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Could agile marketing be the next big thing?

Marketing has never been easy, but in today’s fast-paced world and with more competition for attention than ever before, it’s a practice that has become ever more complex, but at the same time, all the more important to help organisations succeed.

Traditionally, many marketing teams have operated in a static, reactive fashion; developing strict marketing strategies that simply have to be followed. As a result, while many might think themselves well-placed to respond to the changing demands of their sector, the truth is that a new way of operating may be needed.

So, step forward ‘agile marketing’ – a process many now believe could be the next big thing in marketing structure.

What does it mean to be ‘agile’?

In the simplest possible sense, agility is the ability to be flexible in how you run your marketing team. It focuses on the ability to quickly respond to new information around campaigns/performance and to not be ‘set in your ways’ when determining the best options to engage with your audience.

Agile marketing relies on key data insights to allow marketers to address their plans as they proceed. It requires high levels of engagement and collaboration between planners, analysts and producers, with the overarching aim of delivering a more responsive and adaptable method of marketing.

Already employed across IT settings, agile in itself is a process that many companies should be familiar with. However, in the marketing setting, there are a few basic rules that companies should follow. These include:

  • Respond to change; don’t be set in your ways and follow plans blindly
  • Testing and data should take precedence over opinions/habitual behaviour
  • Collect as much data as possible; many small campaigns give better insight than a single large one
  • Don’t be afraid of failure; every option should be tested
  • Collaborative working is more productive than silos/hierarchical structure

The goal of these core tenets is to develop a close-knit team that responds to the world around it and does not operate in isolation. It should have the ability to deliver a faster, more transparent, informed and responsive marketing service.

How can agile marketing be implemented?

The first thing to consider is the need to start small and to test, test, test. Organisations could begin by creating a small ‘agile’ team within their wider marketing department, with the aim of building core skills here, before rolling them out more widely only when successful trials, training and lessons learnt have been completed.

Ultimately, agile marketing should be driven by data insights. As a result, organisations should test out hypotheses on live campaigns in order to collect data around what actions perform well (and should be expanded upon) and which should be scrapped.

Short marketing ‘sprints’ should be carried out to field test individual marketing proposals across as many areas as possible. In this way, the performance of different strategies can be compared to one another in multiple settings, highlighting lessons that can be internalised and expanded upon to optimise marketing efforts in future.

In the end, marketing is an area where every business would like to do more with less resource. In many ways, agile marketing is able to deliver on this promise, but only when companies take the time to field test their findings and to do it well.