The Nova Scotia Commision on Building Our New Economy recently released the Ivany Report. The report details Nova Scotia’s weak economic performance and urges entrepreneurs and business leaders to take action in building our economy.
Since the report came out we have been discussing ways that we, as marketers, can contribute to the growth the Atlantic Canadian economy, specifically through export development.
In recent years our region has gained notoriety for producing world class technology companies. Radian6, GoInstant, Compilr, just to name a few, have built tremendously successful technology companies right here in Atlantic Canada. While the intellectual property that each of these companies developed is certainly impressive, there is one common lesson that every Atlantic Canadian company can learn from their success – the ability to sell from afar.
Each of these companies is successful in attracting customers from all over the globe, while doing business right here in Atlantic Canada. This may come as a wake up call for “traditional” marketers, but these companies international success didn’t come from hiring outside sales teams, running expensive ad campaigns or spending boatloads of cash on trade shows.
Here are 4 things every Atlantic Canadian company can learn from tech marketing geeks.
1. The definition of “Marketing” is changing
You may be surprised to learn that tech giants like Twitter, AirBnB, Zappos and Facebook did little to no traditional marketing in their early years. No television ads, no billboards, no radio spots. Before these companies exploded to be billion dollar businesses, they were budget strapped startups. They simply didn’t have the budget or experience to execute what is typically thought of as marketing. Instead tech startup marketers changed the definition of marketing to immense advantage.
The traditional marketing playbook has been replaced with only what is testable, tackable, and scalable. The new tool set includes e-mail, pay-per-click ads, blogs, social media, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money.
As the Ivany report points out, of the 900 Nova Scotia based companies participating in our provinces export market the majority have less than 25 employees. Just like tech startups, we need to finds ways to do more with less. We need to find ways to bring our provinces goods and services to an international market by executing cost effective, data driven, scalable marketing strategies.
2. Stop putting all your eggs in one basket and start creating scalable marketing strategies
Historically, expanding into new geographic markets required huge investments in local sales and marketing initiatives. From a sales point of view geographic expansion required hiring new sales reps in each city, opening new offices, training new staff and spending the first number of months establishing a local presence while building a sales pipeline. Costly to say the least.
On top of the huge investments required to establish a local sales team, if you wanted a local marketing presence you needed to purchase advertising space in magazines, newspapers or billboards. Under this model marketing was essentially controlled by money and placement. If you wanted to expand your marketing efforts into a new geographic area that meant you had to fork out more cash, for more ads. And when your budget ran out the ads stopped running, the billboards came down, and the results quickly dried up. That is, if you could manage to measure any results at all.
Inbound marketing now enables organizations to cost effectively reach potential clients in new geographic markets, every digital impression, interaction and transaction can be easily measured, and thanks to the internet and social media distribution is essentially free.
Rather than making huge investments in a select few activities, tech marketers often prefer to perform a series of data driven tests using different tactics or channels. Doing so helps to identify which marketing efforts are yielding the best results best and to eliminate any waste.
Under the new definition of marketing you should be constantly evaluating your strategies by asking these three questions:
- Is the channel, tactic or medium effective in communicating our message?
- Is the strategy scaleable? (Can it be repeated over and over with similar results and minimal incremental investment?)
- Can it be tested and measured?
If you find yourself stuck in a rut doing the same traditional marketing campaigns year-over-year to no avail, these three questions can quickly identify the need for immediate change.
3. Iterate, Iterate, Iterate
From a product development standpoint iteration is a mainstay in every startup success story. Rather than taking the “if we build it, they will come” approach, tech startups focus on frequently shipping iterations of their products, testing new concepts, gaining market feedback and continuously making refinements. This approach to product development is know as agile development methodology.
As a marketer you may have heard some buzz about agile marketing. Agile marketing methodology supports ongoing optimization, flexibility and favors continuous iteration over big-bang campaigns. At its core, agile marketing is about eliminating waste by shortening the cycle time between idea, implementation and feedback.
Rather than working from a 5 year, or even one year marketing plan, tech marketing geeks tend to work in much shorter timeframes know as “sprints”. Sprints, which typically last anywhere from 2-4 weeks, are collection of tasks that the marketing team will complete in the given timeframe. Because the cycle time between idea, execution and feedback is much shorter than if they were to work from a longer one year plan marketers can quickly identify what is working, what needs to be improved, and reset their path accordingly.
The definition of marketing is changing – We now have access to a whole new tool kit which offers new channels and tactics, measurable ROI and free distribution.
Start creating scalable marketing strategies – If you wanted to double the impact of your marketing you would have to double your investment? If the answer is yes then you need to re-evaluate how you are spending your marketing dollars.
Iterate, Iterate, Iterate – Stop focusing on big bang campaigns and start trying small, frequent tests to help improve your marketing on a continuous basis. Iteration reduces waste and helps you identify the most profitable tactics and channels much faster.
Want to find out what it would take to put inbound marketing to work for your organization?
Join us on Thursday, June 5th at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site for Inbound Marketing Week. We will discuss what exactly Inbound Marketing is and how it is helping companies of all shapes and sizes grow their bottom line.
Tickets are free but are very limited.