You may have heard the term “agile” used in the context of technology or software development, but it is also applicable to marketing. Terms like “agile” and “lean” are buzzwords these days, and some managers may use them without fully understanding what they really mean. Agile projects are different than traditional “waterfall” style projects in many ways, but the main difference is that stages of development do not have to be fully completed before another one starts. In software, this results in quick release of products that may have several updates and releases before the project goes into the maintenance phase. In marketing, it results in agile campaigns that respond quickly to changing circumstances.
With a traditional marketing plan, you may base decisions and plans on opinions or past experience. The truth is, the reality of your current project may be much different than your past experiences. Agile marketing practitioners base future decisions on actual data gleaned through previous “sprints” – short development phases that make up part of the agile cycle. You can tweak things as you go along based on the information you’ve learned along the way. Instead of taking a shot in the dark, you are shining a bright light on the truth, which could increase ROI for your marketing campaigns.
When you don’t have to finish one aspect of a project before moving onto the next stage, you can focus on your priorities. Aspects that aren’t quite as important can be done later, while you focus on the parts of a marketing campaign that really make it worthwhile. Plus, your team will not be working on redundant tasks. Agile work groups are usually made up of everyone from senior management to interns, so decisions can be made easily.
Traditional marketing teams can easily develop a “bottleneck” effect. The team needs something, whether it is ad copy, research or a data report that is going to take a while to produce. This causes everything to back up and reduces employee productivity overall. The rest of the team may sit around and twiddle their thumbs until all steps of a phase are completed. With an agile strategy, there is always something new to explore and something to work on.
Agile marketing teams typically have short meetings every day, whether that is in person or online. You will know what your team members plan to focus on for the day. Since teams consist of multiple levels of employees, there is a lot of transparency. Those in the upper ranks are never left to wonder whether the junior employees are working hard or hardly working.
Ninety-three percent of Chief Marketing Officers who use agile marketing techniques report that they have brought their ideas and products to their audience faster than ever. Not only that, but 87% of agile CMOs say that this methodology makes their teams more productive. Eight percent agree that agile marketing allows their teams to focus on priorities, and the same percentage say that due to agile marketing, their team can deliver products and campaigns that are more in line with what their customers actually want. These are statistics that just can’t be ignored.