The Key to Defining Essentialism

Brink Insights: The Key to Defining Essentialism

Summertime. Ahh, just the word invokes feelings of warm sun on my skin, excitement for fun adventures, a yearn for tickets to all of the Royal’s home games, and weekend cookouts with yard Jenga. Another summer certainty that makes me giddy is...wait for it...summer interns. 

Like many companies, we’re wrapping up our intern interview process. We asked our applicants some super thought-provoking questions - but one was really important to our Brink Culture. We asked these young professionals to rate this statement and provide an explanation behind their choice:

"We’re good at a lot of things, but we’re experts at a valuable few things – Deep (not broad) expertise, continuous learning, rapidly and forever deepening our expertise to find out just how great we can become."

Good thing they rated it highly, because it’s how we operate. We’re Minimalist Marketers. Their explanations summed up and reflected our philosophy perfectly. Two of our favorite answers were:

“I would rather master a number of skills and dip my toes others, than establish a basic and superficial understanding of many,” and “A business should only expand after a few things have been mastered - this is how you give the greatest value to clients/consumers.” 

Less is really more in our eyes - our clients appreciate it and our interns are into it. At Brink, we practice Essentialism Marketing in our own business practices and in audits, consultations, and engagements for clients. 

Our own experiences with marketing agencies (and what our client’s have experienced with agencies) is that their “strategy” is clunky, way too big, and definitely not agile. 

Jayme has perfected the art of agile strategy, which is the opposite of an agency approach. In our engagements, we use the data from what we learn in our deployments to adjust the strategy. At Brink, strategy isn’t a one-and-done thing - it’s constantly evolving and improving. 

Not only do we practice a lean methodology, which prevents stagnant strategy, we are essentialists in our time and effort allocation. There are just two of us, so we have to be aware of our output and what we say yes to. We do this in two ways. 

The 90% Rule

Awhile back we wrote about the Essentialist’s Guide to Marketing Optimization where we outlined how to optimize your tasks like an essentialist (obviously.) The 90% rule comes from the same book that post was from - Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

It’s a pretty simple concept. You list out the activities you currently do or the activities you’d like to start doing. You rate them on a scale of 1 to 100 - one being least important and 100 being of utmost importance. Anything that you don’t rake at a 90% or higher, shouldn’t be a priority. 

Oh, you ranked it 89? Nope. Still not 90. 

Our Minimum Viable Marketing Plan

Our MVMP canvas is a simple one-page sheet that will help you define the essentials to launching your software or marketing your software. The premise is that you’ll build only what’s necessary in order to meet your end goals. 

We use our Minimum Viable Marketing Plan for many of our own projects and we introduce it to all of our clients. In fact, this framework has been used to launch dozens of concepts, products, pricing models, messaging strategies and even whole companies. 

It works, and it helps you focus your energy into the things that will make your goals a reality. 

Conclusion

Maybe the 90% rule is oversimplified or maybe your product isn’t quite streamlined enough for a one-page canvas, that’s completely okay. We make sure our clients are only spending resources only on the absolute necessities. 

Only focusing on the essential tasks ensures that we’re never executing on a superficial level, while allowing us the time to become and remain the greatest value to clients and consumers. They might not be essentialists yet, but our interns are on the right track to marketing minimalism.