Failing and Rapidly Regrouping: The Journey: Season 2, Episode 9


Do you ever come up with a great plan and then it fails? Then watch the Journey, Social Media Examiner’s episodic video documentary that shows you what really happens inside a growing business.

Watch the Journey

In episode 9, Michael Stelzner (founder of Social Media Examiner) and his team work through a failed launch of their documentary and deal with sales figures that aren’t on track.

The show opens with Mike sharing a decision to pause promotion of the conference to focus on promotion of season two of The Journey, set for a Sunday launch on Facebook.

To build an audience for the release of the show, he begins working on an email that not only introduces The Journey but the story behind show itself. He’s betting that readers will be intrigued enough to click through to watch on Facebook and see what it’s all about.

Monday dawns and the first episode launches on Facebook.

On Tuesday, Mike calls the marketing team into his office to share the results of the launch. It was a failure. The question is, why?

He hypothesizes that people simply aren’t watching long-form video content on Facebook. Instead, he thinks they’re watching it on YouTube.

When he and Mitch Dong dissect the data, a series of startling watch patterns are revealed.

Of the 4000 views that registered on Facebook, only 1% of those viewers (40 people) watched the entire video. What’s more, watch time patterns show that after 1 minute, the viewers dropped like a rock. In fact, the average watch time on Facebook is just 22 seconds.

YouTube, on the other hand, tells a different story. Average watch time is 3 minutes and 29 seconds, and 50% of all viewers watched the episode to the end

The data is clear; it was a mistake to direct the promotions towards Facebook.

Discussing the outcome with the full marketing team (Jennifer Ballard, Kim Reynolds, and Saidah Murphy) and Erik Fisher, possible factors are brought forward; the day of the week, the quality of the content itself, and the platform all come into question.

The team makes a unanimous decision to release future episodes on Thursdays. This means episode 2 will air in two days.

Later, on his own, Mike acknowledges that he was so enamored with the idea of getting The Journey onto Facebook Watch that he ignored reason and let emotion drive his decision. Rather than listening to the voice in his head that said, “Focus on YouTube for the launch of The Journey.” he focused on Facebook. That was a mistake.

Next, hoping to help his marketing team embrace a culture of executing quickly, Mike calls them in to listen to an episode of the EntreLeadership podcast.

In episode #282: Leading with Military Precision, Mark Divine shares some tips and advice that Mike feels will help the team be ready for rapid action. The key takeaways for Mike? It’s important to be aware of what the goal is and where the team is ‘right now.’

With the podcast fresh in everyone’s mind, Mike clarifies the mission in front of the marketing team. The goal? To sell 341 tickets before the end of the month. Where is the team now? 71 tickets have been sold.

Mike challenges the team to come back to him with a plan to achieve their goal.

A brainstorming session yields number of achievable ideas, including an extra promo email and an additional video ad, all of which Saidah will organize into a plan they can quickly set in motion.

Finally, Mike opens up about the pressure he’s under. He’s spending countless hours in the editing room trying to cut The Journey into episodic segments and he’s realizing it’s simply not scalable. The pressure is driving introspection and Mike begins to wonder why he’s doing The Journey.

Is this the end?

Should Mike stop The Journey? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Key Mentions:


Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to The Journey on YouTube.


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