Here’s the thing about marketing in the digital age: if you don’t embrace agile solutions to grow your business, you will fall behind the competition.
Technology continues to create a paradigm shift in marketing. As digital disruption impacts entire business ecosystems, you must respond to market demands quickly — to optimise and refine your marketing strategy efficiently.
If you’re like 50% of marketers, then you already know digital transformation is here to stay, and you plan to adopt agile marketing in the coming year (if you haven’t already.)
But beyond the buzzword, what does agile marketing really mean — and how can you equip your team to uncover agile solutions for sustained business growth?
Let’s explore what effective agile marketing entails, including an inspiring agile solution in action.
What is agile marketing?
Agile marketing uses data and analytics to uncover marketing opportunities and solutions; your team rapidly conducts tests and evaluates results, so you can iterate what works — and optimise what doesn’t.
In other words, agile marketing leverages digital tools to prioritise:
- Data-based decision making
- Rapid iteration + optimisation
In today’s quickly changing landscape, your business can no longer afford to take six months to create, approve, and implement a marketing campaign. Your customers will have moved on to a better user experience from a business pivoting to meet consumer needs in real-time.
Now, agile marketing isn’t new. In 2012, MindJet hosted SprintZero to document a framework for agile marketers — and the Agile Marketing Manifesto was born. Let’s review it so we can better understand what it means to embrace agility.
The Agile Marketing Manifesto
- Focus on customer value and business outcomes over activity and outputs
Create relevant marketing programs, so you do more of the ‘right things’, not just ‘more things.’
- Deliver value early and often over waiting for perfection
Perfection leads to long production cycles; deliver value early on so you can learn from your customers.
- Learn through experiments and data over opinions and conventions
Data enables more effective marketing decisions; choose analytics over opinions to better serve your audience and produce more of the right material.
- Cross-functional collaboration over silos and hierarchy
Hierarchy and turf wars only deviate from the customer’s needs.
- Respond to change over following a static plan
If we can’t diverge from a plan, we risk undeserving our audience.
As you can see, agile marketers swap perfection for customer-focused outputs; we don’t fear “failure” because we are continually using real-world data to learn, optimise, and iterate.
Plus, agile marketing teams work in sprints (or short bursts) to identify a problem, create a solution, and measure results; we don’t waste months of valuable effort and marketing spend on ineffective, dated campaigns.
Content Marketing is the past, present, and future of Marketing
Content marketing isn't anything new. Just look at John Deere.
Often dubbed "the original content marketer," the company published its first magazine, "The Furrow," in 1895. The treasured educational resource for farmers lives on to this day.
John Deere might not have called it content marketing at the time, but that's exactly what it was. The company created highly engaging, valuable information for their target audience, positioned John Deere as an expert and developed relationships with farmers that cemented brand loyalty. Today, John Deere is a multi-billion dollar company.
Digital content creation isn't going anywhere. If anything, it's more important than ever. The average person is exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads a day. At some point, we start ignoring those brands that do not leave an impression. With strategic content marketing, you cut through the clutter, connect with your prospects, and, ultimately, create lifelong champions of your brand.
The secrets to working agile
So, you know you need to adopt an agile work environment to better accommodate customer expectations and technological innovations.
Let’s take a closer look at a few specific ways your marketing team can embrace agility today:
Develop a clear picture of your customer — and keep them at the focus
It’s hardly any secret that the pandemic caused rapid changes in consumer behaviour, most notably away from brick-and-mortar retail and toward digital channels.
Your business must learn to meet your customer’s evolving needs in a personalised, human way. How does your audience interact with your brand across multi-channel marketing strategies, and how can you integrate this data into a streamlined and unified view?
Keep up with your consumer’s changing needs when you use data to understand interactions and inform real-time marketing campaigns.
Create silo-free, cross-functional teams
If you want to create an agile work environment, you must break down inefficient workplace silos. Start by aligning product and marketing. Then, consider where you have inefficiencies between teams and departments.
Remember, a key pillar to agile marketing is rapid implementation and iteration. Your organisation must share information and collaborate without obstacles like an unchecked silo mentality. So, create cross-functional teams to equip your organisation with the tools and decision-makers necessary for quick marketing deployment.
Communicate daily, but keep it brief
“Meetings are a system of a bad organisation. The fewer meetings the better.” - Peter Drucker.
You and your team members don’t want to waste valuable time slogging through cumbersome meetings or lengthy discussions. However, if you’re going to implement agile marketing campaigns successfully, you must facilitate effective communication between key players. After all, taking action is vital, and that requires your organisation to be on the same page about goals, tests, and results.
A quick daily check-in is usually all it takes to accelerate communication. I suggest sticking to these three questions by the Agile Alliance:
- What did you complete yesterday (or since the last meeting)?
- What do you plan to complete today (or by the next meeting)?
- What is getting in your way?
Effective agile marketing examples
You already know that the pandemic dramatically impacted businesses across all industries. Twilio dubbed it the “digital accelerator of the decade”; the companies that survived and thrived learned how to embrace agility and pivot quickly.
Let’s take Peloton as an example. Do you remember the viral 2020 holiday ad featuring the “Peloton Wife”? If not, you can watch it here.
Now, I won’t go into the specifics of the disastrous ad, but I will say this: many marketing experts wondered if the fitness company would recover.
Spoiler alert: Peloton didn’t just salvage their brand — their sales skyrocketed.
That’s because Peloton rapidly responded to the pandemic by transforming their global content delivery system; live streaming replaced in-person classes, and a growing fan base used at-home bikes and treads to stay sane and healthy during unprecedented times.
Brittany White sums it up perfectly in this Forbes article:
“Peloton’s ability to immediately recognise the severity of the pandemic and shift its entire marketing and content creation strategy and delivery system in the blink of an eye should be a lesson to all marketing leaders on how to remain agile.”
Now, Peloton’s had its fair share of bad press lately, and some wonder if the beloved brand will maintain its cult-like status. I think that will largely depend on how the company continues to demonstrate an agile way of working. If they keep the focus on their customer base and prioritise community-based responsiveness, they might very well stay a hyper-relevant brand.
The valuable lesson remains the same:
If you want to stay relevant in the era of digital transformation, your business needs to offer customers exactly what they want and need — and you’ve got to do it with improved adaptivity.
Better accommodate customer expectations and technological innovations, and you’ll stay competitive as digital disruptions continue to revolutionise marketing as we know it.
To sum it up
Planning to adopt agile marketing is one thing; actually getting your entire organisation on board with cross-functional teams and a customer-centred mentality is another matter entirely.
Sometimes, you need a marketing specialist with a long track record of agile workplace success to help your team navigate these changes. That’s why I'm here.
Get in touch today to learn how you can start using data to create, optimise, and iterate successful marketing strategies — and start getting the out-of-this-world results you know you deserve.