Agile marketing is a relatively recent marketing paradigm – it is considered revolutionary because it perfectly adapts to the modern online marketing demands and it integrates the fast changes in demand and rhythm. Older material can be refreshed and new material can be assembled whenever needed when working with agile marketing techniques. The approach originates in software development.
What is agile marketing?
Agile methodology in Dev began in 2001 with the meeting of 17 leaders in the industry – The Agile Alliance. The meeting considered how software development workflow followed four classical steps in sequence and without any possibility of adapting to changes, and sought to modify this “waterfall” frame. They issued the Agile Manifesto, laying down four primary values. In agile marketing individuals and interactions rank higher than processes and tools, working software is more valuable than comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration is more important than contract negotiation, and, finally, responding to change comes before working on a fixed plan. Agile software development went on and got adopted by almost 84% of the specialized organizations. It further transgressed into marketing and became known as Agile Marketing.
The change may better be described as moving from linear to segmentation – more interdependent processes that can overlap or change order, and thus adapt to speed and to any change in demands. Instead of point solutions or linear funnels, this type of marketing offers several layers that can combine into different strategies or campaign types. Speed, priority, engagement and relevancy are the four main reasons to go for agile marketing.
Agile marketing workflow
Social media is perfect for agile marketing – having the ability of refreshing older elements, of delivering real-time feedback, and of submitting content to connected users. Mixing and matching innovative ideas with old or fresh content is typical for social media, and usually clever, surprising combinations stand out and spread virally. Once campaign or brand/product representation sub-units are constructed via the agile marketing tools, all it remains to do is assemble and reassemble these unites according with the latest trends, online events or customer requests – and new material (or renewed material) is available.
A Forbes article backs up agile marketing benefits with a relevant survey, underlining the biggest upsides to this revolutionary strategy: business performance, employee satisfaction and adaptability. To visualize it better, we may think of drawing a picture, without its details. The frame is there, maybe also some fixed elements. But when it comes to the finishing touches, they may be altered one way or the other without the entire design being ruined. It’s leaving room for changes – and time for recomposing the entire content. The bigger picture is there to stay – yet the inside elements may change place and shape. Employees work on layers, and the activity itself includes flexibility in the mix. Ideas can be added or subtracted and the construction becomes even better.
HBR acknowledges that the perfectionist types might be frightened by this “outline, not campaign” approach, but even such marketers can assimilate agile and convert their perfectionism to ensuring flexibility and final seamless integration. Or they might use their consistency learned in traditional marketing to make sure no inadvertence appears in the brand image during the entire process. Adapting successively does not mean less perfection. In fact, the entire process follows a plan – that includes adjustments.
In addition, since this way of working has been around for a while now, comparisons between traditional marketers and agile marketers have been possible. It turned out that agile marketers are leading in publishing more content, newsjacking (using a trending piece of news to enrich popularity of own story/campaign), creating new web pages quickly or making analytics-based decisions. They can also act quicker when it comes to creating web pages or intervening in social media interactions on behalf of their clients and deliver more content.
A more standard marketing versus agile marketing paradigm compares the first one with the Big-Bang, while the latter is more like the continuous stars’ birth, dissipated, ongoing and ever-changing. The probability of producing novel materials is higher for agile marketers, since they rely on testing the real-time data when deciding which way to go next. Also, when some initiatives fail in an agile marketing approach, the risk is lower, because the work itself is segmented into batches of small experiments – any of them can be quickly replaced when it does not deliver the proper results.
Suitable organizations for agile marketing
Agile marketing is suitable both for small companies and large corporations, since its flexibility allows various ways of tailoring. Customer-centricity finds an ideal partner in agile – all the changes it allows open up an infinite array or variations. For a few succinct details and case examples, check this recent article. Agile marketing offers visibility and innovation, and a way to suddenly attract attention and stand out, which is welcome for both smaller companies in search of affirming their presence, as well for larger companies, which are trying to escape a routine marketing identity.
Taking a look at Agile Marketing’s creed might help one determine whether this approach is suitable for a certain company or organization, although that is precisely the goal of AM – being able to tailor its offer to all and any. Just to name a few basic goals, this type of marketing prepares for responding to change, for rapidly assimilating the new elements into the drawn-out campaigns, for re-drawing after testing and data analysis, for collaborations and for distributing tasks and segments of the overall work to individuals and small assigned groups.
Basically, one can benefit from agile marketing simply by tuning into the new, fast-paced online environment. Think a traditional campaign in term of a heavy vehicle, taking a lot of time to build and having an unique appearance as long as you’re using it. Agile marketing aims to deliver a Transformers-type vehicle that can change shape and features on the go, without losing its strength or capabilities.
Probably many of you are familiar with this technology, while others just heard of this denomination (catchy – isn’t it?). Perhaps some never heard of it, so, as an introductory presentation, Scrum is an agile software development methodology adapted to other fields, problems or organizations, too. It was also transferred into agile marketing, becoming a formal methodology. Scrum has its own terminology, a string of events to be followed through, and a product backlog. Its basic unit of development is the sprint/iteration – restricted to a specific duration.
Scrum is more of a backstage element in agile marketing, but nevertheless it is useful to underline that having a daily stand-up meeting is specific to Scrum. It challenges everyone involved to answer three core questions: yesterday’s activities question, today’s activities and, finally, the possible obstacles question. It may seem like a foreign language at first, with entirely new elements, but it provides a guiding path into how agile marketing works.
This methodology is not the only one to be applied when structuring an agile marketing approach. There are less famous patterns too, plus an unlimited number of models to be created by the marketers.
How can you benefit from agile marketing?
Agile marketing acknowledges both big data and personalized customer data. Adapting their strategies to B2B or B2C accordingly, there are fixed, typical data sets within which the changes can be implemented.
Although hard to describe, agile marketing’s bottom line is that it delivers what the evolving social media and customers require. Managing the methodology may be hard at the beginning, but once achieved, the persons involved just follow the guidelines and contribute by fulfilling their tasks.
As in a puzzle, in the end the image becomes clear and the services provided meet the expectations. And, what is more important is that, as we have mentioned above, agile marketing is synchronized with the current online environment, social media in particular.