I Iterate, Therefore I Am

I got an education in Iterative Marketing this week thanks to Dave Allen at Fight. Please see “Fighting Words,” my story on AdPulp for the full rundown.

Fight is a new strategic marketing agency that emerged last year after Allen and Justin Spohn left Portland-based Nemo to join with Rob Shields of Razorfish. Fight’s big client is Pacific Gas & Electric, and their main message to marketers is THE BIG IDEA’s time has come and gone, thanks to the rise of the Internet and the cultural impact created by that watershed event.

I’m making note of it here because I believe in supporting other creative professionals in Portland (and learning all I can from my colleagues). In days gone by my instinct might have been to compete, not to share ideas and the spotlight. Today, I think it’s clear we all need one another to survive, and no one firm can do everything right. For instance, I pride myself on my strategic abilities but I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Fight as a strategic partner, if I felt that was the best solution for my client.

So, what’s Iterative Marketing and why should we care? It’s a process where a brand takes many small steps towards solving its marketing problems, versus large and expensive steps that can’t be tweaked midstream or easily undone. Each step allows for data gathering, analysis of said data and the ability to fix or change the creative on the fly. In other words, it’s the way things are built online. Take this site, or Fight’s for that matter. We’re up and running, but we’ll be making lots of improvements as we go.

Given the importance of ROI to every marketer, I believe we’re going to see and hear much more about this new framework. Personally, I came up in the industry at a time when THE BIG IDEA was sacred. But after discussing the matter with Allen, I am for the first time open to the concept that lots of small ideas, properly managed, can outperform one BIG IDEA.

It’s also interesting to see digital culture’s impact on business. Our clients and our agencies might come from the 20th century, or the 19th in some cases, but we’re in a new time now and it’s our job as communications professionals to understand what’s going on around us and to adapt our own businesses and our clients’ marketing to the new realities.

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