If you’ve heard of “Agile methodology,” you probably associate it with software development. Agile is a common way development teams manage limited resources, external fluctuations and an unending stream of project requests. Sound familiar?
Given that association, it’s no surprise that Agile has gained serious traction amongst marketers, helping teams keep up with changes and shifting demands. So, how do you effectively embrace and employ this approach in your marketing department?
What Exactly is Agile Marketing?
In marketing, it’s not only essential to have a strategy in place; you also need to be able to adapt and change your tactics quickly, depending on the situation. This is where Agile fits in beautifully. Although software and marketing don’t appear to have much in common, Agile principles can cross over both worlds and address different challenges of each. The hallmarks of an Agile approach are:
- Rapid response to change
Although some Agile concept terms may be unfamiliar, many marketing teams are already employing them, just under a different name. The most common ones include:
A cornerstone of the Agile approach, a sprint is the timeframe your team has to complete a certain amount of work. Most projects can’t be done in one sprint, so they get broken up into more manageable segments: about 2 to 4 weeks at a time. There’s a kick-off meeting for every sprint to discuss and assign goals and tasks, and a meeting at the end to review and present results.
These daily meetings should take no more than 15 minutes. And yes, everyone should remain standing. Going around the assembled circle, each team member goes over their current tasks:
- what they completed yesterday
- what they are working on today
- what, if anything, they need from a team member, and
- any roadblocks they may have
Ever heard of a buyer persona? Then you may already be crafting user stories, focused on a person instead of a product. In Agile software development, user stories determine the functionality and features of a product that meet a customer’s needs. For Agile marketers, user stories help create content that guides customers through the buyer’s journey, staying focused on customer needs and perspective.
Agility Pays Off
Sounds pretty good, right? But does it work for marketing teams? Seems like it does:
- Increased productivity:One study showed that 87% of marketing teams found the Agile approach extremely productive. Not only could Agile teams produce more content on deadline, the content itself was high-quality and on-target for the audience.
- Improved transparency:As sales and management are typically at sprint meetings, they can offer their input at the planning stage and then see your marketing team’s contributions at the wrap-up meeting and offer feedback.
- Ability to handle change quickly: Rapidly adapting to changes is what sets Agile apart from traditional marketing. It’s the best of both: short sprints plus a “plan” to anticipate changes allow teams to adjust their focus when conditions fluctuate.
- Positioning your brand for success: The rapid life cycle of a typical Agile campaign helps brands stay current and competitive. For example, Arby’s scored a win in 2014 when they tweeted about Pharrell Williams’ hat during the Grammys. Arby’s was able to use real-time events to put themselves in the spotlight: the power of Agile marketing at work.
It’s the same story: every marketer wants to launch campaigns faster, get better results and cut costs. Being agile with your marketing by being flexible and adjustable can help accomplish all that and more. Instead of wasting time on the structured, traditional approach, you can deliver relevant information and tactics that hit the right mark with your audience – at the right time.