08 April 2014

Startup Land Has No Boundaries

If you’re going from Ad Land to Startup Land, start by going down to the corner of Media and Technology.

Once you’re there, ditch the Ad Land GPS.  Now you’re Lewis and Clark, mapping new territory as best you can.

Games Without Frontiers

Ad Land has generally well-defined borders, with clients, agencies and media staking out the principal territories.  As more specialized marketing disciplines emerged, so did specialized agencies.  For the most part, though, everyone knows who does what.

Second of a series
Startup Land has no such boundaries.  Technology develops so quickly that new companies and new products come to market all the time.  Many merge or form alliances.  Others go bankrupt or get acquired.  It takes a keen eye to keep track.

In Ad Land people categorize things to understand them, which tends to create new buzzwords.  Sometimes this has the opposite effect when terms like “native advertising” and “content marketing” are used too broadly for anyone to define them.

In Startup Land people are focused on an idea regardless of the silo in which it might belong.  WhatsApp – price tag $19 Billion – is a veritable Ginsu Knife of mobile technology that’s hard to categorize except by the type of protocol it uses, XMPP.

In a way, this should be an ad exec’s dream:  You can name not only your product benefit but also its frame of reference.  That can evolve, too.  When Facebook first emerged, remember that we called it a “microblogging platform”.

Lack of Fences Makes Good Neighbors

Because Startup Land has no boundaries, it is easy to form alliances with other entities.  In fact, it is critical to form those alliances because very few startups work alone.

My little barrio in Startup Land concerns Digital Place-based Media, or the seemingly ubiquitous screens you see in elevators, on the gasoline pump or at the doctor’s office, among dozens of other places.  I realized right away that the future of this medium is engagement – and that we had to search the barrio to find neighbors who could help us.

Going through the same steps outlined in the previous post, we faced our circumstance, worked our network and, cruising through that busy intersection of media and technology, found two companies that can help our existing clients – and help us both find new clients to add to the roster.

Curiosity and Networking Go Together

Startup Land has no boundaries, and that’s a good thing.  If you’re considering going there from Ad Land, don’t bring a GPS.  Do bring a strong sense of curiosity and be ready to walk around a lot.

You won’t have to walk alone, and that’s what we’ll talk about in the next post.

Next:  Startup Land, Where Technology and Marketing Work Together

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