Get Scrappy
eBook - ePub

Get Scrappy

Nick Westergaard

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  1. 247 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Get Scrappy

Nick Westergaard

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About This Book

Marketing is changing rapidly, so sometimes it's hard to keep up. Don't get frustrated, get scrappy.

It's an exciting time to be in marketing, with an array of equalizing platforms from the Internet to social media to content marketing, that have reset the playing field for businesses large and small. Yet, it's also a challenging time, with much work to do and an ever-changing array of platforms, features, and networks to master--all on tighter budgets than ever before.

In Get Scrappy, chief brand strategist Nick Westergaard weaves hacks, tips, and idea starters together to provide a plan of attack for businesses of any size to:

  • Demystify digital marketing in a way that makes sense for your business
  • Do more with less
  • Build a strong brand with something to say
  • Create relevant and engaging content for your social media platforms
  • Spark dialogue with your community of customers
  • Measure what matter

The result will be a reliable, repeatable system for building your brand, creating engaging content, and growing your community of customers. Don't wait for marketing to reinvent itself. Instead, proactively reinvent your company's marketing to maximize its reach!

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Part One



Chapter 1



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.
Sounds pretty logical, right? And yet, too many marketers are quick to rush in and start marketing without a plan in place. That’s why we’re beginning our journey with three critical smart steps you can’t skip. Here in Chapter 1, you’ll discover that although marketing has changed significantly in recent years, what’s behind it has not. The tactics may have changed but the underlying strategy remains. You still need to build a strong brand with something to say. This is easier said than done. Along the way, we’ll unpack a simple five-step blueprint you can use to help you define your brand.
In Chapter 2, you’ll throw stuffy strategies out the window and instead map a path to marketing success. With a brand packed up and a journey plotted, you can start selecting the social media and digital marketing tools that will take you to your destination. Once again, Shiny New Things distract. That’s why you’ll need the digital compass presented in Chapter 3. This compass will help you find your way and determine what digital channels work best when.
As you build a smart, scrappy foundation, you need some context to understand how we got here.


Why is marketing so different today? As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says in explaining a simple little topic like the universe, “Knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you’re going.”1 Marketing has always been a tool for helping people and organizations share their wares with the hopes of producing profitable exchanges. Marketing communication has essentially been a megaphone for gaining attention.
But that marketing megaphone has changed a bit over the past several centuries. You could say that new media was born in Germany in the 1400s when Gutenberg revolutionized printing technology, enabling the first form of mass communication. And for the next 400 years, marketing was driven by print, from posters and newspapers to magazines and catalogs. There probably weren’t as many books about navigating media shifts as several centuries passed without any major shifts!
It wasn’t until the early 20th century that we had our senses of sound and sight awoken by radio, television, and the birth of broadcast media. This new media shift had an easy-to-understand dynamic. As there were only a few ways to reach the masses, more radio and TV ads sold more products and got companies more shelf space, which they could use to buy even more ads. Bigger was better, making this the birth of the Myth of Big as well. Only big brands with big budgets could do truly big things.
While we didn’t go hundreds of years before the next media shift, broadcast advertising ruled most of the 20th century. In addition to bringing us Nirvana and 90210, the ’90s also brought the first widespread use of the Internet. And with it, the most rapidly evolving form of media. From email marketing (still a formidable force which we’ll discuss later in the book) to this past decade’s Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, each new digital innovation has quickly found its way onto the radars of marketers.
It’s easy to look at this timeline and think only of the rapid rate of change—the chaos that has disrupted the slow and steady climb of traditional, bigger-is-better media. However, we can’t lose sight of the baseline. The common denominator. All of these tools help us build better brands. Now we have even more tools to do this. But to fully leverage this new marketing megaphone we first have to ensure that there’s something behind it.
We have to take a look at the brand behind the megaphone.


Branding? Really?? Yes, really.
Like the Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers Weekend Update bit from Saturday Night Live, we really do have to talk about branding. (I said these were steps you can’t skip.) Some roll their eyes at the very mention of branding. To some it’s a dated construct. For others it’s esoteric, touchy-feely homework that seems disconnected from bottom-line impact. Marketers may even view branding as yet another obstacle standing in the way as they launch their new digital efforts.
Even in today’s fragmented culture, brands still matter. We’re constantly reminded of the climbing user rates on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, yet another metric often falls through the cracks—something called “brand-following behavior,” a measure of the rate at which individuals follow brands on social networks. In recent years, along with increases in engagement on social networks, brand-following behavior has doubled according to The Social Habit study conducted by Edison Research.2 In their more comprehensive Infinite Dial study, Edison and partner Triton Digital found that one third of Americans age 12 and up knowingly follow brands on social media.3
Combine this with the fact that people by and large enjoy interacting on social media, and the opportunity for brands is clear. (When was the last time data reported high engagement levels with billboards and press releases? Has your brand-following behavior doubled for print ads?)
If you need further proof, The Social Habit also shows that even among a large national sample, when asked “which brand stands out on social media,” we see it’s a list of the usual suspects: Nike, Apple, Starbucks. At a glance, you could think that this just confirms the Myth of Big. A closer look reveals that these mega brands with millions of dollars and several decades of marketing muscle behind them all only rank in the single digits.
What does this mean for us? It means that these new forms of digital media have the potential to be a great brand equalizer. Scrappy marketers might not expect to fare well on a poll of who’s the most dominant TV advertiser, but new media levels the playing field in ways that we’ve never seen in the history of marketing.
It’s only fitting that Lee Clow, the adman responsible for some of broadcast media’s most prolific work, including Apple’s 1984 and iconic iPod ads, would issue the best caution to marketers too quick to jump into the next big thing without first defining their brand. “The reality of the new media world is that if your brand does not have a belief, if it does not have a soul and does not correctly architect its messages everywhere it touches consumers, it can become irrelevant. It can be ignored, or even become a focal point for online contempt.”4 In short, you have to be something before you can build something.
The marketing megaphone may have changed, but making sure there’s something behind it matters more than ever. That’s why the critical first step in getting scrappy with your marketing is making sure your brand is clearly defined. As long as we’re defining things, let’s consider the definition of a brand.


Any good semantic exploration should start in a dictionary with a basic understanding of the word. Surprisingly, in a number of dictionaries our modern business-focused definition has overtaken the word’s earliest meaning, which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is “a piece of wood that is or has been burning on a hearth.”5 The American Heritage Dictionary shows as its first (not earliest) definition: “A trademark or distinctive name identifying a product, service, or organization.”6 This sense is also first in the Random House Unabridged (
Not a bad definition, but instead of relying on a dictionary, let’s use the definition I employ when working with clients and speaking with businesses big and small:
A brand can be any noun (person, place, or thing) that needs another party to take action (purchase, promote, advocate, and so on). A brand does this by creating a series of ideas and touch points that build a larger message which draws the desired audience close, engages them emotionally, and inspires them to take action.
Any brand can get scrappy, which is why it’s important to make sure we have a broad definition of what a brand is. Using this definition we can apply these insights and those that follow to any personal, professional, organizational, or product brand.
A brand can be a . . .
Business: Nike, Apple, Starbucks
Product: Air Max, Apple Watch, Verisimo
Organization/institution: Humane Society, Planned Parenthood, Harvard
Person: Professionals, politicians, and celebrities such as Tony Robbins, Barack Obama, and Taylor Swift
Place:Communities, cities, or countries such as North Carolina’s Research Triangle, Chicago, the United States
Something undefinable: Things that fall in the spaces between but still need others to rally around them, like our landmarks and special causes
It’s not a stretch to say that really anything in this day and age can be a brand. It doesn’t matter if you’re a solo entrepreneur, a corporate marketing manager for a Fortune 500 company, or a communications manager for a town of 500. We’re all in the brand-building business.
Now that we have established the comforting fact that we’re all brands, let’s take a look at some of the misappropriations of this construct as we look for a smart solution for defining your brand.
Your brand is not just . . .
Your logo
Your slogan, mission statement, or whatever that nice copy under your logo says
What your website says
What’s on your business cards
How your employees engage customers and prospects online and off
What others say about you
What you do on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, or the latest greatest social network
Can these items be a part of your brand? Of course. All of these items working in concert help create your brand. However, to correctly inform all of these touch points, you need a solid understanding of your brand’s identity. You can’t simply say that your brand is your logo or the new branding PowerPoint that your agency made for you. Many marketers grab hold of these brand fragments as it’s an easy way to check that “branding thing” off the list without doing the work to ensure that, as Clow said, your brand has a belief and a soul so that you can correctly architect your messages across all forms of media.
But where do you start with this?


Table of contents