Mistakes, especially our own, are the best way to learn. But in general, the marketing environment hardly gives its people the opportunity to make any. All materials must be perfect, all the kinks ironed out. Sure, it’s absolutely okay when you’re working on a new logo or website. But the same thing happens without any proper reason even in marketing communication (especially in digital communication). It results not only in a waste of time and money but also the suppression of creativity and fresh ideas as well as making those involved demotivated. Experimental marketing is the way. We gave it a try as part of our preparation for this year’s iKariéra student job fair, and thanks to that, we managed to hire two new developers. Having the courage to do something bold truly paid off.
It’s mainly startups and young businesses that will benefit from this piece, but medium-sized and large companies can also learn a thing or two here. Why startups in particular? In most cases, they work with a limited budget, and only one person is in charge of the strategic and executive part of marketing activities. It is they who benefit the most from experimental marketing. This article shows how a low budget isn't necessarily a roadblock to creating unique content where the idea--one they might be afraid to execute--plays a key role.
However, this series of articles is also intended for medium-sized or larger companies that already have their own marketing team and a relatively decent budget for the whole year. It might not be a million-dollar corporate package, but it enables the implementation of larger marketing campaigns. These articles can serve as inspiration for not just setting up a team culture where colleagues are encouraged to bring in new ideas, but also making sure these ideas get driven forward without wasting more time and money than necessary.
Corporate marketing teams will also draw inspiration from here, despite all the rules they have to follow. They'll find out, for example, how to approach a crazy new creative idea pitched by an agency of theirs and give it a chance instead of just brushing it aside.
Don't do content just for content’s sake
The digital environment is exceptionally dynamic, and the amount of content produced is enormous. This, of course, forces you to generate more and more content on your social media. And we’re not talking your common text-and-photo posts but rather any activities in general that you can then inform about online. You are most likely swimming in ideas, but execution is where you might be hesitant, worrying about things like getting stuck on the sound quality of a podcast or video. Such concerns can be dispelled by hiring an agency to take care of things for you. But it costs a lot of money. And in the end, you’d rather just give up on your idea and fall back on using another nice photo with a generic caption. It's "safe", and it won’t get you in trouble (you might even get praised for it). At the same time, however, it brings almost no value to the company. What do we do with this, then?
Don't be afraid to experiment
The answer is experimental culture in marketing. Or "experimental marketing", if you will. What is it about? You try to implement ideas that may not be historically verified or perfectly executed. It's also important not to criticize each other in the team if things don’t work out. Some experiments just flop. At any rate, you will learn your lesson from these failures very quickly, and your further efforts will be all the more beneficial and successful. This will net you not only results but also joy and more marketing insights. And that's what experiments are about--tools for empirically extending your knowledge.
No, we don't want you to put aside all the commonly used marketing tools and start experimenting. We want to support you in having the courage to take the first steps and to add something fresh and new to your tried-and-true methods. At first, you might not know how it will turn out, but you'll definitely know after all is said and done. And you’ll carry that with you for the rest of your professional life.
At Applifting, we have worked like this, testing various combinations of topics and formats, for the last 6 months. We'll share specific examples and tips on how to get started with experimental marketing in future articles. If you would like to ask for specific details, get in touch with me via LinkedIn.