By Patric Palm
Many small business marketers begin a campaign by plotting out every move down to the smallest detail.
But in a business world driven by unpredictability and constantly shifting trends, that traditional marketing approach is no longer viable. These days, a campaign that seems topical one day can be outdated the next. Marketers who try to rigorously plan a campaign will end up seeming out of touch. Marketing is no longer about perfect planning; it’s about adaptability.
Adaptability is the driving idea behind the Agile approach to marketing. As an offshoot of the Agile methodology for software development, Agile marketing is based around the same principles of collaboration, functionality and responsiveness. Companies that deploy Agile marketing abandon conventions, mass market visions and “Big Bang” campaigns in favor of experimental, ever-changing and highly engaged efforts. The Agile approach is quickly gaining traction: roughly one-third of marketers say they apply Agile methods to their marketing workload.
Putting Agile into practice: 5 key strategies
While the prospect of evolving long-standing approaches to marketing can seem daunting, it’s a necessary step in an era of disruption. Here are five ways marketers can deploy Agile strategies to move at the speed of their customers:
- Start sprinting: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is not a maxim that holds true for Agile marketing; instead, it’s a marathon of Key to the Agile marketing framework is the idea of sprinting, in which teams run intense, finite workcycles that handle timely marketing initiatives like an in-progress social campaign. Successful sprints require coordination and adaptability across marketing teams.
- Have daily stand-up meetings: Once companies have assembled marketing teams, those teams should meet daily to discuss projects and make sure everyone is on the same page. These meetings – which should be short and focus only on action items for that day – are vital to maintaining team-based transparency.
- Generate timely content: Agile marketing is about timely messaging, and quality content plays a pivotal role in meeting this need. But to maximize the strategic potential of content, companies need to move away from evergreen material and instead align their content strategy with marketing. This strategic alignment will yield topical content that directly ties to current campaigns.
- Invest in a sophisticated Agile planning and collaboration tool: Sprints are about teamwork. When marketing teams lack strategic alignment, they’ll have difficulty launching fast and highly adaptable campaigns. That’s where agile planning and collaboration tools come into play. Industry-leading collaboration resources are designed to eliminate the complexity of collaboration by introducing a streamlined framework driven by team boards, robust backlogs, and easy integration with mainstream apps like Slack. By implementing Agile tools for planning and collaboration, marketers can transparently communicate a unified vision for Agile campaigns.
- Don’t be so cautious: Traditional marketing campaigns are endlessly revised, reviewed and reconceived, with the end goal of a perfect campaign. But marketing no longer rewards perfection; it rewards timeliness. As marketers adopt an Agile approach, they should look to expedite the internal vetting process for timely campaigns. Otherwise, they’ll fall behind competitors who are quicker to the draw.
While many marketing departments are striving for greater agility, there’s still much work to be done. According to a 2016 industry report, 70 percent of marketers surveyed said a lack of knowledge is impeding them from using Agile methods. By building familiarity with Agile methods, marketers can launch campaigns that are more in touch with their customers’ evolving expectations.
Patric Palm is the CEO and co-founder of Favro.