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What Is Agile Marketing

We have heard of digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and we have also heard of Agile software development or Agile project management. But what is Agile marketing? Is it about applying Agile values and principles in the marketing domain? Will it lead to the same successes and benefits that come when agile is applied to product development? This blog attempts to answer questions around agile marketing and the underlying concepts.What Is Agile Marketing?Let’s consider a scenario whereas part of a product’s marketing strategy the team uses a waterfall approach. This would mean that the work would flow in a vertical top-down approach with very little horizontal flow. The process would start with a strategy that is complex and long and would focus on the product or company goals.This is followed by formulating a marketing campaign, deciding on the creatives to be used and then implementing these long campaigns that may or may not be successful. Now where in this process, is a thought given to the customer’s needs and preferences or to gaining any new knowledge or outcomes? There would typically be minimal or no feedback from customers. The Agile marketing approach on the other hand, like the agile approach for software development, follows a horizontal approach and keeps the customer as the focus. It is adaptable, flexible, adjusts to change and ensures faster response times and great quality. The Agile approach involves working in iterations with quick testing in every sprint and continuous feedback from customers.Not much time is put into strategy but just enough to understand the overall goal of the project or marketing initiative. Marketing artifacts like advertisements or content are created in a small batch and are tested on customers. Customer feedback is important and helps to measure the success or results of the marketing strategy or product built. This is followed by summarizing the learning, which is more like a retrospective and involves implementing the customer feedback or tweaking strategy based on customer needs.How Did It All Start? A History of Agile MarketingIn February of 2001, a group of talented software developers got together to discuss how existing software development methods could be improved upon and made more adaptive, responsive and customer centric. The result of this meeting was the creation of the Agile Manifesto, and this forever changed the world of software and product development.Similarly, in June 2012, a group of talented marketers met to discuss how marketing could be changed and made more efficient to suit with the modern times. Their two-day gathering called ‘Sprint Zero’ discussed the future of Agile marketing. This gathering culminated in the creation of the Agile Marketing Manifesto that is now considered as the gold standard for Agile marketing.What Is the Agile Marketing Manifesto?We are discovering better ways of creating value for our customers and for our organizations through new approaches to marketing—Agile Marketing ManifestoProposed Agile Marketing Principles: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems. We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to quickly respond to change is a source of competitive advantage Deliver marketing programs frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Great marketing requires close alignment with the businesspeople, sales and development. Build marketing programs around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress. Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline. Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice. Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility. Simplicity is essential.How Will You Implement Agile Marketing?Agile marketing pretty much uses the same concepts as Agile product development, including epics, user stories, sprints, burndown charts etc. For every Agile project, you need to have a good team, so your first approach to implementing Agile marketing would be to create a pool of talented individuals in your team.Once you get your team together make sure you go through these drills: Sprint planning and Sprint: Plan your sprints and define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. The tasks of identifying basic parameters along with setting scope and planning estimations are done at the stage of sprint planning. Each sprint has a goal, and the team needs to plan how long each sprint will have to be in order to reach the sprint goals or objectives. Stand up meetings: Stand up meetings help team members discuss their problems, progress and successes. These should be typically only 15 minutes long and not more as longer meetings would defeat the purpose of agility. The daily stand ups help each team member discuss what they have accomplished the day before and what they plan to do today.   Scrum boards for tracking progress: Boards allow full transparency as the team can use cards or sticky notes to denote work that has been accomplished, is in progress or has yet to be started. Anybody working on the project can know the status of workflow items by looking at the board.  Ensure teamwork: Agile is all about teamwork. Marketing teams must collaborate well for the best outcomes. Must Haves for Agile MarketingEvery Agile marketing implementation, like every agile project, will be different. But they all share certain key characteristics, must-haves without which it is likely that they will end up failing.These include: Agile mind-set: Moving from the traditional to Agile is difficult and involves not just process change but also a cultural and mind-set change. Agile practitioners are more flexible, open to change, and focus on delivering value to the customer. Having this mind-set will ensure that teams are motivated and high performing.  Small iterations and releases: Working in small iterations and having frequent releases is the underlying principle of Agile. Long term plans go against the values of agile. Servant leadership: Just like we have Scrum Masters in Agile development teams, we have managers and directors in Agile marketing teams who perform the role of servant leaders. Their responsibility is not just to ensure that targets are achieved but also to ensure that the team is not having any impediment that is halting progress, and if there is one, then it is removed right away.Following the Agile Manifesto: The Agile Manifesto outlines very clear values and principles and following them means that you are following the Agile marketing approach.Teamwork: Individual contributions are definitely recognized and rewarded in Agile, but a team can only be successful if it works together and collaborates. An Agile marketing team is a cohesive force that works together to achieve targets.Data driven decisions: Data guides all our decisions; so why should marketing be any different? Agile teams depend on data to ensure that what their experiments and innovations are successful. Successful Agile marketing teams ensure that all work is measurable. Agile Marketing MisconceptionsHere are some common Agile marketing myths Its only for small organizations or start-ups: Agility and Agile marketing have been successfully adopted by even large organizations. Gone are the days when only small teams and small organizations could adopt Agile successfully. Today, larger organizations are able to scale agile principles and deliver results successfully. Agile marketing is the same as Agile development: While there are many similarities between the Agile Manifesto and the Agile Marketing Manifesto, there are differences in the way they operate. Scrum values can be followed by the marketing team, but Agile marketing practices are distinct.  Distributed teams lack transparency: The pandemic has forced us to become more distributed. So, does that mean that teams cannot practice Agile marketing? This is a myth as teams that share common goals, and a collaborative mind-set can work in distributed models and maintain the same amount of transparency.  Agile only focuses on speed: While quick development, quick feedback and quick releases do form the pillars of Agile marketing, it’s not just about speed. Agile marketing places a whole lot of emphasis on quality and customer satisfaction. The speed comes in because Agile focuses on incremental and iterative work and after sharing an initial test case with the client and getting it approved, it is continuously improved upon.  There is no detailed planning: This is a myth as detailing in Agile is as efficient if not more than waterfall and less time consuming. There are loads of efficient tools available that have made planning better and more streamlined and transparent.Agile Marketing BenefitsHelps do better quality work Problems can be highlighted sooner More accurate and faster delivery and release cycles Can be scaled Is more flexible Helps adapt and implement changes faster Teams are motivated and high performing Helps organizations stay in the competitionReal World Examples of Agile MarketingThere are many companies and firms that have adopted and benefitted from Agile marketing. Some of these are listed as below: SEMrush: By implementing Agile marketing, this technology company saw a year over year average revenue growth of over 90% from top 10 new markets and gained 500,000 users in just 8 months.  Source: Brighton SEO Northern Arizona University: Northern Arizona University increased its content production by 400% and had cost savings of 20% while client satisfaction rating increased by over 30% in six months, by adopting Agile marketing. Source: MarketingInsiderGroupSatander: By adopting by Agile marketing, this company increased their customer loyalty by 12%, and recorded the highest ever positive sentiment at 90%.  Source: MarketingWeek Conclusion There are numerous Agile marketing stories. These success stories show that companies who have been brave enough to change their marketing strategy from traditional to agile have reaped the benefits of increased customer engagement, growth, a more motivated workforce and better profits. Agile can change the narrative of a company and it’s time that companies open and adopt the Agile way of marketing.  
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What Is Agile Marketing

Susan May
Blog
03rd Sep, 2021
What Is Agile Marketing

We have heard of digital marketing, content marketing, social media marketing and we have also heard of Agile software development or Agile project management. But what is Agile marketing? Is it about applying Agile values and principles in the marketing domain? Will it lead to the same successes and benefits that come when agile is applied to product development? This blog attempts to answer questions around agile marketing and the underlying concepts.

What Is Agile Marketing?

Let’s consider a scenario whereas part of a product’s marketing strategy the team uses a waterfall approach. This would mean that the work would flow in a vertical top-down approach with very little horizontal flow. The process would start with a strategy that is complex and long and would focus on the product or company goals.

This is followed by formulating a marketing campaign, deciding on the creatives to be used and then implementing these long campaigns that may or may not be successful. Now where in this process, is a thought given to the customer’s needs and preferences or to gaining any new knowledge or outcomes? There would typically be minimal or no feedback from customers. 

The Agile marketing approach on the other hand, like the agile approach for software development, follows a horizontal approach and keeps the customer as the focus. It is adaptable, flexible, adjusts to change and ensures faster response times and great quality. 

The Agile approach involves working in iterations with quick testing in every sprint and continuous feedback from customers.

Not much time is put into strategy but just enough to understand the overall goal of the project or marketing initiative. Marketing artifacts like advertisements or content are created in a small batch and are tested on customers. Customer feedback is important and helps to measure the success or results of the marketing strategy or product built. This is followed by summarizing the learning, which is more like a retrospective and involves implementing the customer feedback or tweaking strategy based on customer needs.

How Did It All Start? A History of Agile Marketing

In February of 2001, a group of talented software developers got together to discuss how existing software development methods could be improved upon and made more adaptive, responsive and customer centric. The result of this meeting was the creation of the Agile Manifesto, and this forever changed the world of software and product development.

Similarly, in June 2012, a group of talented marketers met to discuss how marketing could be changed and made more efficient to suit with the modern times. Their two-day gathering called ‘Sprint Zero’ discussed the future of Agile marketing. This gathering culminated in the creation of the Agile Marketing Manifesto that is now considered as the gold standard for Agile marketing.

What Is the Agile Marketing Manifesto?

We are discovering better ways of creating value for our customers and for our organizations through new approaches to marketing—Agile Marketing Manifesto

Proposed Agile Marketing Principles: 

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems. 
  2. We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to quickly respond to change is a source of competitive advantage 
  3. Deliver marketing programs frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. 
  4. Great marketing requires close alignment with the businesspeople, sales and development. 
  5. Build marketing programs around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done. 
  6. Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress. 
  7. Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline. 
  8. Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice. 
  9. Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility. 
  10. Simplicity is essential.

How Will You Implement Agile Marketing?

Agile marketing pretty much uses the same concepts as Agile product development, including epics, user stories, sprints, burndown charts etc. For every Agile project, you need to have a good team, so your first approach to implementing Agile marketing would be to create a pool of talented individuals in your team.

Once you get your team together make sure you go through these drills: 

  • Sprint planning and Sprint: Plan your sprints and define the roles and responsibilities of each team member. The tasks of identifying basic parameters along with setting scope and planning estimations are done at the stage of sprint planning. Each sprint has a goal, and the team needs to plan how long each sprint will have to be in order to reach the sprint goals or objectives. 
  • Stand up meetings: Stand up meetings help team members discuss their problems, progress and successes. These should be typically only 15 minutes long and not more as longer meetings would defeat the purpose of agility. The daily stand ups help each team member discuss what they have accomplished the day before and what they plan to do today.   
  • Scrum boards for tracking progress: Boards allow full transparency as the team can use cards or sticky notes to denote work that has been accomplished, is in progress or has yet to be started. Anybody working on the project can know the status of workflow items by looking at the board.  
  • Ensure teamwork: Agile is all about teamwork. Marketing teams must collaborate well for the best outcomes. 

Must Haves for Agile Marketing

Every Agile marketing implementation, like every agile project, will be different. But they all share certain key characteristics, must-haves without which it is likely that they will end up failing.

These include: 

  • Agile mind-set: Moving from the traditional to Agile is difficult and involves not just process change but also a cultural and mind-set change. Agile practitioners are more flexible, open to change, and focus on delivering value to the customer. Having this mind-set will ensure that teams are motivated and high performing.  
  • Small iterations and releases: Working in small iterations and having frequent releases is the underlying principle of Agile. Long term plans go against the values of agile. 
  • Servant leadership: Just like we have Scrum Masters in Agile development teams, we have managers and directors in Agile marketing teams who perform the role of servant leaders. Their responsibility is not just to ensure that targets are achieved but also to ensure that the team is not having any impediment that is halting progress, and if there is one, then it is removed right away.
  • Following the Agile Manifesto: The Agile Manifesto outlines very clear values and principles and following them means that you are following the Agile marketing approach.
  • Teamwork: Individual contributions are definitely recognized and rewarded in Agile, but a team can only be successful if it works together and collaborates. An Agile marketing team is a cohesive force that works together to achieve targets.
  • Data driven decisions: Data guides all our decisions; so why should marketing be any different? Agile teams depend on data to ensure that what their experiments and innovations are successful. Successful Agile marketing teams ensure that all work is measurable. 

Agile Marketing Misconceptions

Here are some common Agile marketing myths 

  1. Its only for small organizations or start-ups: Agility and Agile marketing have been successfully adopted by even large organizations. Gone are the days when only small teams and small organizations could adopt Agile successfully. Today, larger organizations are able to scale agile principles and deliver results successfully. 
  2. Agile marketing is the same as Agile development: While there are many similarities between the Agile Manifesto and the Agile Marketing Manifesto, there are differences in the way they operate. Scrum values can be followed by the marketing team, but Agile marketing practices are distinct.  
  3. Distributed teams lack transparency: The pandemic has forced us to become more distributed. So, does that mean that teams cannot practice Agile marketing? This is a myth as teams that share common goals, and a collaborative mind-set can work in distributed models and maintain the same amount of transparency.  
  4. Agile only focuses on speed: While quick development, quick feedback and quick releases do form the pillars of Agile marketing, it’s not just about speed. Agile marketing places a whole lot of emphasis on quality and customer satisfaction. The speed comes in because Agile focuses on incremental and iterative work and after sharing an initial test case with the client and getting it approved, it is continuously improved upon.  
  5. There is no detailed planning: This is a myth as detailing in Agile is as efficient if not more than waterfall and less time consuming. There are loads of efficient tools available that have made planning better and more streamlined and transparent.

Agile Marketing Benefits

  • Helps do better quality work 
  • Problems can be highlighted sooner 
  • More accurate and faster delivery and release cycles 
  • Can be scaled 
  • Is more flexible 
  • Helps adapt and implement changes faster 
  • Teams are motivated and high performing 
  • Helps organizations stay in the competition

Real World Examples of Agile Marketing

There are many companies and firms that have adopted and benefitted from Agile marketingSome of these are listed as below: 

  • SEMrush: 

By implementing Agile marketing, this technology company saw a year over year average revenue growth of over 90% from top 10 new markets and gained 500,000 users in just 8 months.  

Source: Brighton SEO 

  • Northern Arizona University: 

Northern Arizona University increased its content production by 400% and had cost savings of 20% while client satisfaction rating increased by over 30% in six months, by adopting Agile marketing. 

Source: MarketingInsiderGroup

  • Satander: 

By adopting by Agile marketing, this company increased their customer loyalty by 12%, and recorded the highest ever positive sentiment at 90%.  

Source: MarketingWeek 

Conclusion 

There are numerous Agile marketing stories. These success stories show that companies who have been brave enough to change their marketing strategy from traditional to agile have reaped the benefits of increased customer engagement, growth, a more motivated workforce and better profits. Agile can change the narrative of a company and it’s time that companies open and adopt the Agile way of marketing.  

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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