It’s Ok to Be Wrong. It’s Not Ok to Be Wrong and Not Know It.


In every single one of our agency pitches, we tell potential clients that we believe it’s ok to be wrong. Full stop.

Seriously. This is a core value of our agency. The caveat is that it’s not ok to be wrong and not know it! Seriously. Getting it right is the best feeling in the world. But you have to test and try new ideas to get there.

Being afraid to get it wrong is one of the biggest mistakes that we see holding back small- to medium-sized businesses in their marketing. Many of these businesses have limited dollars and are more comfortable sticking to what’s worked in the past, rather than trying something new. They worry about investing dollars into a strategy that isn’t yet proven.

The problem is that today’s marketing landscape changes so quickly that if you aren’t willing to try something new, you’re already behind the curve. The way we see it is, you can adapt now, or you can adapt after you’ve already started losing ground. And if you want to adapt quickly (i.e., be proactive vs. reactive), you have to be willing to try new things, and occasionally get it wrong. The key, however, is being able to tell when you’re wrong and make a course correction – quickly.

One of the most famous marketing quotes of all time “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half” still rings true for many modern marketers. But it doesn’t have to. Digital advertising tools, including social media sites, search engines, ad platforms, and online testing and survey tools have given us access to more data than ever – data that we should, and must – use to ensure that if and when we do fail, we fail fast and inexpensively. And that when we get it right, we go all in while we have the market advantage.

Testing, analyzing, and adapting in a condensed timeframe is essential to maintaining relevance in today’s consumer and business-to-business landscapes. Whether it’s new platforms, new ad types, or cutting-edge experiences – we need to explore, analyze and narrow, then rinse and repeat – all in one marketing cycle.

We have to be willing to be wrong about a tactic or strategy – but we also have to ensure we have the tools in place to measure what’s working and what isn’t in real time, so that when we do occasionally get it wrong, we’re ready and able to change course right away.

So, while most agencies would be hard pressed to admit in a client pitch that they sometimes get it wrong – here at Ethos we’re not. Because the simple fact that we’re willing to get it wrong, means we’re usually on the cutting edge of getting it right.

About Ethos

Ethos is a multiplatform branding agency that develops and executes integrated marketing campaigns across multiple channels for companies inside and outside of Maine.

At Ethos, we believe that the most effective way to set a company’s marketing course is by finding its core truth – its ethos. We know that once we discover and communicate that core truth, we can truly make a difference for each client’s unique marketing and business objectives.

With Ethos, you get more than a marketing agency. You get a long-term partner whose goals are your goals.

Learn more about the Ethos approach and the work we’ve done for our clients. Want to have a conversation about your brand’s core truth? Contact us!

Written By

The ETHOS Team