What Can Marketers Learn when Brilliant Ideas Go Bad? [Video]

April 18, 2016

Note: This post is the sixth installment in our Trading Eights series. In the previous Trading Eights post, we asked our ace marketing ensemble: How do you find a balance between creativity and corporate identity?

Fifteen years ago, an invention hit the market that promised to change the world. Its pre-release buzz was enormous. It even had a codename: Project Ginger. Tech visionaries who saw the prototype said cities would be redesigned around it, that it would usher in a new era in human transportation.

After months of hype, Project Ginger was revealed to be…the Segway scooter. It was designed by brilliant inventors. It was a technological marvel. But even though it eventually found a niche market, the Segway definitely failed to inspire any city redesign, or supplant walking as the default mode for human transportation.

Even the brightest creative minds can produce ideas that completely fail to connect with an audience. Some never get off the drawing board; some make it through the design process but fizzle instead of soar.

It never feels good to see a creative idea fail. But if you learn from the experience, failure is never a total loss.

Each of the marketers in our Trading Eights ensemble has a truly impressive collection of wins to their name. So, naturally, we wanted to know how they had failed in the past, and see what they learned from the big ideas that never saw the light of day.

Check out the video below for responses from seven creative marketing masterminds:

If there’s one common thread to these failed notions (except Ann’s no-flip badge, which is perfect), it’s that they’re great ideas in search of an audience. For marketers, it makes more sense to follow Joe’s model (which he learned through failure): Start with building an audience, then listen to see what they need, then create your brilliant product.

Every marketer can be brilliant. But no one can be brilliant in a vacuum. Make sure your creative ideas start with empathy for your audience.

In the next few weeks, we’ll feature more Trading Eights videos from our ace marketing ensemble. Can't wait? Check out the entire Trading Eights series now for more industry leader insights.