Marking 621’s Birthday on a First Day of Summer Like No Other
While the challenges of the moment may have required startups to freeze their hiring or dial back their marketing, there’s still important work to be done. We’re here to help you navigate these times, and we can do it on an efficient “fractional” basis. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
It’s June 21, the first day of summer, which transports me back to that feeling that I had as a kid every year as the school year ended—that anything was possible.This day is also the inspiration for our name, 621 Consulting. When I transitioned from working as CMO to building a community of experienced independent marketers two years ago, I wanted to convey that we would help companies cast off traditional rules and head confidently into a future of possibilities—which comes back to what summer has always represented to me. But this June 21 is different from any in our memory, and we find ourselves at a unique and painful moment in history. We’re still reeling from the fallout of Covid-19 and the reality that our lives won’t be going back to normal any time soon, if ever. At the same time, we’re also confronting the stark realities of our country’s long history of racial injustice and the searing, tragic reminders that we have a long way to go to truly address the underlying issues. This period of uncertainty also presents a complex and challenging moment for small businesses and startups, most of which are early in their journey, where they are still shaping the clay and finding their footing.
If you’re a startup marketer, you just threw out your 2020 plan
Covid-19 has introduced a phase of unsettling economic volatility that may last for quite some time, so companies are under a great deal of pressure to be prudent about their spending, staffing, and growth expectations as a result. For startups that were essentially already operating on a knife’s edge, this isn’t just a storm to weather; it can be an existential crisis. Even in a stable market, the reality for startups is that great products can fail because of marketing mistakes, from relying too heavily on paid media, to building out incomplete or inflexible go-to-market engines, to missing the mark with brand positioning, to making the wrong hires. These errors can squander valuable time and money during the critical stage when startups need to be proving product-market fit, establishing scalable unit economics, and accelerating growth. It’s all too easy to make these errors these days, as the portfolio of marketing strategies grows and marketing professionals increasingly specialize. For example, a marketer focused on B2B demand generation is going to look very different than a brand-first consumer marketer or a lifecycle marketing guru. Misaligning your talent with your core business needs can drain critical flexibility and resources from your organization.The bottom line is that these missteps are even more costly now. After a long stretch where hockey-stick growth seemed almost too easy, we’re experiencing what could very well result in structural change for many sectors of the economy, from retail to travel to collaboration technology. To adapt to this new world, many companies are revisiting or even halting their marketing investments, questioning how to maximize the ROI of each dollar to weather the storm. That’s prudent and understandable. And yet, it’s not realistic to just press the “pause” button on momentum you’ve worked so hard to build and then expect to return to the old reality when Covid is behind us. Rather, we’re going to have to adapt to a new normal in which our lives are more digital, more dispersed, and more uncertain. 621, evolved. While the challenges of the moment may have required startups to freeze their hiring or dial back their marketing, there’s still important work to be done. We’re here to help you navigate these times, and we can do it on an efficient “fractional” basis. As experienced operators, we know the sausage-making can be messy. We exist to shepherd growth-stage companies through this minefield and set them up to scale.We help startups craft and execute foundational marketing and go-to-market strategies, define their talent needs, and achieve outcomes more quickly than a drawn-out hiring process. We also offer critical input on talent plans to increase the chances of new hires succeeding, enabling companies to build capabilities that make our role obsolete. Our model is set up to give you flexibility to figure out the best approach to scale your marketing abilities without over-investing in the wrong strategies or FTEs prematurely. This work includes:
Fractional or advisory CMO services
Go-to-market planning, budgeting and metric definition
Brand positioning and messaging
Project execution, from performance marketing campaign oversight to development of creative assets.
A few updates to share:
Meaningful momentum – Since launching 621 in 2018, we’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing companies from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Brooklyn to Tel Aviv. We often help startups that are early in their journey of building commercialization engines (i.e., after a Series A or B funding round) and have worked across categories such as direct-to-consumer CPG, digital health, B2B SaaS, and Internet of Things. Our team has also collaborated with later stage companies such as Shipt, Lyft, and Zillow.
The New 621 Community – As we’ve expanded our business, we’ve continued to identify new ways to help the companies we partner with. To support those needs, we’ve built a growing network of 100+ independent marketing experts to take on fractional CMO and targeted project work, such as overseeing growth marketing campaigns, developing brand strategy, and managing content plans. Each of our consultants or strategic advisors is someone we trust and have pre-qualified. We have experienced operating executives from companies like LinkedIn, Pandora, One Medical, and Salesforce to former agency leaders from Venables Bell, Huge, and 215 McCann. I’m proud to include ace professionals I’ve worked with through the years, including Simon Fleming-Wood (veteran CMO and CXO from Pandora and Tile), Karin Combs (brand guru from Julep Beauty), and Aaron Lee (growth marketing pro from One Medical). Click here to see the range of companies our consultants have helped.
Content for marketers – Be on the lookout for best practices and provocative ideas. We will be blogging regularly about trends and insights, and we expect to start pulling together marketing leaders to share ideas and support each other through these complex times. We’ve already covered topics such as aligning your brand with your mission, establishing a culture of testing and iteration, optimizing retention, and building a marketing team.
Here’s to the first day of summer and Happy Father’s Day. We’re here to help. To learn more about 621 and how we can work together, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.