Everyone today it seems, wants to be “agile” in some form or another. Agile methodologies come largely from the startup world of technology, where software today has become a constant process of iterating. This is enabled by the internet and the move away from isolated software applications (apps) to apps being connected to other apps via the cloud and if an app isn’t fully in the cloud, it likely leverages the cloud in some form or another. So agile makes sense for software. It can for marketing as well. But how and what are the benefits and drawbacks or agile marketing? Who can leverage it best?
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The Benefits of Agile Marketing Methodologies
The very nature of agile means to be constantly developing, designing, planning, deploying and learning. It also means moving fast, but in a disciplined way. There is method in the madness of agile. Both small businesses and large enterprises and everything in between can leverage agile marketing. So what are the main benefits?
  • Constant Engagement: As all marketers today have to be engaged in digital channels such as social media, it means being constantly engaged with potential and existing customers. Agile provides a way to do this. It is a way to be ever engaged between campaigns and really is being in a state of constant campaigning.
  • Experimentation: As agile is ongoing, and data collection (feedback) is a key part of agile, it means an agile marketing team can experiment easier and at lower cost that traditional waterfall campaign and planning processes.
  • Informs Strategy: Agile is not a strategy and should not replace a marketing strategy. But it can inform strategy and enable easier strategic shifts over time based on feedback.
  • Alignment with Sales: Sales teams are driven by faster, nearer, highly quantifiable results. It’s a near-term approach, while marketing is often long-term and has to look farther down the road. Well deployed, an agile marketing team can be in better sync with sales teams and respond and engage faster. And more quantifiably, thus gaining credibility not just with sales but with senior management as well.

The Cons or Drawbacks of Agile Marketing
Agile marketing as a practice is fairly new and as it’s marketing, there’s naturally a lot of hype, but there can be drawbacks.
  • Seen As Manna From Heaven: it can be seen as replacing strategy and if not properly implemented, can be distracting to the organisation.
  • Mixed Messages: As it’s a faster approach and at the front lines of customer engagement, sometimes it can lead to mixed messaging and frustrate planned campaigns.
  • Hybrid Strangling: Some companies will employ partial or some agile methods and do it across their marketing teams. Such hybrid approaches don’t mix well with waterfall marketing practices. It often leads to disaster and loss of credibility across the organisation. If you’re not agile all the way, you’re not agile.
  • The Myth of Flexibility: The assumption can be that agile marketing is truly flexible. It is and it isn’t. It is a methodology and by focusing on sprints, it risks not being able to change stride easily.
  • Actions Over Results: With agile, it’s easy to get caught up in the being busy part and miss the desired results. Careful consideration of desired results and outcomes is key to success.
We’ve helped both small and large businesses leverage agile marketing methodologies. It works. When done right. If you’re not planning to bring in an outside expert, then talk to DevOps or your IT folks who use agile. Get them to help. Assign the team, release them from their daily routine tasks to focus on becoming proficient in agile. Have them do the research and be sure they’re passionate about it.

About the Author Giles Crouch

Giles is managing partner of Ekspansiv, a global digital business advisory firm to news media companies . A polymath with over 20 years experience in the digital world, Giles brings together marketing communications, digital anthropology and digital behavioural economics for client projects. He has extensive experience with news media and publishing. Giles is also regularly interviewed by media regarding technology and industry trends. He has completed over 300 digital research projects for clients around the world. Giles co-founded the Ice Awards, an advertising creative awards program in 2001. His clients have included, newspaper, magazine and book publishers as well as pure-play digital media companies. He occasionally works as interim CIO or CDO and senior marketing guidance.

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