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Imperfect Marketing: Why Msitakes are Startup Gold

When we started Sonar6, we used to send out a lot of marketing email, and most of it went unopened. One day we sent out an email with a glaring and embarrassing error in the first line of the copy. We had to immediately send out an apology, and eat humble pie.

Our apology email was our most successful marketing email ever. Something was going on here ... had we accidentally become human?

It turns out people actually like doing business with people they can relate to.

This session will share the the story of how Sonar6, an unlikely company from New Zealand, selling pretty dull human resources software, built an entire marketing strategy around one very simple concept: Forget trying to be perfect. Instead, be human.

That strategy led to unprecedented success, one that other startup founders can apply to their own companies.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Which is more important, being "professional" or being memorable?
  2. How can you make embracing your mistakes a core strength of your brand?
  3. Can you be human, relatable, and interesting even with a boring product? (Hey at Sonar6 we made HR software – that’s a bundle of laughs)
  4. How do you systematically connect on a human level with thousands or even millions of people?
  5. What is the biggest mistake startups make when it comes to marketing?



Mike Carden, VP Small Business Operations, Cornerstone OnDemand

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