Spring is finally here, and it’s time to go outside and get that garden ready! Purists probably won’t agree, but I’ve always been partial to a product called “Miracle Grow”. Besides the great name, it’s had the same green and yellow branding forever, and that really cool blue coloring!
So, is there a Miracle Grow equivalent for your marketing campaign this spring? Not exactly – but it turns out that natural systems do have some powerful strategies that can be applied for driving hyper-growth across a thriving marketing ecosystem. A recent article in Scientific American titled “Building a Resilient Business Inspired by Biology” explains how natural systems are especially good models in times of rapid change: “Biological systems, which have evolved the properties of robustness and resilience on multiple timescales, offer valuable lessons on how to manage under extreme uncertainty. Resilient biological and social systems display six characteristics, all of which are directly applicable to business.”
Spring is here, and it’s time to kick your marketing into hyper-growth. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, by applying these six bio hacks to your marketing ecosystem, resilient results will be in full bloom before you know it.
“Duplication of elements may be inefficient but can provide a buffer against the unexpected.”
Whether it’s having alternate marketing automation platforms, “Plan B” content, or alternate sources of talent – there are numerous ways to build redundancy into your marketing campaigns. That way when things go wrong (which sooner or later they always do) you will not be taken by surprise. Furthermore, redundancy in a marketing-driven information environment does not create large inventories, making it a very cost-effective fail-safe. Redundant materials become the fertilizer for continuous growth.
“Different types of elements make it possible to react to unexpected change and avoid correlated responses across a system, which can lead to total system failure.” Diversity of content not only helps to reach a wider audience, but it also helps to insulate your marketing from over-reliance on just one campaign or positioning concept. Don’t be afraid to have overlapping campaigns in motion. That way if market conditions shift, you won’t be caught flat-footed if one strategy suddenly loses traction.
“Separate modules, loosely linked, can act like circuit breakers to help prevent the collapse of a system.” While marketing integration is certainly important as your audience moves across various touch points, it is important to develop each channel as its own thriving community with unique content pieces. For example, if your Twitter account is hacked, your other social communities will remain up and running, giving you the ability to stay active and recover quickly. Modularity provides depth and flexibility to your campaigns, and also helps to quickly exploit new opportunities.
“Rapid adjustment to new circumstances protects a system against the negative effects of change.” This in many ways can be the most powerful marketing bio hack, but also the most difficult to implement because teams get so locked into plans and projections that they start ignoring market signals that are telling them to change course. Pay attention, and be ready to change quickly to meet the changing demands of the marketplace. Don’t be afraid to prune back initiatives that are no longer working!
“While the future may not be foreseeable, downside scenarios can often be plausibly envisioned.” What if your product approval is delayed? What if your budget is cut? What if demand does not meet projections? What if a new rival enters the market? These scenarios happen all the time, yet it remains rare for marketing teams to have contingency plans in place when these common events happen. Don’t get caught off guard. Constantly assess the market, and test your content in real-time. Then, take time to plan ahead for likely scenarios, and plan to grow in the midst of change, not merely survive.
“Most systems are embedded within larger systems… Reciprocity and mutual benefit between levels are essential for stability and continuity.” Marketing ecoystems are just one part of a larger enterprise. Building embeddedness means creating both technical and interpersonal links across the larger organization. Do you know the latest sales strategy? Are there IT road maps that will impact your marketing technology choices? Is regulatory onboard with your new channel innovation? Make sure that your marketing ecosystem in well-established across the entire company so that there are resources available to support your ongoing growth.
Together these six bio hacks – Redundancy, Heterogeneity, Modularity, Adaptation, Prudence, and Embeddedness – offer a powerful framework for marketers to evaluate and strengthen their overall marketing mix. When applied together these bio hacks work even better than Miracle Grow, creating the conditions for a growing and resilient marketing ecosystem, ready to withstand changes and challenges in any season.