In the world of marketing, it’s true that nothing ever stays the same for long. New technologies and changing business conditions mean that marketing managers and their teams must adapt – quickly. But in the race to progress, drive performance and keep pace with competitors, how can you remain flexible in your marketing plan against what is an unwritten (and unpredictable) future? Enter: agile marketing.
According to a recent survey, over half of traditional marketers plan to transition to an agile methodology whilst 32% are already there. Whether you are part of this 32%, one of those who is getting nimble, or thought ‘agile’ was just another buzzword, we’ve put together the following what, why and how guide to agile marketing. 100% transparency guaranteed.
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What does agile marketing mean?
McKinsey defines agile in the marketing context as “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.”
This means that when done at scale, “a high-functioning, agile marketing organisation can run hundreds of campaigns simultaneously and multiple new ideas every week” to deliver the marketing strategy and dynamically adapt to achieve marketing goals.
Working in what is known as “sprints” and headed up by a “scrum master”, agile teams embrace failure alongside success as long as lessons are learnt and can be carried forward to future projects. This standpoint becomes clearer when looking at the six commonly listed values of agile in marketing:
- Responding to change over strictly following a plan
- Rapid iterations over “big bang” campaigns
- Validated learning over opinions and conventions
- Many small experiments over a few large bets
- Individuals and interactions for a dynamic approach
- Collaboration over hierarchy and silos
Marketers who practice agile marketing put the customer experience first. As a result, their focus is not on the sales cycle but in solving buyer problems.
What it is not
Let’s be clear, agile marketing is not an excuse for substandard performance. There is no “get out of jail free card” simply because a new iteration is due in a couple of weeks.
Similarly, agile should not be conflated with a need for speed. It is not fast for fast’s sake. Rather, as a strategic approach to delivering value to the customer, agile uses a collaborative methodology to focus on driving growth.
Why do agile marketing?
Customer-focussed and goal-driven, the benefits of getting agile are many. But the real advantage is that agile marketing means adapting to external fluctuations readily, capitalising on opportunities and diversifying risk with many small initiatives to measure before scaling up.
Organisations that are truly agile are said to enjoy rapid, continuous growth, have higher productivity and increased levels of employee satisfaction.
Agile marketing vs traditional marketing
With all this talk of continuous iterations and fast workflows, it is tempting to view agile marketing as anti-planning. However, traditional marketing elements of strategy, long-term and short-term planning are essential to the successful adoption of an agile approach. Marketing strategy retains its distinction as the foundation of your business plan with agile marketing providing a highly-effective framework for deploying your marketing activities.
At its core, agile is about aligning marketing with wider business and sales goals. It gets the job done quickly, documenting the results in a transparent manner.
How to get agile in your organisation
Agile marketing in practice has seen patchy adoption. Many organisations have become nimbler but are only partly agile. Common blockers include slow spend allocation or a lack of buy-in from senior figures.
Think Beyond is a marketing consulting agency that specialises in marketing strategy development and delivering marketing transformation. Our qualified marketers can show you how to get agile and lean for smarter business now and post-crisis. With our tried and tested data-backed approach, we help businesses to evolve their marketing capability whilst focussing on ROI. In short, we accelerate your marketing performance.
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