Digital marketers know that times have changed drastically since the dawn of simple branding strategies, straightforward ad campaigns, and salesy phone calls. Each and every industry has become so prone to change that the need to adapt has become the only constant in the realm of branding, marketing, and all channels of communication. Businesses constantly need to look for more creative solutions to present themselves successfully, and to make sure that their identity is as fluid, yet constant and consistent, as it can be.
With new digital channels, options, and marketing innovations popping up on a regular basis, brands are in desperate need to stay relevant with the help of cutting-edge solutions. Because, if you’re not at the front lines, you’re bound to go extinct and be replaced by a more adaptable business. Enter: agile marketing. As the very phrase implies, this is one of the latest solutions to a multitude of marketing issues faced by marketers on a daily basis.
Although many strive to implement it, there are various ways in which your business can benefit from this approach, and many ways in which you might miss out on unless you keep educating yourself. Let’s take a closer look at what agile marketing is, what it entails, and how your business can use it to grow.
Defining agile marketing
Originally inspired by fast-paced software development principles, agile marketing couldn’t be more aptly named. It’s a flexible take on your traditional marketing methodology, with the greatest focus on your ability to adapt to the changes in the market, customer behavior, and any other segment worth taking into account. These are some of the key qualities agile marketing embodies that make it so effective for modern-day businesses:
- It favors collaboration, not competition, or simple hierarchical structures in your team, encouraging creative cooperation
- It’s a responsive system of actions rather than a set of strategy-based guidelines, which allows you ample flexibility to change your moves on the go
- It’s based on data derived from each marketing decision you make
- It involves working in smaller, milestone-focused increments, rather than focusing on a single long-term goal
Although there are other important features that define the agile approach more precisely, these are the most essential ones to keep in mind. You can use them as your own checklist to make sure that your approach is getting there once you start switching to agile over traditional marketing.
Deconstruct your strategies
Yes, we know, businesses love strategies. They put things in perspective and help you understand where your brand needs to go in order to stay the market leader, or earn that title to begin with. However, the agile methodology can actually help boost your brand strategy with its effective, short bursts of marketing activity. It can also help you spot the weak links in your existing approach, and decide which segments of your business you should outsource, keep in-house, or partner up with an outside consultant to complete. You may determine you need to outsource customer service so that you can allocate more of your internal resources towards social media marketing. Agile still is based on your brand’s identity, core purpose, and its voice, but it gives you that perfect level of flexibility to redefine the meaning of an overarching strategy.
For starters, your overall brand’s goals, mission, and vision remain in place as long as they ring true for your brand. However, once you decide to move to the agile approach, your marketing efforts will not consist of a single steadfast strategy, but of bursts known as “sprints”. They can last anywhere from two to, let’s say, six weeks, depending on the goals you’ve chosen for your sprint. Then you move on to assigning tasks to your team members, and going over the activities you’ll perform and the resources you have at your disposal.
Help your teams prepare
Agile by no means removes any structure from the process, on the contrary. While you have a new take on strategizing, and your focus is primarily on milestones and adapting on the go, your team members still need a foundation to work with. That means that your agile approach needs to be based on actual parameters you will establish before the beginning of your sprints, and that your teams know precisely how much time, effort, and money they can allocate towards a certain project.
Finally, remember that the key here is collaboration: let your team members negotiate, and figure out the best way to assign responsibilities so that they can be as productive as possible. You will wrap up the prep phase by writing down everything you’ve established, from parameters, resources, all the way to task owners, so that you can keep track of their progress and measure the impact of each sprint.
Project management done right
One piece of the agile puzzle that accounts for a great deal of the approach is project management. How you treat PM for your team will ultimately define how well you can utilize your entire agile system. So, make sure you have a PM solution in place, one that is based on constant monitoring, flexibility, and making room for changes on the go.
Start by introducing quick daily meetings, also known as scrum meetings. These fast-paced and goal-oriented get-togethers help each team go over everything that has been accomplished the day before, everything they need to get things done that day, and if they have spotted any “roadblocks” that need to be resolved. This is precisely what makes agile marketing possible: your ability to adapt.
Test, refine, repeat
Finally, it all boils down to effectiveness. If agile marketing is so swell, then the results will reflect that. However, much like with any other marketing approach, agile marketing doesn’t come with a set-in-stone promise that all will work out perfectly just because you’re flexible. You need to constantly measure the impact your marketing steps have on your ultimate goals, no matter how fast-paced they may be.
You also need to take those results and the received data into account when defining every single step that comes in this approach. That way, you allow your marketing decisions, even the ones that fail, to drive more successful ones in the future.\
Although agile marketing is certainly not the be-all end-all of marketing or branding. It’s one take on how modern brands can thrive in an ever-changing environment of the contemporary digital world. Use it well, and you’ll allow your brand to stay at the very forefront of your industry!
Keith Coppersmith is a business and marketing expert who has experienced both the rise and fall of many businesses. As a regular contributor at BizzmarkBlog, he enjoys writing and providing insight of the marketing industry based on both practice and theory.