Paul Hanrahan
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‘Agile marketing’ may be a hot buzzword, but the agile way of working will already seem familiar to those of us marketing arts organisations.

What is agile marketing?

Next week we’re hosting an Agile Marketing Workshop with the crack digital team from agency Bright Signals. To get you ready, we’ve got a primer on the principles and how your marketing strategy can become more effective and efficient as a result.

Marketing teams are increasingly being encouraged to work faster. This is driven by the demands of social media and other digital channels that require a constant stream of content and quick responses.

The nature of marketing campaigns is also changing. We’re moving from campaigns planned months in advance, to smaller tests that incorporate customer feedback influenced by what is trending on social media.

These changes in speed and method are throwing up problems with how marketers traditionally plan their projects: enter agile marketing.

Agile Marketing values

The Agile Manifesto sets out the values. For marketing, these are:

  • Responding to change, not just following a plan
  • Rapid iterations over big-bang campaigns
  • Testing and data trumps opinions and conventions
  • Many small experiments instead of a few large bets
  • Individuals and interactions are better than one size fits all
  • Collaboration, not silos and hierarchy

Agile marketing aims to improve the speed, predictability and adaptability of your marketing.

WATCH VIDEO: Whiteboard Friday – ‘The 6 Values (and 4 Benefits) of Agile Marketing – Whiteboard Friday’ (Note: a video transcript is available in the link.)

Agile ways of working are often seen in software development projects (they are based on manufacturing methods pioneered by Toyota) where learning from users quickly paid off compared to placing all of their bets on a single big launch.

Social media is seen by many to be the natural home of agile marketing. Successful social media campaigns happen in real time. Clever, entertaining and quality content are what counts. An example of using agile methods in terms of planning ahead, but making relevant content at the last minute is Priceline’s series of Vines during the Super Bowl.

70:20:10 rule

A recent econsultancy blog suggest how we should allocate a marketers time with 10% of it reserved for agile activity:

70% of your marketing should be planned ‘marketing as usual’ activity. 20% should be automatic. 10% should be entirely agile – reacting to events as and when they happen.

Agile marketing does require resources. For the Priceline example, they needed an available creative team, tools to listen to social media and senior support with a quick approvals process. However once you’ve planned for it, agile marketing can help marketing departments be more efficient, serve their audiences better and be more fully integrated in the work of their organisation as a whole.

For now, sign up to attend the Agile Marketing Workshop and find out how moving from large bets to small experiments could be a winning strategy for your organisation.

Main image credit: fallow deer jumping fence by Rich Bamford (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)