Agile marketing, as defined by Experian, is the ability to adapt or refocus marketing effort quickly and successfully in response to changes in customer behavior, market conditions and business direction to benefit market share. The key principles of agile marketing focus on creating remarkable customer experiences, responding quickly to change, and stronger alignment with business leaders and sales departments. Agile methodologies shape the way modern marketers approach their strategies and campaigns.
Agile marketing is based on the premise that you act quickly and decisively, and then assess the results. It focuses on developing shorter campaigns in order to maximize a marketer’s flexibility, enabling a marketing team to accurately measure the success of each campaign. Agile marketing is founded on the idea of collaborative, empowered teams and organizes around two or three week long iterations called “sprints,” which deliver on requirements captured in the form of user stories, instead of heavy documentation. Progress is managed through a 15-minute daily stand-up meeting. Each month, teams conduct sprint reviews, sharing what they accomplished in the last sprint, and what they’re committing to for the next sprint.
The goals of agile marketing according to Jim Ewel are to improve the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change the marketing function.
Six characteristics to best describe agile marketing are:
1) Responding to change over following a plan
2) Rapid iterations over Big-Bang campaigns
3) Testing data over opinions and conventions
4) Numerous small experiments over a few large bets
5) Individuals and interactions over target markets
6) Collaboration over silos and hierarchy
Agile marketing is about delivering business value through rapid learning – when we plan, execute and measure in tight, consecutive loops, we get smarter and faster. It’s about being fast, responsive and flexible in your approach to marketing. Agile marketing is about putting customers at the heart of your business and responding to their changing needs and behaviours. Developing a single customer view, gaining customer insight (and actioning it), automating marketing processes and getting your business to buy into the value of increased customer insight are all ways of achieving this.
Although there is no formula marketers can follow for success – having an agile approach to marketing makes pinpointing and responding to changes easier. To position yourself as an agile marketer, go through the following process cycle: track > measure > inspect > adjust. Rinse and repeat. Track as much as you can, measure and correlate your actions with your results, analyze your results and adjust your strategy based on your findings. Start small by applying agile to a few simple marketing activities and projects then decide to expand your agile approaches into other areas of your marketing strategy. Hold stand-up meetings with your team every day, and advise each team member to summarize the top three things they worked on in the previous day, their current priorities for the day and any roadblocks they are encountering.
Track and measure your marketing efforts as much as you can, so that you can identify the pieces of your strategy that help achieve your goals, enabling you to continually optimize your approach. Focus on analytics that have action items. Frequently test and measure in small iterations, in order to continuously revise and optimize your strategy for better ROI.
Is your organization ready for agile marketing? What agile marketing methodologies are you currently using?
The Need for Speed: Top 5 Reasons to Consider Agile Marketing – David Birckhead
10 key principles of agile marketing management – Scott Brinker
Agile Marketing – Jim Ewel
A guide to marketing agility – Experian
Agile Marketing: A Primer – Hannon Hill
Go Agile or Go Home – HubSpot
8 Key Principles of Agile Marketing – Troy Larson
15 experts define Agile Marketing – Rob Petersen
Agile Marketing is Making Real Moves – Todd Redmon
The “Problem with Marketing” and the Agile Marketing Solution – Lee H. Stocking – Prairie Sky Group
What is Agile Marketing and why is it a better way to plan and execute marketing programs?