I’ve talked about this before, but feel like it’s time to bring it up again.
Of all the hashtags social media users have embraced over the years, in marketing circles the classic #fail quickly took root and has refused to budge. We rant, we rave, we complain, we call out someone for virtually no reason.
In the few seconds since I began writing this piece, dozens of new posts crying #fail have been shared across the web.
That Was Me
Once upon a time, I was one of those people. In the early days of SlopeFillers, I wasn’t shy about calling people out, boldly declaring that the marketing they were doing was missing something that I in my infinite wisdom could see with the utmost clarity.
Small brands, big brands, you name it.
For the first time in a long time I was about to click on a Facebook ad, that is until it refreshed the sidebar with new ads. #fail
— Gregg Blanchard (@slopefillers) July 16, 2012
I didn’t do it often, but I did it enough that people noticed. In my first conversation with Corey Ryan upon agreeing to join Ryan Solutions, he mentioned one such case with Jackson Hole I had published earlier that year.
One that, just days before, I had realized I had gotten 100% wrong.
But slowly I began to realize two simple things.
Yeah, it got me some clicks and some likes and an echo-chamber of people joining in, but that’s not how I wanted to measure success.
But Most of All
Most off all, however, that wasn’t me.
Take basketball for example. When my opponent looks winded, I’m not belittling him, I’m giving him props for hustling down the floor while I cherry-picked on that last possession. In my high jumping days when I was lucky enough to win a meet, I was always the first to give the runner up a high five or handshake.
So why, in the marketing world, was I kicking people when they were down?
One day, and it really did happen that quickly, I decided to change. I decided never to use the #fail hashtag again. That tweet above? That was actually the last time I used it to call something/someone out on Twitter, more than seven and a half years ago.
I still asked hard questions, I still tried to move us forward, I still tried to dig into ways our industry could improve, but I did my best to not run over anyone’s hard work as I did.
Along the way, I went from no longer using #fail to advocating for the opposite.
— Gregg Blanchard (@slopefillers) August 4, 2016
Today, I want to thank the people who have understood, accepted, and followed along. The people who have stopped shouting “#fail” and started to give each other pats on the back.
People like Chris Lamothe giving Tremblant a high five as I mentioned last week:
— Chris Lamothe (@banffchris) September 4, 2019
Or Brad Larsen giving Christian Knapp some kudos:
— Brad Larsen (@bradlarsen00) October 19, 2018
Or, maybe the best example of all, Loveland and A-Basin in their quest to be the first to open:
— Loveland Ski Area (@LovelandSkiArea) October 16, 2018
— Arapahoe Basin (@Arapahoe_Basin) October 16, 2018
It’s not easy to bite your tongue when you see something that’s a bit of a head-scratcher, but heaven knows we’ve got enough things to worry about these days, belittling someone’s best efforts at marketing shouldn’t be one of them.
So, thanks. Thanks for giving high-fives instead of backhanded remarks. And thanks for joining me in the post-#fail era of marketing conversation.
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