Understanding Agile Marketing – 5 Key Strategies
⏱ Reading Time: 8 minutes
The entire marketing industry with all of its subsections has never been short on buzzwords. The field is riddled with terms such as “gamification,” “micro-influencers,” and “FOMO.” They’re meant to create hype around the latest trends and embody the most recent customer and search engine preferences. In 2020, the idea of experiential marketing has been big for most brands. The concept is yet to evolve to become another great opportunity for 2021 brands, too.
Our “buzzword” of the day is agile marketing. It’s an expected crossover from software development that indicates a process or a methodology, rather than a trend.
Agile has so far been fastened to the notion of development and operations. However, it has always indicated a high level of flexibility and creativity. If there ever was a term perfect for marketers, it would be this one. Agile marketing is rapidly becoming the go-to mindset for today’s agencies and individual marketers. Anyone who wants to combine its adaptability and marketing’s inherent imagination can benefit from it.
If you’re new to the idea, you’re likely wondering how on Earth does agile marketing work? Why does it help companies more than any other thus-far envisioned marketing approach? And perhaps, what are the steps you can incorporate into your own marketing processes in order to truly leverage agile? So, let’s cover the fundamentals of agile marketing to help you better understand it, and give you the means to start using it to grow your own business.
Let’s Define Agile Marketing
The use of agile in marketing doesn’t differ much from its use in software development. It encompasses the process of designing, developing, deploying, and testing creative campaigns continuously. Each project is clearly divided into smaller tasks with equally clear completion dates and stakeholders. This enables greater performance visibility across the entire organization. Finally, each task and process are both constantly reviewed and improved based on internal and external feedback. Where would marketers be without data, right?
As new information arises, marketers can go back to the drawing board. Then they can come up with new metrics, adapt their goals, and increase the success of each campaign. In a sense, no campaign is ever truly over even upon completion. With agile, marketers always implement customer feedback into future campaigns and projects. They’ll also reuse and recycle marketing content to increase its lifecycle and elevate its performance.
Picture 1. Agile marketing vs. Traditional marketing
Why Try Agile in Marketing at All?
The term agile instantly evokes the idea of speed, but it’s so much more than that. Agile helps marketers be more flexible, yet punctual and able to meet tight deadlines. It allows teams to collaborate more effectively and implement processes that originated in software development. Some of these processes are daily stand-up meetings, ongoing campaign development, and immediate implementation of user feedback.
What’s more, agile marketing research has shown that 51% of agile marketers achieve a higher quality of work. Also, 53% are more productive with their teams. More than half have reported being able to shift gears more quickly by using agile in their marketing processes. On the whole, this seems to be a method that delivers.
Perhaps that is why the same State of Agile Marketing Report shows that 41% of marketers have already switched to agile. In addition, 42% of non-users plan to make the switch, allowing agile to become the predominant approach in this field. To summarize:
- Agile helps teams work transparently together and share the same insights to be more productive.
- This process also increases the satisfaction of the marketers working on your projects, as they’ll have better results and better processes at their disposal for future projects.
- Incremental steps and clear milestones give your projects more realistic outlooks and a clear focus, and make them easier to improve while they’re still in the development stages.
- User data is always the key source of ideas. Customer behavior continues to drive change in your marketing output, but this time with a more viable strategy to implement those changes without disrupting the process.
- Agile strengthens cross-team collaboration, as well as external consulting, and remote collaboration.
Picture 2. Agile marketing teamwork and satisfaction
Key Strategies of Agile Marketing
Determine Goals on Research and Data
The first step to help enable agile in your marketing strategy is to do research and compile as much data as you can. This should reveal your success with your marketing thus far. Also, it should unveil emerging customer trends in your target market that will help you refine your goals and select your KPIs. Marketing is all about choosing measurable, realistic results over vague goals.
Remember, in agile methodology, data collecting and analytics are ongoing. They need to occur in parallel with other stages of the project, including development and delivery. However, if your marketing team is working with an AdWords agency, you need to ensure they can communicate properly. This will help you discover the results of each ad campaign. It will also improve your collaborative efforts, content output, and overall optimization.
Agile doesn’t stifle outsourcing or remote work. On the contrary, it enables hybrid collaborative models thanks to its high levels of transparency and reliance on data.
Create a Roadmap for Your Projects
With clear goals at hand and the data to support them, it’s time to create a roadmap for your marketing campaigns. This roadmap includes daily objectives that all work towards the same overarching goal. Be it delivering a product line, posting your long-form content, or running an ad campaign on Facebook.
A clear and detailed roadmap increases your team’s commitment and collaboration. In a sense, agile helps manage expectations through clear structures. It also helps mitigate the risk of failure through flexibility. It combines the best of both worlds: goal-alignment and creative freedom.
Use a calendar that is visible to all team members and utilizes automated notifications. That will help your team members stay on track with goals. Your daily meetings will remain agenda-driven, and it will prevent going off track for individuals as well as teams.
A typical agile project roadmap will include the following stages:
- Research to define the requirements
- Design and develop your campaign
- Test your idea iterations
- Deploy and publish
- Test and review the success of your published campaigns
Picture 3. Agile marketing roadmapping
Always Go Back to the User Perspective
The core principle of agile is to always improve customer experience. It accomplishes this by monitoring the campaign performance, and actively seeking customer feedback. Your marketers’ opinions and expertise matter and they’ll shape the project from start to finish. However, data always has the final say in determining how successful your campaign has been.
Your head of IT will determine how well you’ve used your resources. A legal expert will need to ensure compliance for your company. And your head of finance will need to make sure you’re within your budget. Each stakeholder will contribute to the success of the project, but the final results will be reflected in your KPIs.
Structure Your Team as Well as the Roadmap
Agile marketing teams try to conquer another outdated concept that persists in businesses to this very day: silos. You have to focus on continuous delivery, ongoing analytics, and testing. That’s why there’s no room for silos in your organization, especially not in your marketing department.
If you fail to implement this one principle of agile methodology in your marketing department, all other efforts will likely fail, too. Silos lead to a lack of cross-departmental collaboration. Your social marketers may not know what the SEO expert has discovered in their latest research. Or maybe the web designer will be in the dark as to what the content writer is doing at any given time.
Yes, agile requires structure. You need clear roles and stakeholders in order to ensure accountability in your team. Say no to silos and compartmentalization. Remember, embracing agile means changing your mindset and adapting your approach to marketing campaigns.
Leverage Scrum Meetings in Marketing
Technology has the potential to change customer-facing communication. In the same vein, agile marketing allows you to adapt your internal interactions. You already have an idea of what it means to embrace the incremental approach so familiar in all things agile. Similarly, your meetings should no longer resemble marathon-like time-wasting events. They should be replaced with another agile element: scrum meetings.
These quick and efficient alternatives to the traditional “Monday meeting” are typically conducted standing up. This is a simple psychological trick to put yourself in the right mindset. It ensures you’ll be concise and clear with your goals for the day and revisions for previous parts of the project.
The scrum approach allows you to go back to developing marketing ideas, testing them, and delivering them more efficiently.
Perhaps you’ve already been using certain aspects of the agile methodology in your marketing output without realizing it. Then again, maybe this is your ideal opportunity to put this theory to the test and see how well your teams respond to the change. This is the antithesis to cookie-cutter solutions in marketing. Companies such as your own can tailor the approach to their liking and adapt. That’s what agile is all about: being able to maximize your potential and change your course.
Help yourself to these strategic ideas and make sure your business can grow with the help of agile in your marketing!
Lauren is a regular Bizzmark Blog author that has many articles published with the main focus on clients who want their brands to grow in the fast-changing and demanding market. Her personal favorites are successes of small businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs. She goes through life with one strong moto – Kindness, always.
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