Mistakes are wrong, right? Well,
no. A fundamental characteristic of Creativity Marketing is the
drive to find new and unexplored solutions to problems. And that
means taking risks and travelling into uncharted territories,
living dangerously with the prospect of making mistakes.
The problem is that traditional
marketing organisations are not set up to tolerate mistakes, even
less so to reward them. And yet, mistakes can actually add value to
the company. How? Mistakes show the way not to go, they save the
organisation from future mis-steps.
The trick is to separate
"mission-critical mistakes" from productive "constructive learning
mistakes". Luckily, those of us in marketing aren't working in
critical healthcare or nuclear power. We can afford to live with a
few mistakes as long as we learn from them.
But the culture within many
organisations is to hide the mistakes away from the prying eyes of
management and of successors. And that means those mistakes cost
the company at least twice - once when they fail to deliver and
often a second or third time when someone unwittingly repeats
A few years ago at WPP's
Y&R/Wunderman, I led the development of an approach called the
9-Cell Matrix to summarise and share the results of each marketing
project in nine simple and useful boxes. And the most important
cell of the nine? The one that describes the things that went
wrong, the things that the company should never do again.
Clients like Ford and IBM found the
9-Cell Matrix very interesting indeed. So Wunderman
trade-marked the idea and made it internal practice. If you're at
all intrigued, I can recommend Wunderman's own website at http://www.wunderman.co.jp/en/services/9cell_matrix.html.
It's a great way for creative
marketing organisations to get started on the path of turning two
wrongs into a right.