Two ways to fail in B2B content marketing

An avatar of the author

Doug Kessler

23. 01. 2016 | 2 min read

Two ways to fail in B2B content marketing

2 mins left

Get the newsletter

Raw, unfiltered, too-hot-for-Wordpress B2B marketing insights, straight to your inbox, every month.

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.


Published in:

  • B2B Content Marketing

  • content-marketing

Enjoyed this article?
Take part in the discussion

Opt into our crap

We will send the latest stuff written just for B2B content marketers exactly like you. Sound good?

illustration of a an envolope

Related blog/content

How to break free from the benchmark trap

If you’re turning to industry benchmarks to set your performance goals – make sure you’re asking these two questions.

Agustin Rejon | 06. 09. 2023


  1. Jacqueline Burns

    Market Expertise Pty Ltd

    January 24th, 2016

    You had me at sophisticated infographic.

  2. Sharjeel

    Allied Inbound Marketing

    January 25th, 2016

    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 🙂

    1. Doug Kessler

      March 2nd, 2016

      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!

  3. Lionel Binnie


    February 21st, 2016

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

    1. Doug Kessler

      March 2nd, 2016

      Love that.

Leave a comment/reply

Hey look: a teeny-tiny cookie request. Would you mind? It’d help us out. Click here to read our privacy policy to see why. Or hit “customize” if you’re fancy like that.