In the past few years, Agile Marketing has entered the lexicon of online business in a major way—and with good cause. After all, agility means speed and responsiveness, values which are more important in business today than ever. If your firm is using marketing automation software, you already understand the importance of these values.
Being able to speed up the deployment of campaigns and update them rapidly as test results come in is ever more important, and with modern tools it is ever more practical. Furthermore, customers buying online expect speed in everything from website loading times to responses from customer service reps.
But at your firm, you find yourself asking what exactly is Agile Marketing and why should I be doing it in my business? Today we’re going to demystify Agile Marketing and explain why your firm should take its lessons to heart.
Agile Marketing and the Scrum
Agile Marketing has the air of a buzzword, but the package of principles which it espouses are essentially best-practices to reduce rigidity and increase responsiveness and action. The buzzwordiness of Agile Marketing is enhanced by the fact that it’s associated with a project management methology called Scrum—meant to bring to mind how a rugby team follows quick, collaborative decision-making with explosive action.
This usage of the word goes back decades in the world of software design. It refers to a holistic approach to product development in which a team works together towards a goal while maximizing their flexibility towards unknown and unpredictable challenges. In essence, a team establishes the parameters for the end product up front and works towards that goal, while incorporating the fact that customers can (and will) change their minds constantly along the way.
Why the Principles of Agile Marketing Matter to You
It is from the world of software development that we have received Agile Marketing, but as we said at the beginning, the principles are more universal. For instance, the fields of public relations crisis management and modern political campaigns pre-date consumer software by numerous decades, and the same principles apply there.
In a political campaign, for instance, a small team has an end goal in mind (getting a party or candidate elected) and a process for achieving that goal (promoting messages, running ads, polling the electorate, etc.). However, between the campaign launch and the election, the team must also respond with the utmost haste to unforeseen challenges and unwanted developments, and generally expect the unexpected. These are some of the main principles of Agile Marketing.
The Agile Marketing Workflow
Agile Marketing as a unique approach to development will involve a workflow along these lines:
- Emphasis on individuals over processes: the leader—referred to as a “scrum master” in the Agile Marketing parlance— convenes a team, defines parameters and goals, and lays out customer expectations.
- Why you should care: However, Agile Marketing affords the component team members a great deal of autonomy. The leader convenes formal meetings less often, instead giving the team space to work with agility, avoid the burdens of excessive micro-management, and respond to conditions as they develop.
- Work over documentation: the team segments their work into cycles called “sprints”, defined as one-, two- or three-week periods in which they work hard towards a goal while putting secondary tasks on the backburner.
- Why you should care: Working in “sprints” allows a team to marshal their resources without burdensome distractions like excessive meetings or workflows. Agile Marketing works in this way to let the team respond to changes first and foremost, over following a rigid plan. Adherents to the Agile Marketing schema work like this because they like the results.
- Customer collaboration over contracts: Ultimately, KPIs and project benchmarks are in the service of over-delivering for the customer. So while formal contracts are important for a variety of reasons, Agile Marketing places a new emphasis on collaboration with the customer.
- Why you should care: Anyone who has worked with a customer before will know that they will most likely change their mind, and many will do so quite often before the finish line is reached. The Agile approach puts an emphasis on flexibility, speed, and ingenuity.
Why You Should Consider Agile Marketing
One 2016 survey, only 11% of firms polled were using Agile processes. However, according to Forbes magazine, as of 2014, 87% of CMOs surveyed claimed that Agile had made their teams more productive.
This is quite a lot of potential productivity being sacrificed. If you’re reading this, it means your firm has already asked “what is Agile Marketing”? If your firm is serious about getting agile, a great next step it to talk to us!