The Scrappy Mindset
Brains Before Budget: Scrappy marketers always look before they leap.
Market Like a Mousetrap: Be on the lookout for ways to be more effective and efficient with your marketing.
See Ideas Everywhere: Technology today moves too fast to be confined by your industry or market when it comes to looking for ideas you can borrow in your work.
The Brand Behind the Megaphone
Is digital marketing really that complex? Just start a Facebook page. Publish a blog. Record a podcast. Share photos on Instagram. What’s the big deal? We can do all of that in about an hour? Why are we making a fuss about how hard all of this is?
That’s the siren call of Shiny New Things. Sure, it’s easier than ever to start. The tools and technologies that can help you be a better marketer are deceptively simple to employ. However, when you take a step back and consider the Scrappy Mindset—putting brains before budget, marketing like a mousetrap, and seeing ideas everywhere—you know that you can do better. You have to do better.
That’s why the first step in getting scrappy is getting smart. Putting strategy first and ensuring that you know what it is you’re trying to do in the first place. This not only leads to better marketing out of the gate, it also helps you measure what matters so that you can optimize your work for the long haul.
In short, strong brands with something to say matter more than ever in the digital age. Remember to create a brand with:
- Spark: Why does your brand exist?
- Promise: What do you do and for whom?
- Story: What’s your brand’s three-word story?
- Voice: How does that story sound?
- Visuals: How does that story come to life visually, online and off?
The Spark That Sets Your Story in Motion
Your brand spark is the catalyst that starts this fire, not the fire itself. It activates and stimulates. It’s the inspiration behind everything. Ben and Jerry’s spark is social justice; it informs everything about their ice cream. Defining the intersection of technology and liberal arts is the spark that started Apple. Note that neither of these focuses solely on their product offerings of ice cream and technology. Instead, these sparks speak to bigger issues that bring these brands to life.
Map Your Marketing
Don’t get bogged down by strategy. Look for ways to create a digital marketing map to guide your work. Use Rudyard Kipling’s “serving men” (why, what, when, where, who, and how) to help you get started. Like any map, you need a destination (the “why” in the Kipling model). Here are the most common destinations or business objectives we drive toward with our marketing.
- Community building
- Public relations
- Market research
- Customer service
- Lead generation/sales
Choose one or two of these to focus on and create a map that is SMART:
A Promise Is More Than Pretty Words Below Your Logo
Zappos was built on founder Tony Hseih’s desire to deliver happiness, as his book of the same title states. This philosophy anchors all of Zappos’ brand communications with the promise that they are Powered by Service. Their brand promise is one of service, not shoes.
A well-crafted brand promise can embolden brand ambassadors both internally and externally. Remember, your brand isn’t what you sell, say, or do. It’s what you believe. The best way to unite your community around what your brand believes is to make them a promise
Tell Your Story in Three Parts
Steve Jobs famously (and obsessively) found sets of threes compelling. Most new Macs, iPhones, and iPads are still released with three different levels and often with three core benefits such as “thinner, lighter, and faster.” Add to this the fact that we’re now exposed to thousands of marketing messages each day and it’s easy to see that we could all enhance our communication by simplifying.
When it comes to your brand, what three things can you use to tell your story?
Finding Your Brand Voice
Brand voice is no longer the sole domain of your advertising copywriter. Everyone who is customer-facing (either online or off) should understand not only the tone of your brand’s voice (casual, positive, assertive, technical) but also the vocabulary and keywords that are the building blocks of your brand’s lexicon.
Choose Visuals That Tell Your Story
Like your brand voice, your visuals may be prescriptive and thematic. If your brand is product-focused, you’ll want to build a library of high-resolution art for sharing across various channels. If your business is technical, your library will likely be composed of process graphics. If you’re in the service industry or you’re a nonprofit, you might want to reinforce human aspects and emotional triggers with images of people.
The point here is to have a visual bedrock in place to avoid situations where you need a Facebook cover photo or an intro slide for a YouTube video and someone just grabs a random picture. These online spaces are all opportunities that help reinforce your brand.
Follow Your Digital Compass
When it comes to determining what social media channels and content marketing formats you use when, be sure to align the why of your business objective (your destination) with the who of your audience. These two compass points will help point your marketing in the right direction.
#1 Create a Question Engine: Make your ongoing digital marketing efforts more sustainable by helping your customers with your social media and content marketing. Use questions to fuel your content creation and to spark social media conversations.
- Collect a list of questions your customers have today. Think about how you can use these questions to create helpful content in the form of blog posts, videos, and podcasts.
- Start a list of questions you can ask your community via social media to keep your conversations moving and to feed your editorial calendar. Enlist your colleagues at the office in this task (see next topic).
#2 Embrace Your People Power: Forget about your “people problems.” Embrace your people power and put your biggest asset to work in your digital marketing.
You need to find ways to get scrappy with your staffing both internally and externally. Remember, your people—both your team members and your community—won’t know how to help you until you ask them.
Connect Your Digital Dots
Social media and content marketing are two of the more popular categories within digital marketing. To get scrappy, you have to connect these initiatives to classic digital channels such as email marketing and search-engine optimization. You also need to be mindful of POEM, managing the integration of your paid, owned, and earned media.
Throughout all of your marketing you need to make sure that when you promote your channels, you do more than simply slap the social media icons onto things. Tell people why they should bother to connect with you.
The Simplification Game
To simplify your digital marketing for the long haul, implement these four content creation hacks to help you get the most from your marketing:
- Relentlessly repurpose content.
- Utilize historical content.
- Curate content.
- Encourage user-generated content.
Social media conversations can be simplified by focusing on the most important conversations. While you need a plan for negative customer interactions, you also need a plan for how to convert your positive customers into social brand ambassadors.
Measure What Matters
Metrics are abundant in digital marketing. Measure what matters by aligning your performance data around your map’s destination or business objective. Use these metric recipes to help you share your success with the rest of your team.
Putting It Together
The whole is more than the sum of its parts. To create marketing that matters, you have to put everything together, creating a unified brand experience both online and off. By embracing your new role as chief brand ambassador and bringing together everything you do to market your organization, you’ll be on your way to doing more with less and creating smarter digital marketing.