Agile working has proven its advantages in many company areas. Marketing, too, can profit from this approach. How this is possible – and what is behind the Agile Marketing Manifesto – can be read about here.
What makes agile marketing stand out?
Agile working in general means more flexibility and the ability of companies to react quicker in times of change. Originally, agile processes were used mainly in project management and in software development. But for marketing, too, agility can make sense. Especially in challenging times for communication, such as the corona pandemic, flexible structures, processes and agile tools can help companies react faster to new developments.
When realised well, agile marketing can also allow for more efficiency and effectiveness in post-corona times. According to a survey from Merkle from the second quarter of 2020, 85 per cent of marketers are planning to increasingly rely on agile methods in the next two years. But particularly B2B companies in rather conservative industries are slow to make the switch. For instance, even social media posts often have to go through a number of departments first.
Lack of experience in this area was found in the survey to be the biggest barrier. On top of this, agile working can also be a challenge for responsible persons, as it can be overwhelming. This is because some employees demand clear rules and agreements which they can adhere to and keep.
The Agile Marketing Manifesto
With their Agile Marketing Manifesto, a team of marketers wrote up seven basic rules that describe agile marketing:
1. Validated learning over opinions and conventions
2. Customer-focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy
3. Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big Bang campaigns
4. The process of customer discovery over static prediction
5. Flexible over rigid planning
6. Responding to change over following a plan
7. Many small experiments over a few large bets
Three aspects companies should pay attention to when it comes to agile marketing
Agile marketing requires changes in the entire company culture and in the working style of marketers. Three aspects to pay attention to:
1. Convince the Executive Board
As the example above about social media posts shows: agile marketing relies on fast approval processes and flat hierarchies. But these changes cannot be implemented by Marketing without the Executive Board’s blessing and willingness to work in these structures. Those who allow for more self-responsibility must also have a higher error tolerance – after all, agile marketing is based on a trial-and-error culture with fast adjusting.
2. Establish an agile mindset
In addition to the leadership level, other areas such as Sales or Development must also be taken on board. Only once a frequent exchange of information across department borders takes place can quick adjustments and improvements be made to individual campaigns. This is what is meant when there is talk of removing the silo way of thinking.
3. Test, monitor and continually optimise
In real life, agile marketing means: testing, experimenting, adjusting and recalibrating to continually satisfy changing customer expectations, behaviours and market changes. For instance, you can launch social ad campaigns in all major networks, but after the first review limit the campaign to the best-performing platform and reinforce it there with additional content.
Do Scrum and Kanban also help in agile marketing?
When it comes to project management, the two programs Kanban and Scrum are used most frequently. They help to control and improve working processes. Their focus is continually on being able to react quickly, instead of closely sticking to the original plan. Kanban relies heavily on visualisations and works with a board on which the various working steps are displayed – from “to do” to “done”. Each project participant can see the latest status of their tasks at any time and update this status as their tasks are completed. Scrum is rather static in comparison. It serves to steer creativity into organised lanes and is suitable for structuring larger and more complex projects.
Both methods are useful in agile marketing, too. Those who don’t follow a rigid plan should, however, also keep an eye on the big picture and on who is doing what. This largely prevents parallel working, enabling the entire department to profit from the ability to react quicker. Scrum and Kanban ensure a clear delegation of roles among all users and clarify the need for resources, deadlines and the current status of the project.