Agile marketing is a hot topic. But do you know what it is and how it is changing businesses?
Agile marketing is changing the way business is done. Contrary to the traditional marketing approaches that favoured long processes over short and efficient steps, agile marketing is all about flexibility and speed. If you are struggling to adapt to market changes, this might be the answer. Here is what you need to know to become more agile.
What is agile marketing?
Agile marketing is a nonlinear approach that can be described as the ability to use data and analytics to find new opportunities and solve problems in real-time. Thanks to its frameworks, it is possible to take fast tests, evaluate their results and react according to them. The goal is to facilitate decision-making and move quickly in project developments.
But what is the origin of agile marketing? The concept of agile was initially used by software developers in 2001 in the Agile Manifesto. This Manifesto underlined the importance of responding quickly to changes and adopting continuous improvement. As the success of this approach grew, marketers started to realize the importance of flexible workflows. Consequently, in a group meeting called Sprint Zero in 2012, the Agile Marketing Manifesto came to light. This was established with the view to guide marketing teams in the process of becoming more agile.
Values and principles of agile marketing
The Agile Marketing Manifesto established guidelines and values that became essential for success. The four core values mentioned by Loops include:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
- Working software over comprehensive documentation;
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
- Responding to change over following a plan.
Besides the values, it mentioned principles to guide action, such as:
- Focus on the customer: understand them and learn who they are;
- Create adaptive and iterative campaigns: it must be possible to make small adjustments throughout the processes instead of waiting for the end of the campaign to act;
- Adapt and respond to change: consider feedback and react. However, the entire team has to participate in the process instead of jumping immediately into action;
- Flexible planning: constantly evaluate, repair and update the work instead of following a static plan;
- Work in teams: build teams with different specialists and avoid working in silos;
- Take small steps and experiment: avoid betting big in one approach without updating it whenever necessary.
Whereas traditional marketing focuses on one approach, agile marketing is all about experimenting. As a result, it promotes more releases and brings about more customer satisfaction.
Agile tools and frameworks
Implementing an agile approach can be very complex. One of the first steps should be bringing everyone on board, including the highest levels of the organization. After that, it is vital to establish a goal and communicate it clearly. By knowing what to improve, and defining timelines and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) it will be possible to become agile.
According to an article published by Atlassian, if a marketing team wants to be successful, it must have 4 characteristics: “agile-based teamwork, decisions based on data, rapid and iterative releases, and adherence to the Agile Marketing Manifesto”.
Thanks to agile frameworks, it is possible to better plan actions. Among these frameworks are scrum, kanban and scrumban.
Scrum framework was originally used for software development. The idea is to assemble everything that is needed for the campaign and organize a sprint. Small teams work according to the guidance of the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master should be an experienced agile marketeer and is responsible for delegating and defining priorities.
During the sprint, teams must follow 4 actions:
- Sprint planning: define the goals and study how to meet them;
- Daily scrum or daily stand-up: these meetings take place every day. Each team member gives feedback on their work and shares their developments and objectives. These must be short (no more than 15 minutes) and encourage everyone to participate;
- Sprint review: once the tasks are complete, it is time to present them to the team;
- Sprint retrospective: after completing all the tasks, evaluating what went well and wrong is of vital importance. By doing this, it will be possible to avoid the same mistakes in the next projects.
Kanban was invented by Toyota and emerged in agile marketing later than scrum.
As a visual framework, it allows marketing teams to organize and visualize all stages of the project. Teams organize a board with all the tasks and they move them across the board as they complete each of them. The ultimate goal is to be more efficient and learn how to prioritize projects.
Scrumban is a hybrid approach to agile marketing that combines scrum with kanban. As a tool, it is more suitable for experienced agile marketers, as it is extremely customizable.
There are other tools that teams can use to simplify their workflows such as calendars, checklists and project management software.
Benefits of agile marketing
Agile marketing affects productivity positively. This is one of the main reasons for adopting agile marketing, but there are others:
- Flexibility: when something is not going as expected, people are ready to act. They see changes as “normal” and positive;
- Efficiency: it is possible to commit fewer mistakes and learn from previous actions. Thanks to the use of data, results come faster without wasting many resources;
- Adaptability: the market is constantly changing. It takes only a few seconds for someone to abandon a website, and we must be ready to analyze why that happened and what to do.
- Teamwork: communication and transparency change immediately with agile methods. Teams share experiments and find common solutions in less time;
- Innovation: big ideas and campaigns don’t run in inflexible organizations. To prosper, they need collaboration and constant analysis.
Agile marketing should also use technology to boost its benefits. When aggregating and capturing data, it is important to have a centralized system to analyze it. As a result, decisions will be based on concrete information, reducing uncertainty.
How does agile marketing work?
Conventional marketing is losing its importance because it hasn’t been able to adapt to constant changes. According to AgileSherpas, in 2021, 51% of marketers were using agile methods effectively. Nowadays, marketing is all about active planning and making changes in real-time.
In order to complete a project, one must define the steps from conception to execution. Being so, all members will have a clear idea of what to do. Moreover, it will facilitate organization and progress tracking. Two key elements in this course are teamwork and sprints.
Building small teams is one of the best approaches to becoming more agile. These groups, also referred to as war rooms, should have 8 to 12 members from different areas. They can include copywriters, SEO leads, project managers and others.
After establishing the leader (the Scrum Master), teams start working on each campaign. Among their tasks is the definition of budgets, deadlines and goals. More often than not, team members come from different areas and have different ideas/objectives. In order to solve these divergences, Scrum Masters must come to action and bring everyone on board.
According to Mckinsey, working in teams can increase revenue by 20 % to 40 %. Furthermore, speed increases as well as the capacity to measure performance. Since everyone gets a specific job to do, it is easier to evaluate their work and take faster action in case something isn’t working.
Analyzing data is one of the key aspects of the triumph of teamwork. After proposing new courses of action, it is time to validate them. These tests take place in one to two weeks sprints. The meetings are short and aim to understand if progress is being made.
In other words, sprints are the period a team is given to complete a task and achieve a specific goal.
How Agile Marketing can boost your performance
No news here, but let’s just keep in mind that data is being constantly “collected, measured, and analyzed, so marketing campaigns evolve quickly and stay relevant on an ongoing basis“, as it is mentioned in an article by Rock Content.
Therefore, it is crucial that companies measure and evaluate their own performance constantly. A BCG article mentions that in order to “sustain momentum within the whole marketing organization, it is important to recognize the pods that are doing well. Which pods are achieving better outcomes faster with fewer headaches? Key indicators include hard metrics around marketing performance and ROI as well as soft metrics that show whether the pod members feel engaged and whether they have more time for their most meaningful work“.
This leads to the idea in the McKinsey article on this, saying that it’s important to analyze the data and identify opportunities, which begins “with developing insights based on targeted analytics. The insights should aim to identify anomalies, pain points, issues, or opportunities in the decision journeys of key customer or prospect segments”. “This is a powerful practice for imposing accountability since everyone makes a daily promise to their peers and must report on it the very next day”, it also says. This leads to opportunities’ identification to which an improved solution and experience are developed to test these. “For each hypothesis, the team designs a testing method and defines key performance indicators (KPIs). Once a list of potential tests has been generated, it is prioritized based on two criteria: potential business impact and ease of implementation. Prioritized ideas are bumped to the top of the queue to be tested immediately”.
Currently, the market is making its way to solve this and offering different solutions. Digital marketing agencies, such as Wise Pirates, are working hard on providing services for companies to boost their performance.
Agile marketing: start now before it’s too late
Agile marketing involves becoming agile in all aspects of the organization, not only at the surface. The main idea is to establish several war rooms with different teams working at the same time towards efficiency. This can only be done by building credibility. Once teams are familiarized with the process, a “control tower” will be responsible for monitoring performances and guiding them in the implementation of best practices.
Along the way, do not forget that the values of your organization must be kept intact.