We Are Not Just Another Marketing Consultancy
Frustrated with standard work processes, we adopted 'ready, fire, aim'
FlashPointLabs analyzed the process, friction, and breakdown points for a typical consulting engagement, and realized that – as with software programming – the mutability of the tools and work product enable a focus on execution over planning.
Another reason for execution is this: marketing is dealing with game theory, or strategy; that is to say consumers, the public, your leads, your traffic comprise a complex system with divergent interests (they are self-interested) and their own agency. Like your children and your pets, they will make liars of you every time, and they don’t do what you want them to do. Ever. This is foundational to understanding Web 2.0 marketing: they do what they want to do. What serves them. They are self-interested.
We can’t predict what the ocean or climate will do in a day or a week, with supercomputers. So, the focus on planning – ahead of actions that generate signals from traffic and leads – is an amusing conceit. It is useless, and the hallmark of novice marketers. After months of data and lagging-edge analysis of gross consumer behavior, you can produce models and speculate about next quarter – which will be less useful than creating content and actually getting the win. Energy and time spent watching yourself win is energy and time that could have been spent winning, more.
Planning To Meet, And Meeting To Plan, To Watch Ourselves Not Execute The Engineered Friction Points Of The Average Work Engagement
Examining the way most businesses and corporations work, FlashPointLabs recognized that otherwise intelligent people were ‘Planning to meet to discuss watching themselves not work; celebrating the rare occasion when their mediocre outcomes matched their mediocre projections.’ It sounds cynical, but this is how a lot of ‘work’ proceeds. Many work conventions are systems designed by geniuses, for use – sadly – by idiots. Alternatively, many are arbitrary evolutionary upshots from internal adaptive pressures – which could include bad managers, personnel cutbacks, company mergers, politics and nepotism. They are human beings made to play Twister with their tasks; without creativity, or enthusiasm, or rhythm, or custody, or purpose.
But what if you had a kind of Gifted And Talented workplace? What could extraordinary people do, if left to work the way they wanted? Examining most work environments –
- We found superfluous meetings; we found meetings that led to still more unnecessary meetings;
- We found unnecessary planning, when there were no project dependencies and the work was being done on mutable platforms that could accommodate immediate action;
- We found cumbersome monitoring deployed at the expense of productivity;
- We found projections taking the place of outcomes, and data models that were conflated with the performance itself, which was often sub-par;
- We found people earnestly working on accurate modeling, when the blueprint is not the building, and validated learning would come only from execution;
- We found groupthink and consensus-seeking subject to the whims and input from arbitrary team members;
- We found workers who were locked into repeating the same boring task or working within a limited scope – which is not how one maintains either enthusiasm or quality;
- We found processes that denied individual contributors their natural need for creativity, and the custody that comes from end-to-end work;
- Similarly, we found the use of teams when an individual contributor could provide a more coherent solution with greater efficiency and fewer holdups;
- We found work cultures that espoused, engendered, or condoned co- and micro-managing;
- We found endless process interruptions and friction points that slowed momentum and damaged morale (documentation, permission-seeking, etc.);
To wit, we discovered smart people were mistaking the model of the thing (the plan) with the actual thing (the execution), planning and talking about work that could be executed on-the-fly, most shockingly when the only way to learn when dealing with a game-theory scenario (complex system with divergent interests and its own agency) is through executing and optimizing.
We adopt a ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach at FlashPointLabs, with cross-functional experts who are the single point person for a marketing engagement. They delegate to creative (ad) experts when necessary. It’s not a ‘rule by committee’, that yields mediocre and uninspired work over a period of months.
At the same time, like many leading marketers, we became convinced that Internet search had changed the Buyer Journey; that buyers drive a journey that runs on the pursuit of buyer-centric (helpful, unbiased) content. So, if buyer-centric content drives the Buyer Journey, why was most of the content seller-centric (ads and brochures)? Most of the time, marketing was being done wrong, and, similarly, most of the time, consulting engagements were far less efficient than they could be. These insights were combined, tested, optimized, and realized in FlashPointLabs.
A Work Structure, Process And Philosophy That Foster 'Impossible' fficiency You *Can* Produce More, Of A Higher Quality, Cheaper; Here's How
- Our consultants take one client at a time. It lets us absorb your voice, and not waste time switching between clients.
- Our consultants are the single engagement through-point, enabling project speed, cohesion, and accountability.
- Our consultants have end-to-end marketing skills, so things gets done, efficiently, and not handed-off.
- Our consultants’ functional experience spans managerial to technical, and creative to analytical.
- We’re knowledgeable about technology, making us a natural fit for tech startups who need efficiency and results.
- Clients are ‘inside a wine bottle, unable to read their own label’. Their input informs messaging, and they approve creatives, but they are not involved in the process of our work. We are painters, not paintbrushes, permitting efficiency.
- We recognized that digital marketing is very much like software development; their tools, processes, and platforms are mutable, and editable. This permits Lean and Agile methodologies that put execution ahead of meetings and planning.
- We reject the standard 2% paid search click-through rate, and embrace the reality of the buyer-driven sales cycle. We combined best practices with content that pulls clients, rather than pushing unwanted and costly ads on buyers.
Companies Make Seller-Centric Content, Interrupting To Talk About Themselves But Sales Are Buyer-Driven, And Feed On Buyer-Centric Content
Zack West, FlashPointLabs’ founder and president, is a UC Berkeley graduate who grew up in northwestern Connecticut. Zack resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Zack is among elite performance marketers who recognize that Internet search has fundamentally changed the way we buy. Experts like Mark W. Schaefer, Gary Vaynerchuk, Marcus Sheridan, and Joe Pulizzi, agree: ads and brochures – seller-centric copy (companies talking about themselves, rather than offering help to customers as they search) – has never had less value than it does right now. We avoid something like 7,000 ads a day.
Buyers begin their ‘Buyer Journey’ (Or ‘Buyer’s Journey’ if you prefer) with search, and want to be left alone as they search. Just like you. Only at the very end of the Buyer’s Journey, when their decision is effectively (80%) made, do they want to see, read, or hear you talking about yourself in ads or brochures.
The irony of this is that we have never had more intelligence about what buyers want, where they go, and how they behave. Rather than interpreting the almost universal avoidance of ads and brochures as a problem, marketers typically apply technologies in ever-more-interruptive ways.
FlashPointLabs accepts the reality that the content buyers seek drives the Buyer Journey. The best a smart company can do is produce and offer that content through a website, social media or video platform; even if they are placing ads – those ads do far better offering content rather than asking for clicks or sales. We handle all marketing needs, but extraordinary wins in the Web 2.0 world demand thought-leading, buyer-centric, content.