspired Idea with a great execution can be a resounding success. </li></ul><ul><li>Take for example… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lady Gaga </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subprime Loans </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Marketing Failures
  8. 8. <ul><li>Or on the other hand, a great idea executed poorly can be a total failure. </li></ul><ul><li>Take for example… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A Well-Done Filet Mignon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Insurance (any) </li></ul></ul>Analyzing Marketing Failures
  9. 9. <ul><li>New Coke </li></ul>Bad Idea or Bad Execution?
  10. 10. <ul><li>DeLorean </li></ul>Bad Idea or Bad Execution?
  11. 11. <ul><li>Tropicana Packaging </li></ul>Bad Idea or Bad Execution?
  12. 12. <ul><li>Windows Vista </li></ul>Bad Idea or Bad Execution?
  13. 13. <ul><li>The Sawmer </li></ul>Bad Idea or Bad Execution?
  14. 14. <ul><li>Refrigerator Pet Door </li></ul>Bad Idea or Bad Execution?
  15. 15. <ul><li>Coffee and Doughnut in One </li></ul>Bad Idea or Bad Execution?
  16. 16. <ul><li>We don’t </li></ul>How Do We Avoid Failure?
  17. 17. <ul><li>Stick to what you know </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Utilize media sources and ideas that have a proven track record </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not force ideas. Usually if it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  18. 18. <ul><li>Avoid being the guinea pig </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Never stick your neck out too far. And if you do, only do so if you are willing to lose all </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maybe it’s better to be Burger King and let McDonalds spend the marketing dollars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be cautious buying untested media. Let someone else be the guinea pig. You can always go in the next edition </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  19. 19. <ul><li>Do your homework, ask questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Has your competitor already tried this approach and failed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this executable and financially viable? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why hasn’t anyone done this before? </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  20. 20. <ul><li>Track your results </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use unique call-in numbers and URLS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use all analytic tools at your disposal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk to your customers </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  21. 21. <ul><li>Nip it in the bud </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Keep on top of your results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Swallow your pride </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you are not getting the results you expected, cut your losses. Remember the Apple Newton? </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  22. 22. <ul><li>If you get stuck with a bad or old idea, find a way to make it work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Most ideas are mediocre at best anyhow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think out of the box and take a fresh approach </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  23. 23. <ul><li>If you have a good idea, don’t screw up the execution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be sure it’s properly funded </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Be confident that its launch is timed properly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure it is appropriately positioned to your market </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  24. 24. <ul><li>Cover your bases </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It takes a “cocktail” of “drivers” to get your market where you want it to be… at your door </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resist putting all your eggs in a single media basket. These days, the media or website du jour is likely to be the failed media or website of tomorrow </li></ul></ul>Minimizing Failure
  25. 25. In Summary Never forget the immortal words of NASA’s Apollo 13 Flight Director, Gene Kranz (or was it Ron Howard?) when he declared…
  27. 27. <ul><li>Thank you and may all </li></ul><ul><li>your failures be small! </li></ul>