Want us to follow up? Fill the form

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Something went wrong while submitting the form.


How to overcome fear of failure in marketing

The website needs to be updated. The product isn’t ready. Leadership wants to wait until Q2. 

What excuses have you heard or made for why a video or marketing campaign wasn’t launched? In this episode we discuss the root of why many marketers hold on to completed projects (hint: it’s fear of failure), how to identify the problem, and what you can do to overcome it.

Correction: In this episode we talk about a controversial Pepsi ad and say it starred Kylie Jenner. It was actually Kendall Jenner. We were correct to say it should never have been released.


Guy Bauer: Marketing is not for the faint of heart, at least if you wanna make an impact. Good marketing is not for the faint of heart.

Hope Morley: Hello and welcome to Death to the Corporate Video, a podcast with tools and advice for how to make B2B video ads your prospects actually want to watch. I'm Hope Morley.

Guy Bauer: I'm Guy Bauer.

Hope Morley: In today's episode, we might be going in a little bit of a different direction. So Guy was out of town last week and I prepped for this episode by myself. And it got a little weird in my brain when I was thinking about where this was going. So come with me on a journey. Guy has no idea where I'm going with this.

So, we'll, we'll see where this ends up. But the topic for today's show that we came up with was we wanted to talk about why people should stop waiting and holding onto finished video ads and just release your work or just create something when you have an idea and get it out there into the world.

But as I was thinking about this, of why people wait, Guy, can you tell me what, why do you think people really wait and hold onto these finished products?

Guy Bauer: They're waiting for the perfect time, I think, or there's a little bit of nervousness on, you know, maybe it's just timing, I think. I think that's why. Yeah.

Hope Morley: So the root of it that I was thinking of, which is related to what you're saying is fear. Like people are afraid because once you release something, Releasing something creative, even if it's a video for your B2B company, it's kind of an act of vulnerability to put something out there because you are opening yourself up for people to see something that you did.

You could potentially get criticized for it, it could potentially flop. You know, there's a lot of things that could happen, and it all comes down to if you're holding onto something that you have finished creating and you don't put it out there in the world, I think the root of that is fear.

Guy Bauer: I think you're right. I think, you know, timing is probably a subset. It's timing is probably a rational, a rationalized excuse. Yeah, exactly. It's not right. Or we're waiting for, I, we, we see a lot of, we're waiting for everything to be finalized with, I don't know, X, Y, and z. Not gonna name names, but we had a client come to us recently asking for, I forget what they asked for, but it was kind of proving that they hadn't even launched it and we delivered the thing like a year ago. And I was like, Whoa, really? That, that's not even out in the open yet. But yeah, I think you're exactly right. The root cause is fear and then it manifests itself as. We humans are really good at rationalizing excuses. Timing isn't right. Product isn't ready. We wanna revamp the website. We have to wait for the site. We get a lot of that. Like, Oh, well once we, we'll, we'll launch this when the website relaunch, you know, we're redoing the website. So once we have that fresh website, then we'll put this on. We wouldn't want to dirty up the old website with this video. I don't even know how that, you know, but Yes. Yes. I think you're right.

Fear, which is what we talk a lot about with our clients is, you know, have to be brave. And yeah, it may flop and you may get criticized. We have a slide in one of our deck, when we onboard with clients. You know that Volkswagen ad with the kid, Darth Vader.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm. One of my favorite Super Bowl ads of all time.

Guy Bauer: I mean it's, it has to be.

Hope Morley: The remote start one.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Where the kid is trying to use the force on everything and then yeah, his, and then he used the force on the Volkswagen and his dad is Yeah. Like playing with the remote start and it worked and so cute. That ad has hate. That ad has hate, which I couldn't even believe. So if that ad can get hate, your ad's gonna get hate, you know, and or your ad will flop, potentially.

Hope Morley: Yeah. Well, even just recently, Guy, if you don't mind me bringing this up, so we released Space Kids, which is kind of your pet project.

Guy Bauer: My baby with my babies.

Hope Morley: Anyone who follows us on LinkedIn or YouTube has probably seen this, but if for anyone who hasn't, Guy, can you say what the Space Kids spots are?

Guy Bauer: Okay, so in 2020 it was the pandemic. We were dead. We had no business, we were doing nothing. And I just got itchy. And I was like, You know what? I'm gonna, I wanna make a spaceship in my basement. And I came up with an ad to justify my urge to build a spaceship. Because I can't do anything for fun.

It has to have a business purpose. Okay, well this is like, just like kind of stupid creative of, Oh, we'll have my kids launch into space. Because that's in the pandemic. That's what we all kind of wanted to do with our kids is send 'em in the space for a couple weeks.

Hope Morley: And get outta my house.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, so had them launch in a space and it performed really well, like kind of went viral on Reddit.

Then the next year in 2021, I added on to the spot. So I made another spaceship set, and put the story in real time. So it was a year later. My kids are a year older, and then this year we did another one. So this is part, I guess part three. This is the third year in a row.

So yeah, now the kids are another year older and the story continues and my plan is to just keep doing this story until my kids say go to hell, dad. And in that case, I already shot the last episode, so I have that in the can. So at any point they can really tell me to get lost. And, and I could still get one more out of them but yeah, that's my little, it's like, you know,

Hope Morley: So I, I bring that up cuz talking about fear and vulnerability with releasing things that are very close to you. Cuz we got, it's not even a bad comment, but just this week, there was kind of a, a snarky comment left on it, on LinkedIn that someone was like, Yeah, this is fine, but like, it took you three years?

Guy Bauer: Oh I saw that.

Hope Morley: And you know, it, it's not even a bad comment. Like it's not hate, but like you see something like that, Guy, and does, did that bring any like doubt or anything into your head? What, what do you feel when you see comments like that?

Guy Bauer: Well, I think the guy just didn't, he doesn't know the context around it. So yeah, cuz like if I were to just judge the ad on the surface, and it's not like my kids are growing that noticeably older, so I could see how just someone coming cold would see that and be like, Why did that take you three years?

Cause it's only two minutes, you know? So actually it, I just, he didn't understand the why. It took three years. He didn't read why, but he said good ad. So to me, I just said, Oh, okay. It was still successful. He just didn't understand like the backstory, which that's okay. You know. 

Hope Morley: Yeah. Cause you're gonna get people like that no matter what you put out there, when you're putting out anything creative. You know? And that's, that's what I'm getting at here, is that you have to be ready for people to not understand something or to not get the joke or just to like, watch half of it and leave a comment.

Anyway, you know, that those people are out there and you know how, How should people prepare themselves for that?

Guy Bauer: Oh, I see what you've done with this episode, Hope. You're exactly right. This is a good, I like your spin on this, this cuz this, Yeah. All right. So, nice job, Hope. How should people prepare themselves?

Hope Morley: Yeah.

Guy Bauer: Well understand that the best spot in the world, the Darth Vader kid spot got hate. So if that can get hate, your thing can get hate. The other thing is, you know, the worst reaction than negative comments is no comments. To me that's silence is the worst reaction cuz that just means irrelevance.

You didn't upset anybody, you didn't make anybody happy, you didn't do anything like, it was just a tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it. So a negative comment actually means that your thing stood out, and inspired someone to leave a comment. And if someone got angry or whatever is leaving a nasty comment, you can assume somewhere in the universe there's an inverse of that, that someone else is, is happy.

Hope Morley: Which of course that Space Kids example, there are plenty of good comments on it that people enjoyed watching it.

Guy Bauer: Right? Yep. And so understand that hate just means that actually you did your job. You, you polarized, and now if it's hate – Now there's a difference between hate and like, like correct hate. Like if I were to make some ad that's like, okay, let's think back to that Pepsi spot with the Jenner, Kylie Jenner with the Black Lives Matter.

Hope Morley: The cops and the protest.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Okay. That one got a lot of hate. Theoretically, I mean, I guess we're still talking about Pepsi. We knew know it's a Pepsi ad. I don't think Pepsi is happy that they're known for that. But I, I would say that that's, that's hate that's correct!

Hope Morley: That spot never should have been released. You know, they should have had some more healthy fear there. But to that point though, it's like if something really flops or if something really does go wrong, you can always take things down, you know, like I do think that. People have a little bit of fear of like, once it's out in the internet, it's out there.

But like you do have control over it. Most of our clients are not Pepsi. You know, if you take it off your YouTube channel, nobody downloaded it and saved it on their computers somewhere. So you can always take things down. You can always re-edit them, you can always update them. We're not carving things into literal stone.

We're not building pyramids.

Guy Bauer: The other thing too is like with business, they say, you know, fail early and often, or Dan Wieden, who just passed away said, fail harder. The thing is, is, okay, so when brands don't release their spot, they hold it. They see it as like dry powder, right? So they don't wanna waste it. what you have to realize is every day that you withhold it, you're withholding your, almost setting yourself back in time.

Because let's say, let's say the thing is a hit. Well, every day that you didn't release it, that thing isn't a hit. And it wasn't garnering attention, or let's say it's a flop. Every day that you don't release, you're holding onto a flop thinking that you've got a hit, right? And so that's bad too, cuz every, you know, you're moving forward under false assumptions.

That, and, and you could have pivoted by now, you could have pivoted away. They always say if Microsoft waited until Windows was perfect, Windows would still not be released. But you, you know, you iterate. So to me, marketing stuff, video ads, this is all like, you have to release early and often you have to fail.

They, they're not all gonna be winners. A lot of our ads are nothing. And then some of our ads are something we were just talking about our last campaign where I, I, I don't know what we're calling it. Bad decisions, whatever the name.

Hope Morley: Bad advice. I think we called it.

Guy Bauer: Bad advice. There we go. There was a clear winner.

We made three. We made three in that campaign. There was a clear winner, there was a clear second place and there was a clear loser. But we know that now, like every day we know that and we can deploy cash into the ad that is the winner. And so we get all, every day, a value out of that, if that makes

Hope Morley: Yeah, So it's not just, Yeah, so there's the money thing of, okay, we know which one to sponsor. There's also the learnings that we can take from that of knowing what the successful spot is and thinking like, Okay, why does this one work better than this one? and then apply them to the next campaign.

Guy Bauer: And we were just talking right before this podcast, we were like, okay, like, you know, these patterns that emerge. Okay. Well the, the winner was very obvious. Like the concept was very obvious, not subtle at all. You know, we were able to identify the attributes. That's not what this episode is about, but we were able to identify the attributes and then now we get to deploy those learnings earlier as well.

Like, we're iterating way faster than if we had held onto this thing until the perfect time, or until the website was perfect. Are you kidding? I still hate our website. Like I, I cannot stand our website. 

But if we had waited for that, it still wouldn't be out. So just go, just go and like whether it's successful or, or not, don't you wanna know now.

Hope Morley: There's two sides of the waiting coin. So one thing is, you know, people don't wanna release because, for example, the product's not ready. The website's not updated. You can generate a lot of buzz before your product is ready. Like have you ever seen a teaser trailer for a movie that's not coming out for a year?

Nobody's afraid of telling you that this movie's coming out in a year. They're trying to build anticipation. You're trying to get people to sign up for a wait list, or you're trying to get people to do your beta. There's so many reasons you could release something before a product is ready and just get it top of mind for people.

And then on the flip side, there are people who are thinking, Oh, well I don't wanna release it too soon because I don't want people to get sick of the video. You know, that too many people are gonna see it and then it's gonna get stale or something like that. But I always have two thoughts on people when they think that their videos get stale.

One is that none of your prospects have seen it nearly as often as you have. They're not going to your website nearly as often as you have. They're not like on your social constantly. So as a marketer, as someone on the business side we're like, Oh, we've been seeing the spot like for six months, like, we need something new.

None of your prospects have seen it that many times and it's probably still new to a lot of them, and it still has a lot of shelf life in it

Guy Bauer: Yep.

Hope Morley: to keep going. You know, you don't really have to worry about people getting sick of your ads or videos when you're in B2B, we're not marketing or like blanketing the market the way that a Progressive commercial does through TV.

You know, people aren't seeing your spots that much.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, I agree. You know, I used to work in a radio station, that was classic rock and radio, the trick of radio. There's only 60 songs, quote unquote, in rotation, there's only 60 songs.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm.

Guy Bauer: And when you work in a radio station and you know, they pipe it in the office. You get sick of all 60 songs like very quickly and you hate them and, and you're like, How does anyone listen to this radio station?

The reality is, is that they're only listening for two to three minutes at a time. To them that song that you hate is new. I agree with you. This repetition is actually a really good thing. I, I think a brand who's doing this well is Webflow. They run the same ads on Facebook for years.

Years, like, I still see them and we signed up for Webflow. Like it takes a lot of repetition until people figure out what you do and see that logo. You know, if your brand isn't Pepsi Coke or in the B2B space, if your brand isn't Microsoft. Dell technologies or whatever, like you're gonna need repetition.

Don't be scared of that, warm that market up. And the other thing is, like I said, like get to your learnings faster. Like you gotta fail fast. If the spot is a dud, there's still time to pivot. If you got that learnings that you know, the spot is a dud.

Hope Morley: And if it's not a dud, if it's successful, then keep using it. Put money behind it and keep using it for years. Use it for two years.

Guy Bauer: Yes, I have nothing to add to that. That was great. But yeah, I mean, it, there's nothing to be scared of unless you, I don't know. I mean like, so I guess what did the Pepsi people not do? Right. You know, cuz they should have been scared. Cause like when you bring up Pepsi, its like, well, yeah, what if that happens? You know?

Hope Morley: Yeah. Well they, their mistake was, they tried to use a controversial news current events topic and put a positive spin on it that like shouldn't have been a positive thing. I don't think that most of the people listening to this or most of our clients are going to be doing anything that's going to be touching any sort of cultural nerve in the way that that spot does. I think the, the real thing is if you're holding onto some work, I think you need to ask yourself why are you really waiting and dig into the reason.

So is it that you work at Pepsi and you've watched the spot and you're like, I don't know, this makes me feel a little bit weird, but like, I don't know, my boss approved it, so it must be okay. You know, then maybe should listen to your gut. But if you're waiting because you're thinking, Oh, I don't wanna drive traffic to our website until we get the new copy and oh man, people are gonna see our old site, that's not really a good reason to, to wait and hold off on your marketing.

It's really getting down to the root of why you're waiting and why you're holding onto it and figuring out if it's you're holding onto it because you really think there's truly something wrong with it, or if you're just scared.

Guy Bauer: mm-hmm. I think you're right.

It's to understand the difference between those two. Are you holding on because you don't like it? In that case, fix it.

Are you holding out because it's not the right time or, you know, you're just a little nervous? In that case release. Go. There's a phrase in movie making is that the film is never finished. The film is released, you know, you're working towards a release date. If you let Christopher Nolan, if there was no release date, he'd still be tweaking and making revisions to Dark Knight to this day. But you have to hit the release day. A film is never finished, it's released. Same with a spot. A spot is never finished. It's released. Get it out there. Get it out there and learn from it or let it work for you, you know? So yeah, don't be scared. It'll be okay unless you have Kylie Jenner in your head with like.

Hope Morley: You know, for the most part, having Kylie Jenner in your ad is probably a good thing.

Guy Bauer: Right

Hope Morley: Just don't touch on hot button issues in an insensitive way.

Guy Bauer: Oh my gosh. Yeah. But I mean, but in the end, I mean, I'll never forget that that's a Pepsi ad ever. I don't know if that encourages me

Hope Morley: But that doesn't make me think highly of the brand though.

Guy Bauer: Correct. I think they're a bunch of idiots. Yeah.

Hope Morley: So that's the difference. I mean, I'm not, I'm not a soda drinker anyway, but it's, That would not be like, Yeah, I should buy more Pepsi.

So yeah, as I was thinking about how to put together this episode where I wanted to go with it, I was thinking about what, what the root is for, why people hold onto the work. And it's the same reason to me. It's not just advertising. It's not just video.

It's not just marketing. It's like anything creative. It's that we are really afraid to put ourselves out there and be vulnerable and open it up to the chance of failure or to the chance of negative comments. Any time you're putting yourself out there like you are risking that, but at the same time, it's the only chance you have to really have the courage to move forward as a business or as a person.

So if you don't take that step and risk the failure, you can't succeed either.

Guy Bauer: A hundred percent. A thousand percent. Marketing is not for the faint of heart, at least if you wanna make an impact. Good marketing is not for the faint of heart. I mean, think of just any of the great marketing you've ever seen in your life, and there was someone who took a big risk. You know, especially, it's not like we're like doing doodles and paintings and showing our friends, this is like our work, Like this is our, how we feed our families and you know, and all that stuff. So I can understand the fear. 

Hope Morley: We have it too.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. Yeah, totally. It's just like having kids, like there's no perfect time. You know, like anything in life, there's no perfect time. When you get an illness, that's not a good time. There's no perfect time for any of it. So, but I would say the best thing to do, what I've learned in business is just go, you have to just go like, you know, do some due diligence plan, talk it over, have a strategy, but, you're gonna be in much better shape going and releasing stuff.

Then if you did not release stuff and look at our YouTube channel, a lot of them are duds. 

Hope Morley: Just skating along with a few hundred views.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, exactly. But then there's a few that have made a big impact and it's like the pareto principle. You know, there's, you know, 20% of our content leads to 80% of our, our business.

And so the thing is, every day you don't release. Every day you hold on. You don't know which is the 80 and which is the 20. So have some courage. Get out there. 

Hope Morley: Yeah. So to sum it up, I think it is, if you're holding on to a video you're waiting to release, you're not really sure about it, ask yourself why you're really waiting, You know, and do a little deep dive into your mental state and into your heart of hearts. Like, what is it fear? Is it you're unsure because you think that you're going to offend people if you're Pepsi. But if it's not, if you're not worried that it's offensive, if it's a fear of just putting yourself out there, putting the work out there, putting your business forward, get over it. It's hard, but you gotta do it. Just hit post.

Guy Bauer: And it, and it's actually better business. It's being more strategic, getting stuff out there and, you know, and the other thing, like what you always say, Hope, too. It's not like, you know, something's on YouTube. It's not like it goes away. It's there, it can be successful for years to come. And, and you know, on LinkedIn and ad buying platforms, you can sponsor stuff and no one knows when it came out or any of that stuff. They're encountering it for the first time. So it's like, get it out there and get those learnings. Those learnings are gonna be, it's almost like that's the true value of releasing spots. Sure if the spot is hit, that's tons of value, but odds are.

Odds are it's probably not going to be a hit, you know? Or maybe one of 'em will be a hit. So don't you want to know earlier which one is gonna be the hit? 

Hope Morley: Any final thoughts?

Guy Bauer: This was a good spin. Good spin, Hope I liked your angle, the approach of this episode.

Hope Morley: As I sat down and thought about what the root of all this was, that's what it comes down to.

Guy Bauer: Yep, you're right.

Hope Morley: Thank you all for listening today. If you wanna see some of our spots, both the successful ones and the failures, you can find us on YouTube for all of our ads. Also our LinkedIn page, we're across all the social media channels at Umault, that's U M A U L T. And you can also visit our website at umault.com. Thanks for listening.

Guy Bauer: You're welcome.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

linkedin logo