Fixing Startup Marketing

The Lean & Agile Practitioner

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Four Areas of Focus

I focus on the following four areas to help startups build strong foundations for marketing and enterprise success:

  1. Embrace third party specialist marketing resources and platforms
  2. Nurture marketing leaders
  3. Adopt Lean and Agile

1. Make marketing more approachable and easier to grasp

Marketing is overwhelming, and it scares away people. Startup entrepreneurs need good resources (i.e. advisers, training programs, tools) that will give them the broad scope of marketing (I am avoiding the use of “full scope” here as every marketing is different). Once they get a grasp of that, confidence level to tackle marketing and marketing organization building should go up.

2. Embrace third party specialist marketing resources and platforms

The idea is to significantly supplement the startup’s marketing hires with a syndicated approach to tapping into 3rd party resources of different specialties (both individuals and service providers), and various marketing technology platform providers. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of such specializations:

  • Digital asset management and marketing resource management
  • Social media marketing, monitoring, community management
  • Influencers, advocacy, loyalty and referral marketing
  • Account based marketing
  • Marketing data, optimization, personalization, testing, analytics, performance and attribution
  • SEO, search, social, native advertising management
  • Customer intelligence, CX/UX, web experience, CMS
  • Marketing automation, campaign management
  • Sales automation, CRM, lead management

3. Nurture marketing leaders

Finding a strong marketing lead is a hiring challenge and even after the hire there’s still the question of fit and efficacy. In my opinion, nurturing marketing leaders among your own people is an encouraged option: my belief is that marketing is complex but it can be learned. And as marketing is a very human business, look for the people with strong empathy and emotional intelligence — you may find that you already have talent within your team.

4. Adopt Lean and Agile

And final point, I like Lean and Agile because they are good working frameworks for businesses facing strong uncertainties, which is pretty much the definition of startups. The challenge is that we are so ingrained in traditional waterfall project management ways and hierarchical functional organization structures. Even the younger generation are not immune to this as our educational and social systems is very waterfall, hierarchical and functional.

Where to Start

Pick up a book. Here are some recommended reads.

Written by

Complexity Handling, Enabling Conversations - Behavioral Coach (ICF ACC), Agile Scrum (PSM II, PSPO), Lean, Design Thinking Trainer, Facilitator -

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