Interview with Nescho Topalov - Co-Founder and CEO of Top Ideas Digital.
You’ve worked with big companies and smaller ones, including start-ups. When it comes to marketing, what are the differences between them (besides the budget, of course)?
When talking about marketing, the clear difference for me between big corporations and the smaller companies is the speed. Start-ups and SMBs are agile, move quickly and easily, and they adopt best practices much faster. Ideas, decisions and approvals in large companies take their time – there are sometimes too many departments, managers and stakeholders involved. In smaller agile companies the decisionmakers are only a few, they are well connected, and they are ready to “sprint”.
These two different environments define also the people working in these companies. In start-ups and SMBs we meet more generalists, marketing experts with maybe less experience but with a more holistic view and expertise throughout more fields of marketing. They just don’t have the colleagues and processes to hand over a part of their work, and they are responsible for more topics. As in the larger companies we work mainly with specialists who have a proven track record, lots of experience, and operate in a professional environment with well defined processes, goals and rules. Both types of employees have their strengths and advantages for their companies, and they are all able to deliver results – just in a different way.
But there is also an important similarity: nowadays both small and large companies are looking rapidly to identify opportunities for growth in their marketing approach, and the highest potential is in digital marketing. This is exactly where we help with expertise, and we’ve seen in the last 13 years huge uplifts in results for both our enterprise and SMB clients.
What are the advantages for a small company when it comes to marketing?
Smaller companies are fast in adopting new trends and technologies, move faster on the market, shift easy budgets from non-performing to high performing channels, they implement the new best practices in their field. And young companies are mostly well equipped with latest marketing technology because they are digitally born.
What are, in your opinion, the biggest mistakes companies make in (digital) marketing?
A very common mistake – and this is crucial for me – is that companies often don’t take data driven decisions, but they simply rely on the knowledge in the company or department. This brings them automatically to a serious of mistakes.
Also, very important – companies “forget” to optimize and improve constantly. You must be able to fully track, analyze and optimize continuously all your digital marketing efforts. Your competitors do it permanently, the software tools you need are outside, so there is no reason not to do that!
The third big mistake on my list is when companies start running digital campaigns without real expertise, internal or external. That’s how they spend a lot of money, waste time and sometimes really lose market shares as a direct result.
What advice would you give to smaller companies looking to expand, improve their digital marketing?
Use software and implement the best practices from the market. With marketing software, you can run experiments with less budget and constantly optimize based on results and data. Before you start, make a good research what really works on the market and implement it effectively for your business.
Top Ideas Digital is specialized in digital strategies and marketing automation. How does marketing automation look like? What does it actually mean for a client?
From the client’s perspective: Marketing automation helps to scale the business with the same team, budget, and energy expenditure. It’s a key factor to sell more and better to the existing clients, and to generate qualified leads and raving fans.
When a company is trying to launch a new product, or launch itself on a new market, how must it position itself?
It’s always tough to know this upfront. We prefer to start with a strong point of the product or the brand, put this one thing in the front, and try to learn from the market from the very beginning. It’s important to define a clear and executable strategy. We advocate for spending less money for campaigns and concentrate on generating maximum learnings in the beginning.