Agile marketing is no longer just a buzzword. For strong marketing organisations, it has become a way of working.
We explore the prerequisites of an agile marketing team and the outcome you can expect if you truly become an agile organisation.
SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS AGILE MARKETING?
The consulting company Mckinsey & Co. has provided a simple understanding of what Agile Marketing is:
Agile, in the marketing context, means using data and analytics to continuously source promising opportunities or solutions to problems in real time, deploying tests quickly, evaluating the results, and rapidly iterating.
WHAT ARE THE PREREQUISITES OF AGILE MARKETING?
At the risk of being Captain Obvious, knowing who you are marketing to and why is the first step towards agile marketing. Understandably, this is easier said than done.
However, creating that focus with a healthy mix of data, experience and intuition is essential. A customer focused approach also allows you to have a mechanism in place to track changing customer dynamics.
As an agile marketing organisation, you should then be able to adapt to changing circumstances and deliver superior customer experience.
In today’s dynamic, social and connected environment, it is nearly impossible to be siloed. So why it is that organisations manage to be just that?
For your marketing team to be truly agile, you will have to ensure that all your departments are aligned towards the common goal. This should go beyond the sharing of vision, to a deeper understanding of why the marketing goals are what they are.
In simpler terms, your marketing can be agile if your organisation can be nimble.
For example, if your broad goal for the quarter is to increase brand visibility, the entire organisation should be aware of why is it so and how do you plan to achieve that. When the relevant team members from different departments have clarity, they will help you in achieving theses very business goals. So, your legal team will expedite the process of signing off the new logo. Even the purchasing team may then personally call the new agency to ensure a smooth on boarding process.
While it has been said to death, marketing as we know today is completely different from what it was 10 years ago. In fact, the marketing landscape keeps changing dramatically almost every year.
The marketing environment is like Moore’s Law on steroids!
For agile marketing to be successful, it is important that all stakeholders understand this. You need not discard traditional marketing blindly. However, flexibility should be built in both your organisation’s processes and people behaviour.
All organisations, big or small will have people who would resist change. If you are looking for inspiration, you need not look beyond what Brandz ranked the fourth largest B2B brand in the world – GE.
If the 124 year old behemoth can manage to adapt and use agile marketing to reach its customers, so can you.
Like only GE can, they not only adopted agile marketing for their global operations, they created their own structures to deliver value to their customers.
OUTCOMES OF AGILE MARKETING
QUICK DECISION MAKING
That’s like saying the fruit of an apple tree is, well, apple. If your decision making process has not quickened post implementation of Agile Marketing, you may want to go back to the drawing board.
In mid-2016, Deakin University was suddenly faced with a deluge of marketing priorities. Open days were coming up, a new website launch, a new branding campaign and the deadline to take the brand national. In their existing marketing structure, they could have fallen short. However, they adopted & deployed agile marketing methods to enable fast decision making within university structures.
As they themselves admit, they are not completely agile, but that experience did transform them.
Agile in marketing marries the precision aspect of software development to creativity in marketing. And the results are tremendous. Once implemented, you will be able to quickly know what works for the customers and what does not. The operative word here is quick.
It is quick, because, agile by design, is about doing things, seeing the results and then deciding the next step. It is then easier to discard the activity or project that has not worked and move to the ones that have worked. Over a small period, this snowballs into a robust strategy with proven results.
When you are looking to promote your product to a new group of customers, you may really not know what will work. Typically, you may end up trying PPC, Social Media ads, influencer marketing see what works. This may lead to not only loss of some investment, but also valuable time.
However, under agile marketing processes, you can do the same thing in a systematic manner and reach decisions faster.
Once you know the winner, it is then easier to assign a larger proportion of marketing budget there.
HIGHER TEAM PRODUCTIVITY
Too often, the focus of agile marketing is the processes. Its success eventually depends on the people running the processes. The new speed of decision making will lead to higher team satisfaction and in turn higher productivity.
As Mozilla’s CMO Jascha Kaykas-Wolff says:
“The system that agile provides for the team allows us to individually have a lot more control over our sanity because we can control our schedules better.”
Agile marketing is not just a fad. It is more a way of managing marketing to suit the current dynamic, multiple media and low customer attention span environment. Adapting a nimble, quick decision making approach will not only help you today achieve the desired customer goals, but you are also setting yourself up for success when this very environment changes.
It helps you become adaptive.
Does your organisation need to adopt agile marketing? Take a look at the chart in HBR’s piece on Embracing Agile to determine that.
Need inspiration? Here are a few case studies of Aussie companies who have adopted agile marketing.
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