If You’re Not Hacking Marketing…You’re Doing It All Wrong

What’s your average sprint length for your Minimum Viable Promotion?  How much time and money should you be spending on your “Core” vs “Edges”?

You don’t know?  Either did I.  I do now.

Scott Brinker wrote a book called Hacking Marketing to catch us (marketers) up to the speed of software.  It’s the blueprint for the modern day Chief Marketing Officer or VP of Growth.  That said, it will benefit anyone working at a tech company who is on the demand side of the equation.

Hacking Marketing will bring your team up to the speed of innovation.  If you’re familiar with Eric Ries’ Lean Start-Up and Scrum software development practices, then congratulations, but let’s not get smug about it.

Scott takes ideas from software development and shows you how to adapt them to marketing.  His ideas are an evolution.

What’s the difference between increments and iteration?   How does it affect what I do as a marketer?  Scott has you covered.

Increments get your marketing to scale through new versions of something that worked earlier.  You can apply this idea to content.  A small blog post gets a lot of engagement.  You turn it into a series.  More response.  You turn it into an eBook that people are willing to exchange their email address for.  You now have access to their most intimate of places…their inbox.

Iteration is basically conversion rate optimization.  If we use the content example above it would be changing the headline.  Changing the call-to-action.  Changing the image.  You’re not changing the message or theme, you’re changing the way it is presented.


Many successful people don’t agree with this idea.  They are wrong.  Luck comes from how many things you try.

It reminds me of a fraternity brother of mine.  He played the numbers game every night at the bar.  He was okay with “failing”.  And doing it publicly.  Funny thing is, that as we all sat in the corner making fun of him, he would eventually get lucky.  Quantity for the win.

Scott embraces this idea of quantity leading to luck.  This must be balanced.  Throwing too much “stuff” against the wall can lead to “Feature Shock” that Ramanujam and Tacke talk about in Monetizing Innovation.  It’s the context that is important.  Are you trying to make something that is for everyone?

“If we add this feature, and this one too, we can”…we know where this goes.

All sunshine and roses?  Nope.

I haven’t met Scott but hope to someday. I get the feeling that he is probably the smartest guy in the room.  He is operating way “up there”.  I like spending as much time “up there” as the next guy, but “up there” isn’t where results lie.

Hacking Marketing is a very high-level strategy and management book.  He doesn’t provide any examples of when or how he used an idea.  There is no “do this, it works.”  In his defense, he does say that this isn’t a workbook.

To really understand lean practices in your business you need to read Lean Startup by Eric Ries.  Also when he talks about platforms he doesn’t add much.  Scott knows where he is light, and provides the resources to take a deeper dive.

I use post-it flags to mark “important” ideas in books.  I think I would’ve been better off marking the pages to skip in Scott’s book.  I enjoyed Hacking Marketing, and it left me with a better understanding on how to keep up with the speed of innovation.

Read it if you’re in a demand generation role at a tech company.

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