Recently I obtained my MBA from Babson College, the #1 ranked school for entrepreneurship for 20 years in a row. I learned many things, among them learning about the agile/lean start-up methodology. Originally developed for software development, this process helps to create products faster and with more frequent feedback from customers, as opposed to the old model of huge investments before ever testing products in the market. In the entrepreneurship world, this process is used to test assumptions in your business model, so you don’t end up spending a ton of time and money on an idea that isn’t going to work!
What I realized is that we’ve been employing the lean start-up methodology at Social Fulcrum for several years! However instead of developing software, we’ve been developing cutting edge client campaigns that leverage the Art+Science of social media and online marketing. Traditional agencies spend a ton of our time (read: client money) campaigns for months before launching, only to find that the campaign wasn’t very successful. Instead, we spend the first months of client campaigns testing, validating, reshaping, and gaining feedback from ideas, in a process called iteration. This allows us to learn quickly which messages resonate with client target audiences, which media are most effective, etc., all before we spend a ton of client money on media buys, partnerships, or creative work that we think is a good idea (but don’t really know for sure).
We see this as a more authentic, effective, and modern approach to advertising. Although this movement is gaining traction in the agency world, I’m proud to say we’ve been doing it since before it was cool.