Agile Marketing: Learning From our Software Developer Colleagues
Agile [aj-uhl, -ahyl]: quick and well-coordinated in movement
Virtually all software developers rely on the Agile Software Development methodology. Before the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was published in 2001, software development (and nearly every other business function) was executed linearly. Conversely, “Agile” is collaborative. Everyone works together in short “sprints” to make progress toward common goals and results. One person doesn’t wait for a hand-off from another person, but rather, people from different departments work together to experiment with ideas, address issues together to progress and keep momentum.
The concept of “Agile” now touches virtually all business processes but has a significant impact on marketing.
Agile marketing teams collectively focus on high-value projects and work together to reach milestones and complete those projects. The work is executed in short periods of cooperative, focused “sprints” and measured with real-time data and analytics. Teams measure the impact of their work, adjust tactics and increment their way forward. together they assess the value of the project, or the effectiveness of the approach so they can modify tactics and learn from the process. Agile marketing ensures more coordinated and effective marketing with greater overall results.
Agile Marketing has a few hallmark characteristics.
- Marketing practitioners work collaboratively rather than in silos.
- Many short, coordinate activities rather than complex, expensive big bets
- Short, measurable sprints are executed rather than large, big-bang campaigns which are measured at the end.
- Analytics inform tactics over opinions or traditional methods
- Campaigns span all marketing disciplines rather than one marketing silo
- Targeting focuses on individuals rather than large market segments
- Failure is embraced as information for adjustment and course correction
- Rapid iteration and refocus is implemented at the end of each sprint cycle
Agile marketing allows us to:
- Quickly address changes in the competitive landscape or the market.
- Build campaign structures that can be incrementally tested and optimized over time.
- Try lots of things and embrace only the ones that deliver the best results.
- Use input from across all marketing disciplines to improve the efficacy of all marketing efforts.
- Build campaign strategies and projects that are informed by hard data.
- Collaborate with team members inside and outside of marketing to achieve the greatest results.
Our clients are smart about Agile. Department silos are coming down as the PR team works with the digital marketing team, the social team, the events team and the website team to ensure that all channels are delivering the same messages, at the same time, in an integrated fashion. Content marketing and PR use the same SEO terms that drive traffic to the website and capture the attention of customers. Web analytics inform us about areas of customer interest as well as customer behaviors during the buying journey. Agile marketing is informed, integrated, collaborative and measurable.
We’ve built KTC Integrated Marketing on an Agile framework. We set goals with our clients and design campaign strategies that span branding to lead generation to PR and content, social, SEO/SEM and web marketing, events, and customer and partner marketing. We implement those campaigns with our clients, track their progress through data and analytics, and increment our way toward the goals. Our clients participate in our sprints and help us shape our tactics as we progress.
The Agile Manifesto marked the beginning of a fundamental shift in how business is done. Using Agile strategies in marketing pays off in better results, stronger brands, and more effective use of marketing resources.