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Just a Book, Part 4: Scalability & Talent

Courtney Beasley

Courtney Beasley

Watch this video to learn how Scott Brinker hacks marketing by balancing innovation with scalability and empowers his team!

Last week we talked about embracing innovation through continuous testing and refining. This week we’ll get into the importance of balancing innovation to maintain constant scalability.

In most respects, the digital world makes finding and infiltrating marketing touchpoints easy; however, because of the exponential amount of touchpoints, scalability can be a big challenge. That paired with the urge to embrace constant innovation calls for a look at figuring out how to balance the two. Before finding balance, it’s important to understand the differences between the two and why they are both viable parts of marketing. Innovation emphasizes experimentation, possibilities, trial and error, questioning assumptions and speed, while scalability focuses on standardization, promises, foolproof approaches, assumptions and reliability.

Despite innovation and scalability being polar opposites, balance is attainable. The key to harmony between the two is taking the edge and core approach. The edge is where innovations emerge, freedom to experiment is given and MVPs thrive. The core is where reliable operations continue to run at scale while low risk ideas are simultaneously experimented with on the edge. The two relate as successful ideas transition from the edge to the core through stage gates; however, even if an idea never makes it from the edge to the core, it is not seen as a failure. The beauty of hacking marketing is to learn from what didn’t work and develop something that does work off of those ideas.

The core and the edge work together to maintain simplicity in a team full of complex and innovative ideas. To keep balanced levels of scalability and innovation, accidental complexity must be avoided and essential complexity expertly managed. Accidental complexity is a result of poor planning and too many people rushing in to help at the end, which complicates matters further. Essential complexity is the good kind of complexity. Like a sturdy bridge made up of intricate curves and angles, essential complexity is the inherent complexity comprising what you are working towards accomplishing. A good strategy will be complex in nature, but with strategic engineering and proper planning, you can omit accidental complexity and embrace essential complexity.

Here are five crucial tools recommended by Scott to hack complexity:

  • Refactoring
  • Pair marketing
  • Loosely coupled designs
  • Exception management
  • Built in testing and monitoring

How can marketers inspire their teams to embrace the spirit of hacking?

The answer is simple, make your people important, and make it known. Give them the tools and encouragement to become full stack marketers. But what’s a full stack marketer? Much like the developer variety, a full stack marketer understands how all of the marketing layers fit together. Full stack marketing is not something you can major in during undergrad (or even get a masters in) it is something learned over time by people who truly believe in the magic and power of hacking marketing.

Thanks for following along throughout the second annual “Just a Book’ with “Hacking Marketing” and Scott Brinker. We can’t wait to see you tonight for final thoughts from the author and more on how to hack marketing.