Failures are not what they seem at first. Many times they can turn into something good.
As a marketer you are always trying to communicate effectively with your audience. And when you are successful, there’s great satisfaction. But in the marketing arena, you are not always successful. Sometimes you fall flat on your face. It’s a humbling experience.
A case in point is Kentucky Fried Chicken’s introduction of grilled chicken.
Pundits before it was even launched said it would never work because it was inconsistent with the name and the brand. And then the Oprah fiasco. Overwhelmed with online printable coupons, the company could not fulfill the demand. Tremendous costs in product giveaways and in PR with the public. So what do you do? Run and hide? The marketing staff at KFC probably wanted to.
But as Paul Harvey would say, “There’s the rest of the story.” KFC has experienced an increase in some store sales in the second quarter of the year of 3% compared to last year. And that is following a first quarter decline of 7%. It’s the first time in years KFC has outperformed the industry, which was at 1% in the second quarter. The grilled chicken now represents 24% of KFC’s total sales and 85% of purchasers have expressed the intent to repurchase.
It was a dismal week in the KFC marketing department, but all was not lost. Yes, the Oprah blunder was a big mistake. But a company that is on target with what the consumer wants can overcome missteps and mistakes.
In marketing, we all make mistakes. Not purposefully of course, but sometimes it just doesn’t work the way we had it planned. But don’t give up. Don’t shy away from the next big idea. Don’t get timid. Every time the marketing effort doesn’t get the results we wanted there are lessons to be learned. We learn what not to repeat. It helps create better marketing the next time by knowing what not to do.
And even when you miss, if you are focused on the customer, delivering what they want and sincerely and authentically communicating the message, it will not be a critical blow. Good things can still happen. Honesty, transparency and a real desire to meet the consumers’ needs will win in the end. When it seems you’ve made a marketing mistake, it’s no time to chicken out.