While the integration of artificial intelligence and digital marketing tools can be useful, it’s easy to forget that marketers are, in fact, human. As such, errors are inevitable. Striving for perfection with every campaign is not only unrealistic, it will also leave you flailing when something truly goes wrong.
When that happens, all eyes will be on you. Make sure your team is ready to make amends and embrace real solutions. It might seem counterintuitive to prepare for failure, but it’s a necessary step. With the following strategies in mind, marketers can bounce back from mistakes stronger than ever.
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Make a Plan
The first step is to simply acknowledge that mistakes happen and ensure your team knows how to handle them. Let’s say a previously scheduled social media post went live during a national or global tragedy, unintentionally making the company look insensitive to current events. Is the immediate response to delete the post? Issue an apology? If the latter, who’s going to write it? What are the next steps moving forward?
This requires some upfront training and decision making, but you’ll be glad you made the effort when things go sideways. Otherwise, you risk leaving your team flailing, which typically leads to rash decisions that could just make matters worse. Keep your tone in mind during training, which is where our next tip comes into play.
Apologize Like You Mean it
We’ve all seen the classic brand non-apology: the passive voice, the avoidance of responsibility, the displacement of blame. Pro tip: do not do this. Apologies must be sincere and empathetic; they should also actually include the words “we’re sorry” without any qualifiers (“if you were offended!”). When you’re in a crisis and all eyes are on you, it’s time to show what you’re made of. Instead of shifting blame or downplaying the problem, you need to take responsibility.
Empathy is key here. Sure, the mistake wasn’t intentional, but that doesn’t make customers’ feelings any less valid. Keep your audience in mind and let them know you’re genuinely sorry, rather than taking a defensive stance against criticism.
Specify a Solution
Okay, despite your best efforts, something’s gone wrong. Your team handled it as well as could be expected, and you’ve apologized to your audience. What’s next? It’s time to clearly communicate the steps you’re taking to fix the mistake and prevent it from ever happening again.
Finding the right solution may not be easy or immediate, but what’s important is being transparent about what the company is doing to rectify its mistakes. Once you’ve done that, make sure to design a process that prevents the issue from occurring again. Most customers are understanding and willing to forgive; as we said, no one’s perfect. However, to retain that trust, you need to be open and honest about how you’re fixing the problem.
Mistakes are unfortunate, but they’re part of life. No matter what industry you’re in, you’re bound to see employees from ground level to CEO make a wrong move once in a while. How you react to those mistakes is what shows character, and that’s especially true in an industry as visible as marketing. Remember, perfection isn’t a realistic goal, and chasing it will only leave you unprepared for inevitable errors. By keeping this advice in mind, you can weather the crisis without losing your customers’ respect and trust.
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