In marketing, move quickly

I need to step up my act regarding marketing, both for Bredemarket and my clients. In both cases, it’s critical that the word gets out quickly to potential clients.

For example, I drafted this post on Monday, but am not getting around to posting it until Wednesday. That’s two days of views lost right there!

By Malene Thyssen – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10119596

I’m not the only one who needs to generate marketing material quickly.

The marketing goal, December 2021

I ran across a local company (which I will not name) that issued a press release in December 2021. In part, the press release mentioned the local company’s new dedication to the marketing function. The press release, in part, stated the following:

The Company has hired an international marketing firm…to support the Company’s efforts to increase revenue growth and brand recognition in the coming year.  The firm focuses on working with companies to develop comprehensive marketing strategies that identify competitive delineation, drive-focused campaigns, and develop sales leads designed to materialize revenue.  We expect their work to incorporate a website redesign, brand refresh, new strategic messaging and content, as well as focused video and digital campaigns that target markets such as [REDACTED].  We believe that a natural result of a formal marketing program, with a regular cadence of activity, will translate into market recognition of [REDACTED] as a highly-competitive brand that stands apart from the competition.

This sounds like an intelligent plan, or probably set of plans, that will address the firm’s strategic messaging, content, branding, and website, and a regular cadence of activity will keep the company visible. I certainly can’t argue with that.

The marketing results, March 2022

Well, now we’re three months into the implementation of this comprehensive marketing strategy. As an outsider posing as a potential customer for the firm’s products and services, what can I observe?

  • The website has a full slew of data sheets on the company’s products, and I found a 2017 brochure that effectively served as a white paper. But that’s it; no other white papers, and no case studies describing happy customers’ experiences.
  • The company’s YouTube channel has two videos from 2021.
  • The company’s Facebook page hasn’t posted anything since 2017.
  • Neither of the company’s LinkedIn pages (yes, the company has two LinkedIn pages) has any posts.

In short, as far as outside customers are concerned, the firm has not improved its marketing at all.

What happened? Did the international marketing firm concentrate on creating a stellar plan for the company’s content? If so, when will the content be available? Mid 2022? Late 2022? 2023?

Don’t go jumping waterfalls

When I was a product manager twenty years ago, my company used a “waterfall” product development method in which the marketing requirements document, engineering requirements document, design documents, test documents, and other documents were developed sequentially. While some companies still use the waterfall method today, others don’t because it takes so long to do anything.

These days, product developers are moving to agile methods to release products. And marketers are moving to agile methods also.

Agile marketing

Back in 2016, David Edelman, Jason Heller, and Steven Spittaels of McKinsey explained why marketing needs to be agile.

An international bank recently decided it wanted to see how customers would respond to a new email offer. They pulled together a mailing list, cleaned it up, iterated on copy and design, and checked with legal several times to get the needed approvals. Eight weeks later, they were ready to go.

In a world where people decide whether to abandon a web page after three seconds and Quicken Loans gives an answer to online mortgage applicants in less than ten minutes, eight weeks for an email test pushes a company to the boundaries of irrelevance.

From https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/agile-marketing-a-step-by-step-guide

The McKinsey authors then described how an agile marketing team organizes itself, sets goals, tests, and iterates.

The scrum master leads review sessions to go over test findings and decide how to scale the tests that yield promising results, adapt to feedback, and kill off those that aren’t working—all within a compressed timeframe.

From https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/agile-marketing-a-step-by-step-guide

While agile processes something result in things being wrong, the same agile processes can quickly correct the problem.

Back to the past

And waterfall methods can result in things being wrong also, especially when it takes so long to develop something that the initial assumptions have radically changed.

By en:user:Grenex – Wikipedia en, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2500249

It took John DeLorean eight years to change his car concept into something coming off the production line. By that time, the automotive environment had changed.

Despite promising early sales the queue of willing buyers had dried up by the end of year – the chill wind of recession had struck the US automotive sector, and stockpiles of unsold cars started to mount up, both in Dunmurry and dockside in the USA. The worst winter in 50 years also played its part.

From https://www.aronline.co.uk/cars/de-lorean/dmc-12/the-cars-delorean-dmc-12/

This didn’t help DeLorean’s constant financing issues, and after DeLorean was caught (or entrapped by the FBI) in a $24 million cocaine deal, the DeLorean automobile was relegated to a movie prop.

If Agile processes had existed at the time, could they have reduced the 8-year gap from concept to the assembly line? Perhaps.

Conclusion

And if you can speed up production of a car, you can speed up production of marketing content and start putting your messaging on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube accounts, as well as your website immediately so that your customers can get your message.

Don’t wait two days, or eight years, for things to be just right.

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