Eric Berman is a former Facebook marketing executive and now Head of Digital Strategy at Womenkind. He brings with him a 20-plus year track record of building brands and consulting with marketing leaders within large organizations, start-ups and entrepreneurial environments. Eric believes every successful digital strategy starts with an important tool called the “Hackshop.” We recently asked Eric to help explain help what goes into this process and how brands can see results.
Let’s start with the basics, what exactly is a Hackshop?
A Hackshop is a concentrated 1-2 day work session that allow us to transform ideas into a working digital strategy and game plan. It gets the entire marketing team – client and agency partners, involved, jazzed and 100% bought-in. We came up with the idea after attending so many “brainstorms” and “workshops” that were either unaspiring, unproductive and/or completely impractical. We think a better approach is combining the traditional workshop with “hacking”– a term used by software engineers that describes creatively overcoming limitations & obstacles to achieve a novel solution. We find the “hackshop’ to be an incredibly powerful and vital tool digital marketing, which tends to have many resource constraints, complexity and stakeholders.
What is ultimately the output from the workshops?
The hackshop often leads to a written digital “playbook” for clients, that ties all digital activities to business outcomes. This could include things like the brand voice, content plans, media, and measurement & learning. Having a written playbook sounds basic, but you would be surprised how many brands lack this, and sometime allow the “tail to wag the dog”, where tactics determine strategy, vs. the other way around. In addition, the level of enthusiasm and excitement the team generates around a digital strategy is awesome.
Who attends from client side and on the average, how many?
The most important attended is the business or brand leader. This could be the CMO or Marketing Director. Senior level sponsorship and engagement is critical for success. From there it depends on the brand and stakeholders. Typically, we like to see representation from the creative, media, and insights – both internal and external. Less people are better, and we want the folks that are making the decisions and “doing” to attend.
What types of clients or brands would most benefit from doing a Hackshop?
I think any brand that is looking to invest in digital to drive significant business results would benefit. Some questions I think marketers should ask themselves to determine if they need a “hackshop”:
- Are my digital activities tied to business outcomes – driving sales or building brand equity or some combination of both?
- Are my production or non-working costs out of whack proportionally with my working or media?
- Is my brand voice consistent and recognizable across channels?
- Am I employing best practice on key platforms – Facebook and Google.
- Do I have a clear learning agenda and measurement plan?
What’s the most common mistake marketers make on digital platforms?
A common pitfall is fragmenting digital investment across too many tactics and platforms, especially unproven “shiny objects. Spreading your marketing across too many tactics can duplicate reach, eat up production dollars, and become a resource drain on your team. The reality is that most brands don’t need to look past Facebook and Google, yet the same brands are not leveraging the data and best practice on either platform to maximize results. So, it’s really about doing fewer, bigger, and better.
What measurement metrics are most relevant to brand success?
Business metrics. If your CFO doesn’t care about the metrics you are using, and you do not have clear idea on ROI – your using the wrong ones!
After five years at Facebook what do you believe the biggest impact the platform has had on the way brands engage with consumers?
Facebook to me is the great equalizer – it allows any brand with a great story, with any budget to advertise with sight, sound & motion to the right person in the right context. The key is having a great story! Before Facebook, even if you had this story, consumer brands had to achieve regional or national level of scale to begin advertising. So, this changes the game – for small upstart brands, as well as how larger, more established brands go to market.
What’s the next big trend in digital?
I think we are past “mobile first” and at a “mobile only “point for many brands. Brands are just beginning to understand how to become “data inspired” – using new available data and insights to drive creativity and inspire bigger and better ads. For example, a relatively new source of data we are just scratching the surface is location. I think media and ad tech has been all over this, but are marketers and creative agencies thinking about location more strategically and to inspire better ideas?
Contact: Eric@womenkind.net to learn more about how your brand can benefit from a Hackshop.