The Value of a Failed Outbound Email Campaign

At Incendium, we work with a lot of startups. Not all startups succeed... in fact, most of them don't. Given that the goal of an outbound email campaign is to sell a product or service, and not all of our clients are able to sell their products or services, some outbound campaigns "fail." This includes some of ours.

So what, then, is the value of a "failed" outbound email campaign?

While we are always trying to generate revenue when we take on a project (in fact, we have turned down prospects whose products we did not believe in enough to sell), we actually see ourselves as providers and interpreters of data first and as salespeople second. Selling a winning product or service is fairly formulaic and, honestly, not too much fun. We prefer to work with clients who are not yet sure whether they have a winning offering (or the right market for it).

A startup is an experiment and, at a company with the right attitude, so is a new marketing campaign. Sometimes our job is to drive revenue, but sometimes - and always when we work with early-stage companies - our primary job is to maintain the integrity of an experiment and provide thoughtful interpretation to the results attained. Avoiding massive investment in a marketing campaign when you do not truly have product-market fit is its own type of ROI.

Finally, as a related aside, there's a corollary to the insight above for founders, which is that you should start an outbound campaign before you are "ready." It is not like opening a restaurant. Your startup will never have everything that it needs to ensure success. The more quickly you can run good experiments, the more quickly you can eliminate bad options and truly be ready to grow.

Thanks for reading! We welcome your thoughts and feedback.

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