EIC Winter School: The recipe for a tasty marketing experience
Over the past three weeks, the EIC Community went back to school to learn about new social media tools and communication strategies. After the success of the EIC Summer School last year, the EIC decided to repeat the experience and open again the doors of its digital classroom. Together with Clear Europe, one of the leading media and communication training companies in Europe, the EIC prepared three distinct virtual marketing courses from 29 January till 12 February 2021. Each training gathered more than 30 EIC-funded innovators, willing to warm up their digital skills with the first Winter School.
Every day we open our social media feeds, and we get tons of sponsored posts and loads of ads. Every new video features a new product that influencers “just tried out” (after closing a new paid partnership). With so many companies and brands active on social media, it may look difficult to come up with new ways to cut through all the noise. And the race is harder if you’re a starter. When money and time are finite resources, the competition with companies using big budgets for promotion seems challenging. But in small businesses, smart and small communication actions can actually make a big difference and stand out in the social media crowds.
To support innovators in their digital presence, the EIC Business Acceleration Services decided to organise a Winter School, entirely dedicated to social media and marketing strategies. Together with coach Ali Colwell, the attendees learned how to streamline marketing processes, explored cost-effective and successful paid ad campaigns, and discovered SEO basics.
After the workshops, we sat down with the coach to talk about communication tips and tricks and summarise the top three ingredients to create a tasty marketing recipe. Get your notebook ready and discover how you can delight your audience.
#1. Human to human approach
Robots are dominating many aspects of our lives, but we are still talking to humans when it comes to communication. According to Ali, humanising marketing is a crucial factor to ensure that strategies achieve the best possible result:
“My goal is always to make social media and marketing as human as possible. In SEO, for example, it’s great to optimise things for Google to “please” the algorithm, but the priority should always be the people we are serving and communicating with. Think in a different and clear way and keep it simple. Nothing that we are doing here is very complex. It’s just about shifting your focus.”
#2. People first
Social media and marketing are made by people and for people. During the EIC Winter School, the coach mentioned that communication needs to promote closer relationships and put “people first”:
“We still want to focus on people as our priority in everything we do. Even if we are doing B2B, this is still applicable. We have conditioned ourselves to think that some things don’t work or that we are not thinking about them in the right way. But a lot of what we covered is about people first. We still want to make customers happy and add value to their lives in the end”.
#3. A healthy mix of everything
Lastly, and to get back to the recipe metaphor, Ali recommended to add a “healthy mix of everything” in your marketing strategy. Find a balance between tools and channels rather than focus on a single strategy and platform:
“If a company is putting a big amount of money into search ads, but isn’t putting any effort into their SEO, the company still suffers. So, it’s about having a healthy mix of all these different aspects, rather than just trying one thing and hoping it sticks.”
For Géraldine Baekelandt, Application Specialist at Irubis and participant of the EIC Winter School, these insights represented an important first step to develop an unexplored marketing side: “As many start-ups, our company is very science-focused. We have an incredible scientific team, but we still lack knowledge of marketing and business. I’m a scientist, but I also need to develop our marketing strategy even if this task is quite new for me. I’m trying to find places where I can learn more about these topics and the EIC Winter School was one of them”.
To promote peer-to-peer learning experiences, the training sessions also explored the audience's professional and personal experiences and included multiple group exercises. Marina Gabarró, Marketing Manager at Mitiga Solutions, also highlighted these community collaborations built during the events: “Working in marketing for a start-up is challenging. You have to be very strategic when it comes to resource allocation and more often than not you can be the only member in the department. My motivation to join the Winter School was to connect with other experts in the field and exchange best practices, stay up to date about new trends and look for different sources of inspiration and advice”, she noted.
The EIC Community Events, like the EIC Winter School, are a regular part of the European Innovation Council Business Acceleration Services. For the month of April 2021, we have planned one additional online event: Community Training on Alternatives Ways of Funding. For any questions please do not hesitate to contact us through our contact page (choose ‘Ask a question /get support about an event’).