My buddy Kevin Dugan was looking to stir the pot on Friday when he asked Tim Schigel (CEO of Share This) and me what we thought about the recent Ad Age article “Marketing Chiefs: Think Like a Start-up.” Since I’m always up for a little healthy debate, I thought I would answer in a post vs the 140 characters of Twitter.
At first glance, I agree wholeheartedly with the article and the premise that brands need to start thinking like a start-up. In fact, I’ve often said that “Brand Managers need to start acting like a VC” by placing bets with their marketing. In this new marketplace, you need to spread ten marketing bets across the table in order to succeed more often than you fail. And on that note, I have no real issue with the five basic strategies that article recommends for brands. I would even go as far to say that point #4 is must listen to advice:
- Tell consumers why your product is important.
- Sweat the samll stuff to maximize teh customer experience.
- Create leverage with every move.
- Bo bold. Be fearless.
- Embrace the inevitable
But with that I said, I think the author tripped up with two seriously misleading statements.
“To survive in this new-world disorder, brands will have to dig deeper, move faster and execute perfectly the first time, every time. Just like a start-up“: Agreed that the heart of a start-up is moving faster than the next guy…especially the big brand.
But what start-up executes perfectly the first time, every time?!?
It’s not about getting it right the first time because no one is perfect. Instead it is about having a mentality of failing fast and fixing the mistakes. That is what Big Brands need to learn from start-ups. We operate in a world of ready, aim, aim, aim, aim…maybe fire. A start-up is aim, fire, adjust… aim, fire, adjust.
“Consumers aren’t in the mood to be amused; they want to be reassured“: Really? Then how did the “Free Doritos” ad in this year’s Super Bowl get the #1 spot in the USA Today Ad Meter? Yes things are tough in the economy right now… no one can argue that. But when times are tough, it does not mean we should retreat into our homes and stop laughing. In fact, maybe we need a little more laughter instead of the constant reminder of doom and gloom. Maybe we need more brands trying to bring a smile to our face instead of talking about how bad it is out there. And on that note, lets all promise to never use the words “Depression 2.0″ ever again like they did in this article. I’m serious… stop it before it starts.
So what do you think? Did the author of “Think Like a Start-up” get the heart of the message right but miss the point in his details?