Two ways to fail in B2B content marketing

As the sophisticated infographic above demonstrates, there are two main ways

to fail in your B2B content marketing.

The first, and by far most common, is to fail by aiming low. By actually aiming for ‘acceptable’ or ‘credible’ or ‘that’ll do’. That’s the blue zone.

The second way, far more rare, is to fail by aiming high, taking risks… and flopping (the dreaded red zone).

Let’s face it: both hurt.

But the blue zone is so common it’s almost the rule.

The blue zone may not be horribly embarrassing, but boy is it boring.

  • We land in the blue zone whenever we jump on the first idea that comes to mind instead of holding out for something great.
  • We do it whenever we kill a great idea because we’re convinced someone else will – a boss or client or colleague.
  • We do it when we devolve our decisions to committees and dissolve our responsibility in group-think.
  • We do it when we take the easy option, knowing it won’t ask us to leave the warm bath that is our own personal comfort zone.
  • We do it when we let the fear of the red zone paralyze us – so we avoid spectacular, embarrassing public failure.

But maybe, as humiliating at it may be, it’s far better to fail with honor.

To stick your neck out while simultaneously waggling your private bits above the parapet.

To think ‘moon shot’ instead of ‘low orbit’.

Because here’s the thing: there’s an (admittedly microscopic) possibility that is not represented on the pie chart above:

You might actually succeed.

Your gut feel might be right.

And when you aim for the red zone – when you really go for it and it works – the success is far bigger, better and more lucrative (however you choose to define lucre) than the so-so success of the job satisfactorily completed, on time and under budget.

So I guess what I’m saying is, ‘Fuck it’.

Aim high.

Fail big.

Go for the red zone.


You had me at sophisticated infographic.

Hi Doug, that infographic thing you said is cool. Ok, let’s get to the point, I know you do it wonderfully for Velocity but how do you do it for clients? Do you have great insight about client’s world (& her client’s too) or what? What do you really leverage when doing great content for client work? Thanks & will be privileged to pick your brain 🙂

    Hi Sharjeel — Sorry I missed your comment for a while (WordPress notifications seem to have stopped for me).

    I think the exact same logic applies for clients — they just tend to be more conservative. We urge ours to aim for the red zone!

Yeah!!! I like it. “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing”
(Helen Keller quote)

    Love that.

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