Failure is something that not very many people like to come to terms with. It makes us feel as if we fell short, let people down and generally did not live up to the high standards we place on ourselves. However, being an eternal optimist, I always look for the silver lining in any situation—to take what is seen as being a negative and turn it into a learning opportunity. So, when our Marketer of the Year (MOTYs) program was met with a series of unfortunate missteps, roadblocks and obstacles, we fought back—hard—but in the end we still had to make the tough call to postpone the MOTYs. And now, even though it hurts, we have a great learning opportunity for the future that will ultimately make the Cleveland AMA a stronger chapter. This year, in honor of our 80th anniversary, our chapter set out to implement the brand new Marketer of the Year program. The program was meant as a way for Cleveland to honor the best marketers in Northeast Ohio. However, we quickly realized that this was going to be a lot tougher than we planned. So, here are our takeaways from this real-world learning opportunity:
Plenty of Time: We attempted to pull off an event that typically takes a year to implement in less than five months. Lesson learned: Give yourself plenty of time to plan and execute.
Clear Message: From early on our message about the program was not as clear and straight-forward as it should have been. We wanted it to be too many things to too many people. Lesson learned: Make sure your message and brand promise are completely in line and easy to understand.
Simplified Process: To us on the inside, the application and application process seemed simple and painless, but in reality it was more complicated than we thought. Lesson learned: Get outside input and remove as many barriers to entry as possible.
Know When to Fold-Em: We were close to this event; it meant a lot to us and continues to be something near and dear to our hearts. It clouded our judgment about making the tough call earlier. Lesson learned: Sometimes you have to take a step back and throw in the towel...at least for a little while.
So, stay tuned as we retool, revamp and rock out our new knowledge to pull off the best Marketer of the Year program possible in 2015. Lesson learned: Learn from your mistakes but never give up on yourself.