Don't Fall Into the Pat-on-the-Back Project Trap

March 25, 2024

Pat-on-the-back projects are poisonous for startups.

What are Pat-on-the-Back projects?

They're strategic projects that everyone gets excited about, but no one knows how to activate meaningfully.

Messaging projects can very easily turn into pat-on-the-back projects if marketing leaders aren't equipped to put strategies, learnings, and tactics into motion.

No marketer wants to see their hard work be celebrated by everyone but used by no one.

There is nothing worse.

That's why I spend so much time working with teams on messaging activation. I don't want praise and appreciation from the rest of the company.I want the rest of the company to observe our impact and understand that marketing can bring revenue to the organization through its work and investments.

How do we make sure we reach this outcome? Here are my priorities when working through messaging sprints with startups:

✅ Founder Evangelism - we need our founder to be 100% bought in and committed to helping us make messaging real for the rest of the org.

✅ Team Adoption - we need to spend time training the team and driving change management as soon as refined messaging and positioning has been solidified.

✅ Spark Campaign - we need to plan and execute a campaign that helps us bring messaging to life outside the organization.

✅ The Everywhere Effect - we need to deploy new messaging across all departments and channels at once

✅ Feedback Loop - we need everyone to know that we expect and want feedback on how messaging is resonating so we can continue refining and improving over time.

Don't fall into the Pat-on-the-Back project trap.

These projects might look good on paper, but they won't help you win.