Down the rabbit hole…that’s what it felt like when I started my journey of engaging with startups. Coming from the background of marketing for big brands, I have had various reactions to the speed, activities and general vagaries that are part and parcel of startups. From “interesting” to “curious” and all the way down to “These guys are crazy!”While I won’t be the first person describing the journey as a jump off the cliff; I have to say there is a method to the madness and there are definitely lessons in business and marketing. So I figured this is as good a time as any to take a pause and pin down what I have learned so far.
There is marketing and then there is agile marketing. It won’t be a stretch to say that agile marketing is marketing 2.0. There are a plethora of resources on the net that defines the process and the steps involved. I want to concentrate on highlighting the key differences between the “traditional” approach and the agile approach.
In addition to all the wonderful things that the startup culture has taught me, there are a few things that can and should be absorbed from traditional marketing too.
A. Optimize: Don’t forget to optimize both the marketing dollars and a number of experiments. No point spreading your money and people’s bandwidth too thin. Experimentation is a crucial but sub-optimal use of funds, codes in the wrong sort of learnings. To make an exaggerated point, you cannot hope to be on TV in an effective way for the same amount of money as an SEM campaign. So an experiment which involves putting that money on TV and reading results is pointless. Similarly, each medium and platform has a threshold level of investment which will bring real value to the business, jumping the gun on this simple principle will only mean that whatever a sub-optimal investment is money wasted.
B. Don’t just Hack it, Brand It: Brands exist to help people make choices. Seeing a logo or brand name conjures up certain emotions and memories, if it does not, then the brand does not register no matter what the size and color of the font and if it does not register, there is no action. All your thinking and hard work are going to be summed up by your brand, in your brand. Pay attention to how you use it and what it means to people. There is no better time to start than now. Get cracking on the brand purpose, personality, and tonality because it will sum up what you are creating. Keep tweaking, nipping and tucking along the way.
Agile marketing is another way of saying turbocharged marketing! I’ll leave with a final caveat, where are you spending a bulk of your time- behind activities or action? Beware you fall prey to the busy-ness monster.
Disclaimer: My learnings are in beta version and I hope to continue with it for many more years to come. You live, you learn! Version 2 coming soon…