For some reason, there has been an odd animosity between entrepreneurs and marketing professionals. Startups and agencies have been battling over talent; some agency professionals believe some of this startup culture is fly-by-night, while some startup entrepreneurs believe the agency model is too heavy, bumbling, and outdated.
In some cases, both are right.
But that doesn't mean we have to be against each other. In fact, we think that entrepreneurs and marketers have more in common than we have differences, and both industries need each other in order to survive in this changing business landscape.
As the startup industry continues to grow, and AdLand continues to shift into whatever model it decides to be, there is going to be conflict. That is only natural. When talking of organizational development, one of our favorite speakers talks about the "storming" phase of building a team. Entrepreneurs and marketing professionals will disagree occasionally. Some founders will prefer the "lean marketing" model, where they dedicate resources to building a solid product and little else. Marketing professionals may prefer the "inbound method," creating as much content as possible in order to draw the consumer in, then capturing them with both information and a decent product.
Many startups pioneer the idea of giving products away for free until a following develops. Some marketing professionals may find that ridiculous.
But according to the case studies we've read, and what we've been a part of ourselves, there doesn't seem to be an entirely correct answer. The "right" strategy is the strategy that fits the team, the target market, and the product.
Both marketing and startup professionals will know that.
Entrepreneurs need marketers in order to tell their story. Marketers need entrepreneurs because they need new stories ready to be told. Our relationship shouldn't be antagonistic, but symbiotic. Let's agree that the minor differences in opinion are indeed minor, and let's start focusing on the major future successes we can have when innovative entrepreneurs and strategic marketers work together.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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