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Digital marketers come in many different shapes, sizes and forms. Some of us are creatives, some of us loves connecting dots, some are wordsmith while others just love community building. Generally, none can complain it as a boring field. Most of us just like to be able to do something different, to push boundaries and perhaps give birth to something truly captivating in our very own niche.

Of course, there are 2 sides of the coin. We can sometimes be seen as cost centers, always hungry for more budget. After all, we have an insatiable appetite to fuel our ideas and ideals of what amazing customer experience and communication is about. But the tussle to get budget approval from management is a challenging one. Always needing to feel like magicians who can churn more out of very little. Almost spiteful at times at the lack of visions of “commoners” who simply doesn’t understand our vision.

No, not one of our quotes from legendary Oligvy or visionary entrepreneur Steve Jobs can seem to get buy in. We tried ROI graphs, table & charts to appeal to our fellow CFOs but to no avail too to secure the “must have” campaign.

Finally the big promo season arrives, we can finally justify our very existence for the year and make that dent in the universe (& hopefully win some awards). We are given the huge budget we have been crying out for, launched the beautiful site with the most immersive content & UI we can think of. The pressure starts, how do we know if it will actually convert? What if at the end of our huge launch with huge spend, only cricket silence comes to our greeting?

Well this is a not an exaggeration of the anxiety that marketers in the real world goes through. Spending 6 figures per month on building up “awareness” then receiving meagre online sales return in subsequent months. Was it the creatives problem? Or the web? Or the media? Some finger pointing is no surprise. In fact, none of this is surprising.

There might be a better way. If we look into all the mega companies that came out of the Silicon Valley tech world, they launch and learn through a lean and iterative methodology. Systematic, perhaps less flair but hyper effective.

When a big budget campaign flop, you are probably not outgun (you had your budget) – You are out-validated. It is better to launch small, gather data and validate your ratios before scaling huge to maximise return. If it works well, you have unlimited return (until you hit saturation point), if it doesn’t, you simply cut loss without huge loss/waste of marketing budgets.

With all the different accounts and product sales campaigns that we have managed, we start by figuring out the unit of economics and use it to create performance simulation & forecast to know the key ratios to aim for breakeven or profitability. With that, we formulate experiment plans and test branches to validate some ideas (based on performance metrics) that we might have about what the audience wants. This is applied on both performance marketing or even Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) practices by our team.

This might seem a tad tedious and in reverse order of the “marketing funnel” that typical goes huge awareness campaign then believing sales will trickle in later on. But it is risky to bet on that for new stores, new products or new market. This is especially true for small and mid market brands who might not have as deep pocket.

We have consistently seen hockey stick growth chart after the “slower”, data gathering & validation phase. Clients that started out new digitally with small spending has also scaled their digital advertising spending and returns by multiple folds with the same methodology over time.

So yes, marketing is still a fun, creative and experiential career where budget can be grown with smaller and leaner launches. This methods helps you gain credibility and confidence by aligning with your bosses (business owners) interest to protect the downside with asymmetrical upsides return for them.