Get Scrappy

Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small

 Get Scrappy

Author: Nick Westergaard
Pub Date: May 2016
Print Edition: $21.95
Print ISBN: 9780814437315
Page Count: 240
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814437322

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scrappy, adjective. Describing someone or something that appears dwarfed by a challenge, but more than compen-sates for seeming inadequacies through will, persistence, and heart. (Urban Dictionary)

“Do I really need another marketing book?”

This was probably going through your head when you saw this book. Our shelves are bursting at the seams with marketing books for one simple reason: This is an exciting time to be in marketing. The Internet, social media, and content marketing have forever changed the way we build brands and market our organizations. These shifts have reset the playing field to the advantage of businesses big and small.

And yet, it’s also a frustrating time to be in marketing, as we struggle to keep up and overcome obstacles. While many under-stand the potential unleashed by these digital shifts, few are truly prepared for it. The Internet has changed how we plan, staff, manage, and measure our marketing. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and, for many businesses, resources are min-imal. We understand the why behind these marketing shifts. What many marketers struggle with is the how. How will all of this get done in a meaningful manner with the resources we have? This book is for the marketers who want to get stuff done.

As a brand strategist, keynote speaker, and college educator, I help thousands of marketers every year. From small businesses to the Fortune 500 to the President’s Jobs Council. From seasoned marketing pros to marketing students. From the plains of the Midwest to cities in Europe. And they all struggle with the same challenges—the same ones you are facing.

To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it is the best of times, it is the worst of times. Dickens wasn’t talking about marketing today, but he could have been. For marketers, this is the best of times. Technology has enabled new forms of media such as Facebook and Twitter, which allow us to reach more people, more econom-ically and easily than ever before. We can build direct, personal relationships with our customers. We can help, inform, entertain, interact, and instruct. And as a result, we can create enormous value on our own powerful platforms and channels.

Now we come to the worst of times. While we face many challenges, there are three main obstacles that stand in our way.

1. Shiny New Things. We’re distracted by all of the shiny new things online: new channels, features, platforms, and networks are constantly coming at us. Ooh! Shiny! What’s your brand doing on Snapchat? How about that new Instagram feature? Or that awesome new platform that integrates all of your social media activity and makes you breakfast while it does all of this? Okay, so the last one isn’t here (yet!) but you get the idea.

2. The Myth of Big. Budgets are tighter than ever. Only big brands with big budgets, big teams, and big technology can do big things with digital marketing today, or so it feels sometimes. Dwarfed by this imagined competition, many end up collapsing into self-pity as they sigh, “That’s cool but we couldn’t do that here.”

3. Checklist Marketing. This is when we focus on checking things off lists instead of on what makes the most sense. For fear of ending up in the boss’s crosshairs because he saw a story about Facebook advertising on CNBC, many marketers take a checklist approach. Facebook? Check. Twitter? Check. LinkedIn group? Yep. Instagram? We got that, too. Is any of this working?! Awkward silence.

Marketers have more opportunities than ever before. How do we capitalize on this unprecedented time in marketing history while maintaining our budgets and our sanity?


As you approach your marketing, don’t get frustrated. Get scrappy instead. At this point, you may be asking, “What is scrappy?” Let’s start with what scrappy isn’t. Scrappy isn’t marketing small. Scrappy isn’t marketing on the cheap. And, most importantly, scrappy isn’t dumbing down your marketing.

Merriam-Webster Collegiate defines scrappy as having an aggressive or determined spirit.1 My favorite definition comes from the Urban Dictionary, which defines scrappy as describing “someone or something that appears dwarfed by a challenge, but more than compensates for seeming inadequacies through will, persistence, and heart.”2

Ultimately, the size of your organization doesn’t matter. Busi-ness-to-business vs. business-to-consumer, nonprofit vs. for-profit doesn’t either. The local dry cleaner who does its own marketing can benefit from getting scrappy just as much as a marketer in a larger organization. As Samantha Hersil, who leads digital marketing at Pacific Cycle for brands like Schwinn, Kid Trax, and Roadmaster, told me, “We all wish that we had a few people and a few dollars more.”3

Regardless of how different our organizations and brands may be, we all face the same hurdles that can be overcome with will, persistence, and heart—tapping into that feistiness and edge of getting scrappy. Scrappy is doing more with less. Scrappy is a spirit determined to simplify marketing in today’s complex digital world.

Scrappy is thinking like an underdog (even if you aren’t) with a winning and determined mindset. Let’s explore that mindset a little further.

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