Anyone who has had any experience with marketing over the past couple of years is privy to how quickly the rules and regulations of the field can change. As marketing technology becomes more refined and the number of platforms being utilized increases, the old guidebook for how to run a successful marketing strategy has become almost obsolete.
While some marketing managers are desperately trying to keep making the old strategies work, others have shifted their sights further and gotten on-board with a whole new approach.
Agile principles gained prominence in the software development sphere where iterative and incremental development is prioritized. However, it wasn’t long before the benefits of the approach were tried and tested in the marketing world.
What is Agile Marketing?
Agile marketing can be defined as an approach where the priority is being open and responsive to change instead of following a specific rigid plan.
Firms implement agile marketing tools because they improve efficiency, transparency, predictability, and the ability to adapt to change. For example, instead of writing a 50-page marketing plan every once in a while, you would write a one-page proposal every quarter. The proposal would specify your firm’s goals and aspirations and ensure everyone is on the same page. After a month, your team would come together to reset priorities and make a plan of action for the next month.
The Agile Marketing Manifesto & Principles
The Agile Manifesto was created in 2012 by a team of savvy marketers who wanted to establish an agreed-upon set of values and principles to guide marketers as they adopted this approach.
According to the manifesto, Agile marketers value:
- Validated learning over opinions and conventions
- Customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy
- Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns
- The process of customer discovery over static prediction
- Flexible vs. rigid planning
- Responding to change over following a plan
- Many small experiments over a few large bets
They didn’t vote on a set of principles, but these are the current proposed ones:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems.
- We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to quickly respond to change is a source of competitive advantage.
- Deliver marketing programs frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Great marketing requires close alignment with the business people, sales, and development.
- Build marketing programs around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress.
- Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline.
- Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice.
- Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity is essential.
Benefits of Agile Marketing
As a result of these values and principles, there are plenty of benefits to agile marketing and agile marketing automation. Here are four of the main ones:
1. It allows you to adapt.
Obviously, the most important and vital benefit of agile marketing is that it ensures you and your firm are in a position where you can adapt.
Marketing professionals in 2017 know that another algorithm change or marketing trend is around the corner at any given moment. While we don’t necessarily know what the modification will be, we can be sure that platforms are gearing up to serve us something new. That means that marketing plans have to be able to adjust swiftly and flawlessly and agile marketing is the way to do this. It is why 23% of senior marketers say Agile marketing delivers higher marketing metrics and KPIs.
- It is more efficient.
No matter what context the term is used in, agility is associated with speed. In fact, 93% of CMOs who employ Agile practices say their speed to market for ideas, campaigns, and products has improved.
Issues, obstacles, and scheduling dilemmas show up sooner when using Agile and campaigns can be released faster.
- It focuses on the correct timing.
At the end of the day, no matter how great a marketing campaign is, if it is the wrong time, it isn’t going to work.
By implementing agile marketing strategies, your team will be able to interpret and adjust to new data in the timeliest of fashions. Agile reduces the number of approvals needed to get work off the ground and allows teams to be more responsive to customers. These are just a couple of reasons why 21% of senior marketers enjoy more efficient marketing iterations once they’re Agile.
- It leads to greater communication.
A key aspect of agile marketing is transparency, meaning that communication and feedback between team members is vital. This greater communication benefits the whole firm because the constant loop of feedback ensures that the whole business stays as adept as possible.
Many marketing departments who have implemented Agile find that their teams are now more in sync than ever about the department’s priorities.
Agile marketing can transform your marketing department and can make it a lot easier to build and manage a team that creates marketing magic. If you decide to implement Agile marketing, remember that simplicity is key. You want your plans to be more of a flexible outline than a 50-page book and your teams to be working in frequent, short periods of intensive work. By operating in this way, you can quickly measure the impact, timeliness, and efficiency of campaigns and continuously use that information to improve results over time.
By experimenting with lots of different strategies and then repeating those that work, you will begin to see the results of your agile marketing endeavors.