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What is Scrappy Marketing and Why Is It Beneficial?

March 20th, 2019 Andrew Warren-Payne

As marketers, we can be a picky bunch. In an effort to put our best foot forward, we often use brand guidelines, tone-of-voice documents, and documented approval processes. We check and double check our work, asking for everyone to go over a fine-tuned piece of copy.

In an age where a print ad, a brochure or a quarterly thought leadership article in the trade press was all that needed to happen, getting things perfect was a noble goal. There’s no way to edit a magazine after it’s been printed.

But in today’s digital age, we simply don’t have the time to do all of this. Targets don’t wait while we revise a whitepaper, and our colleagues in sales aren’t going to hold back from reaching out to prospects in the absence of perfect collateral.

And to add to this, startups and new competitors don’t wait either. Content now needs to be always on to stand above the noise. So what approach should we be taking?

What is scrappy marketing – and is it an answer?

Look up the term scrappy and you’ll see a number of definitions. Merriam-Webster defines the term as referring to “having an aggressive and determined spirit.” The Oxford English Dictionary adds that it is something “consisting of disorganized, untidy or incomplete parts.”

Meanwhile, Urban Dictionary offers “someone or something that appears dwarfed by a challenge but more than compensates for seeing inadequacies through will, persistence and heart”. It also suggests that it could describe “a person who is little but can really kick some ass.”

Nick Westergaard, author of the book Get Scrappy and someone who also quotes from Urban Dictionary, says that a scrappy approach to marketing is simply “doing more with less”.

We suggest scrappy marketing is all of the above. Standing out above the noise in the digital age requires persistence and determination – particularly when going against better-established peers and competitors. It means getting rid of perfectionism, being comfortable with putting forward marketing that isn’t polished to the finest sheen. And it’s about being creative, finding out ways to get the most out of your marketing efforts even when you don’t have all the answers.
In short – if you’re limited on time and resource but still want to achieve great results – scrappy marketing is an approach you should be taking.

Why is scrappy marketing beneficial?

Here are a few reasons why being scrappy can benefit your marketing team.

It places an emphasis on getting it done, rather than being perfect

Marketing at its heart is about putting out a message. Scrappy marketing is about doing that quickly and resourcefully.

Professionals today rely heavily on both researching their own problems and being presented with new approaches. A recent report by PathFactory and Heinz Marketing found that 92% of marketers say content is either very important or important to their decision-making process, while 48% say they have started a buying journey because they or their coworkers have come across an interesting piece of content from a supplier.

As scrappy methods are more likely to result in marketing being available more quickly and at higher volume, they fit more closely with how prospects start their own buying journeys. Any moment spent waiting to publish is a moment where a prospect could be consuming your content.

Through an always-on approach, scrappy marketing allows you to build both visibility and engagement as your prospects enter the buying journey.

Building campaigns helps you to learn by doing

One of the most common models now being adopted is that popularised in the book The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The approach emphasizes that the most effective way to learn about a new product is to get it to a minimally-viable version to market, measure its performance, and apply the findings to future iterations.

The same is true for marketing. By running campaigns quickly and measuring their performance, you can use this data to improve the next time you do it.

You can also learn about the tools and technology as you do so, meaning you and your teams becomes more efficient over time.

Speed, volume and personality helps you to cut above bigger players

While the competition will loom large, if you can connect with your audience more frequently by taking a more nimble approach – and showcase your personality while doing so – you can build greater engagement with them, increasing the chance that you will be on their short list when considering a solution.

Furthermore, people love the underdog – as highlighted in a study featured in the Harvard Business Review, which demonstrated that buyers naturally gravitate towards underdog brands, particularly if they too feel a sense of struggling in tough circumstances.

Being rough around the edges makes us human

Nobody is perfect – so if we’re looking to build genuine connections with people, why should our marketing be perfect?

By demonstrating our vulnerabilities and being open about them, we can start to market in a way that makes our buyers more receptive to our efforts at building a connection.

How does this apply to webinars?

Webinars are a great place to start with a scrappy approach to marketing. You can put yourself in front of an audience, engage with them in real-time, and learn how to do it better next time.

In addition, webinar content can be repurposed, made available on-demand, and provide a rich source of data for both sales intelligence and marketing insight.

And if you’re already running webinars, going scrappy can act as an interesting method to driving up the volume of your content and lifting your results.

Finally – is this article scrappy?

Yes, it is! As proof, find below the notes that were written in putting this together – and enabled this post to reach you in quick time.