In his insightful blog post "Lean Advertising," James Hurman contrasts the principles of "agile development" adopted by start-up incubators, with the now discredited "cloistered R&D processes" practiced by "lumbering pariahs."
He then wonders whether this approach could be applied to the advertising business? After all, “as nice as luxuriating for months in our own thinking up and crafting of a beautiful advertising thing" can be, isn’t that the same mentality the old product developers had?
As I continued to read, there was a nagging familiarity to it all.
Start small, learn as you go, let the market show you the way.
Then it occurred to me: that's essentially what we in the performance television business - DRTV and the like - have been doing for decades.
For a relatively small investment it's possible to test the waters using the power of TV, with its obvious and proven sound + pictures benefits, not to mention its extensive reach. You can test multiple executions, with various offers and insights. Learn as you go. Refine, adjust, repeat. And with the advent of more and more precise targeting, the data just keeps getting richer.
Perhaps the most important aspect to Lean Advertising is letting the market show you the way, making improvements based on actual consumer behavior, instead of relying on "predictive" methods like focus groups or on-line panels; we've learned that what people actually do is much more accurate than what people might tell you they'll do.
Even the notion of a "minimum viable product," meaning an advertisement in this case, is one we embrace fully. This doesn't mean cheap or schlocky. It means finding the most efficient way to deliver the most impactful message, investing just enough to succeed.
So here's to the Lean method. It's today's hottest trend for the start-up crowd. And it's something we've been doing for years. Just didn't have a cool label for it. Thank you, Mr. Hurman.
Source: "Lean Advertising?" Warc.com