Agile marketing helps businesses understand marketing conditions more quickly and utilize that understanding to drive campaign actions. It creates flexible and focused teams that use a data-driven approach to grow traffic, customer engagement and conversion rate on the company website. The success of agile methodologies is based on collaboration and quick responses to change. The effective collaboration between internal stakeholders, channel partners, developers and customer services teams improves customer experience quality.
Agile marketing is an optimised approach to people, processes and tools in marketing planning and execution, in response to changing customer behaviour and market trends. It provides a way to add, remove and/or modify marketing targets, strategies and tactics on an ongoing basis. Agile marketing centres on a change in business mind-set from the traditional marketing structure to a more flexible (agile) structure that has been so successful in the information technology industry. It champions data-driven marketing decision making, with an emphasis on value creation from a customer’s perspective. Every member of the agile marketing team must embrace the core values of the agile methodology in order to facilitate this shift in mind-set and support the successful completion of the team’s activities and the achievement of the team’s objectives.
This shift in mind-set is most visible within the creation and execution of the marketing plan. An agile marketing plan is one that is continuously reviewed and updated within each quarter, even though the overall allocated marketing budget and time remain constant. This article won’t cover the ins and outs of creating a strategic marketing plan, but it is important to emphasise the importance of creating a marketing plan before actually attempting to implement agile marketing.
Certainly, traditional marketing has already adopted some elements of agile methodologies. In particular, this refers to the iterative structure of the marketing calendar. Most strategic marketing plans are structured in four iterations (quarters) of three months each, which aligns with the iterative nature of agile methodologies. Each quarter in the marketing calendar can then be subdivided into three sprints of one month each.
Agile marketing recognizes that short term marketing plans are more stable than long-term plans. You will definitely know what you want to be doing and achieving in the first quarter of your marketing plan, but do you know what marketing channel, Google update or technology will emerge or dominate the market in the next 12 months? Adopting agile marketing provides the flexibility needed to abandon (sometimes at short notice) the marketing strategies and tactics that don’t work and redirect the remainder of the marketing budget into channels that fit better with the profile of your target audiences. This helps to address the biggest challenge of marketing: creating and successfully executing marketing campaigns in the face of uncertainty with changing customer expectations and buying patterns.
Agile marketing team members relate to each other in a positive and encouraging manner, which is based on Respect, Openness, Commitment, Focus and Courage. These core values contribute to the high employee engagement and retention experienced in companies that practice agile marketing.
The agile marketing methodology includes several practices that enhance productivity. The collaborative and cross-functional nature of agile teams means that each and every member of the team is continuously learning from others, as well as contributing to the learning of others.
Agile includes a range of different frameworks and some of them are not necessarily useful for marketing. However, there are a number which can be adapted by most marketing teams. The two most widely accepted agile frameworks that marketing teams could adopt to improve marketing process, communication and team interactions are the Scrum framework (created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland) and the Kanban framework, which originated in the manufacturing industry in the 1950s and has since then entered the IT industry and (now) the marketing industry.