Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

FE, Education & Business Marketing: Quick, Effective, Low Cost Marketing

Stefan Drew - The Marketing Magician

What To Do When Things Inevitably Go Wrong

The Best Laid Plans Go Wrong.  It is Inevitable.


Simple.  Because how ever carefully you plan you cannot account for unseen situations, acts of nature, organisations and PEOPLE.


Of course much more goes wrong if you don’t plan.  Although you may not know it as you didn’t know what to expect.

When planning to undertake complex procedures I always play the scenarios though in my head a dozen or more times.  For example I might send out a mail shot or run a PPC advert.  I expect the recipients to do X.  In my head I see them doing this and their subsequent actions.  But in my head I also pose the question .. What If.  What if they do something else?  

Because I’ve considered as many scenarios as I can I have a plan B as well as a plan C,D,E and F.

You see things rarely go exactly to plan.  But that is no problem if you have an alternative plan.  In other words you have a backup plan that negates failure. 


My Latest Failure

Yes, I experience regular failures.  This is what recently happened.


When we decided to launch a paperback version of my book, Creating Business Growth, the plan was to set the UK price at just under £40.  We reasoned that it would take most people 10 days to plough throw the 450 pages and this equated to the equivalent of a couple of cups of coffee a day.

Of course we knew, from the feedback we’d had, that the value was much much higher.  Certainly £40 wasn’t high when equated against value and we had the Kindle version for those people that found the paperback version a bit pricey.  (It amazes me how many people have bought both … there’s a marketing lesson there). 

In playing back the promotion and purchase scenario I came up with an improbable situation. 

Amazon would price the book incorrectly.  

Of course that scenario only occurred in my nightmares.    Until launch day .. when it happened.

To be fair amazon didn’t accidentally get the price wrong.  They did it on purpose!

Despite the fact I’d set the price with CreateSpace (they are the online organisation that facilitate production and distribution), Amazon decided to promote the book by reducing the price by over 60%.  

In fact in the UK the reduction was 68%

In the US it was 82%


What was plan B?

Simple.  We took advantage of the situation and told everyone what had happened.  We said we genuinely didn’t know how long ti would be at this price and that we were annoyed with Amazon. 

To be honest this was one of those events we thought about but didn’t really think would happen.  

But we had a plan.

And so far we are happy with the result.  Amazon have paid us our royalty based on OUR price but sold it at their price.  We’ve made a profit and they have made a loss.  

Are Amazon stupid?

No.  They used a book that was getting lots of sales and used it as a lost leader in the UK, the US and the whole of Europe.  To me that is smart marketing.

And I feel confident that the fact we had a plan for inevitable failures … and turned them into the sort of successful strategy the book is full of, means we have no reason to fear failure. 

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