6 Inbound Marketing Failures You Can Learn From

3 min read
January 7, 2016


Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm" and it's no different for inbound marketers.

Our industry changes constantly and it can be challenging to keep up. Every day, we strive to brainstorm more innovative ideas, find workarounds to technical problems, use our time more wisely, and drive better results. With all of that trying comes a lot of failure.

Here, seven experts tell us what they failed at in 2015 and what they learned from the experience.

1. Time management

I have been failing all year, letting email and constant distractions run my life. It’s hurt my ability to meet my objectives in a timely manner.

Plus, I’ve struggled with the “knowing-doing” gap. Intellectually I knew what to do, but was really having trouble changing my habits. In the process, I discovered “as if” research and discovered how to become a Time Master.”

Jill Konrath, Sales Speaker, Author, and Thought Leader


“I've failed at time management. Too often I've allowed emails and "urgent" things to take my attention. I've not given myself the space to step back and think strategically. Responding to urgencies delays personal improvement. I've not taken the time to get better at the HubSpot COS, Adobe Illustrator, and video creation. All are areas where I need to improve. I experimented with planning my week in time blocks at the start of each week. This is something that I'd like to do a better job of moving forward.”

Andrew Dymski, CEO & Co-founder of DoInbound and VP of Inbound and Co-founder of GuavaBox


2. Not prioritizing culture

“Not incorporating our culture enough into our processes has resulted in a few expensive (and not very fun) mistakes. Fortunately we have made some improvements and are much more conscious of the culture we want to have.”

Kristin Dennewill, President, Denamico


3. Working with the wrong people

“My personal sales process is a process of 'dis'-qualification. One 'no' and we don't work together. Twice this year, I allowed someone to promise they would change and I worked with them even though I knew, deep down, that they wouldn't. Both resisted change after we started working together. Promised that they would follow our suggestions, but didn't. Every time this happens, I swear, "Never again." I hope I learned this time.”

Rick Roberge, Founder and Advisor, Unbound Growth


4. Getting referrals

“Failed at getting more referrals. Learned that passive referrals, sharing content is great, but it is still the direct 1-1 intro that matters.”

Carole Mahoney, Founder and Advisor, Unbound Growth


5. Not being clear about goals

“When you’re beginning inbound marketing, you must make certain that everyone involved (especially decision makers) all have the same measure for success. If you’re measuring success in the number of leads delivered but your boss (or client) is measuring by the number of customers closed, you can count on a huge disconnect when it comes time to review what has been accomplished. Establish your goals at the beginning and review them every month to make certain you’re on target.”

Susie Kelly, Owner and Business Development at Spot On Marketing Agency


6. Not creating enough original content

“We relied heavily on 3rd party, thought leader promotion of our content. This proved an effective strategy in bringing credibility to the content produced, however failed us in meet our goals for building our own audience and subscriber base. In 2016 we'll continue to work with widely followed thought leaders, but focus more on building our own, sustaining relationships with our readers.”

Steve Peck, Co-founder & SVP Marketing & Sales, Docalytics


What did you fail at in 2015? What did you learn from the experience? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.