Marketing like a startup, image courtesy of the HBR

Marketing like a startup, image courtesy of the HBR

The culture of “big” — big budgets, big campaigns, big reports — has driven marketing decisions and budgets for decades. But “big” is often cumbersome and slow. In an age when consumers decide within seconds whether or not to abandon a web site, big marketers need to act more like agile startups, maneuvering and adapting in real-time. We’ve seen large companies adopt a startup mindset and cut campaign development times by 50%.

Here are four ways to pick up the pace.

1. Get serious about “test and learn”

Too often, marketers set well-defined financial goals for a campaign’s impact but fail to define clear objectives for learning about their customers. In contrast, high-performing startups constantly seek new customer insights and adjust their approach as they learn more.

A learning agenda is the first step in getting more bang for your buck with every campaign. Start with a catalog of learnings already captured and of specific learning goals for upcoming marketing programs (for example, “how can we influence 18 to 25 year olds to do X?”). Before launching a campaign, check to see which hypotheses on your learning agenda will be put to the test.

Before investing in new services, Barbara Messing, CMO of travel site TripAdvisor, puts concepts to the test by using a “dummy banner” to advertise whatever feature the company is considering. If a user clicks on the banner, she is taken to a 404 / “Not Found” message; if enough users click on the banner, the product will go into development.

Read the complete article at The Harvard Business Review