The Beginner’s Guide to Agile Marketing

agile marketingAs technology continues to grow and evolve, the needs of the modern customer are also changing. In an effort to meet those changing needs, marketers are ditching traditional marketing initiatives in favor of a more adaptive approach to marketing– also known as agile marketing.

If you’re unfamiliar with agile marketing, it’s time to get on board. Implementing an agile strategy will help you increase marketing productivity, reduce your time-to-market, increase profits, and so much more.

Keep reading to learn all about agile marketing: What it is, why it’s beneficial, and how your organization can implement an agile approach. Let’s get into it!

What is agile marketing?

Agile marketing is a strategy in which marketing teams identify high-priority tasks, and then focus on those tasks during short, intensive periods of time called “sprints.” During each sprint, the team uses data and analytics to track results in real-time so they can rapidly adapt their strategy for their next iteration.

The purpose of an agile marketing strategy is to focus on essential tasks and achieve growth through frequent analysis and adaptation rather than long, stagnant campaigns. Here are the basic principles of agile marketing:

1. Short, adaptive campaigns.

Traditional marketing involves running campaigns for an extended period of time, such as a quarter or a year, and then measuring the success of each campaign once it’s done. Agile marketing campaigns tackle objectives in sprints that typically last 2-6 weeks. Following each sprint, an agile marketing team will regroup, review their results, and quickly make adjustments.

2. Constant collaboration across teams.

In a traditional marketing strategy, executives meet and determine objectives, and then pass along instructions down the marketing hierarchy. Agile marketing is a more hands-on strategy where team members collaborate to set goals and hypotheses together and quickly adapt to results and findings.

3. Emphasis on data analysis.

Agile marketing is an inherently data-driven marketing strategy, as it requires rapid analysis of data and even quicker adaptation to these insights. Agile marketers set strategic, short-term objectives and then analyze data to determine what adjustments they will make.

What are the benefits of agile marketing?

Agile marketing is far more than a buzzword or flash-in-the-pan trend– it’s an effective and necessary marketing strategy with many proven benefits. These benefits include:

Increased speed-to-market: Agile marketing does away with the drawn-out, extensive planning stages of traditional campaigns in favor of short-term objectives and fast decision-making. In fact, 93% of CMOs who employ agile practices say their speed-to-market for ideas, campaigns, and products has improved (source).

Improved marketing productivity: In a traditional marketing approach, marketers can spend a lot of time spinning their wheels as they wait for their long-term campaign to run its course. Agile marketing teams are constantly in motion, as they set smaller objectives, perform tests, and react to their results quickly. 87% of agile CMOs say their teams were more productive following the transition to agile marketing (source).

Better employee satisfaction: Each member of an agile marketing team is accountable for a specific role and team members are in constant collaboration throughout each sprint. This hands-on approach results in a boost in employee engagement and job satisfaction: 63% of agile marketers are very satisfied with their work, compared to 26% of non-agile marketers (source).

Increased profits: Of course, what you really want to know is whether agile marketing will help you grow your business. The numbers speak for themselves – 67% of CMOs cite an increase in revenue and profit due to agile marketing (source).

Now that you have a better understanding of agile marketing and its benefits, let’s look at some key tips to help you establish an agile marketing strategy:

1. Get your entire organization on board.

Agile marketing is less of a strategy and more of a mindset. An agile culture begins at the top—leaders must remove barriers and empower their teams to make decisions in real time. If executives aren’t willing to surrender control and do away with lengthy approval processes, agile marketing is nearly impossible.

To be a completely agile organization, you must involve all departments. Without the support of your sales teams, finance, and IT departments, you’ll hit roadblocks that may prevent the rapid iterations that agile campaigns require. Alignment is a crucial prerequisite to agile marketing.

2. Prioritize data management.

Data is the foundation of a successful agile marketing strategy. Agile marketing teams track and analyze data at a continuous rate. Then, they use that data to inform the many adjustments that must be made. As a result, agile marketing is impossible without access to high-quality data and analytics platforms.

Before you implement an agile strategy, audit your data collection processes and choose the right marketing technology stack for optimal marketing performance.

For a more detailed guide to data-driven marketing, be sure to read the following article: 3 Ways to Operate a More Data-Driven Marketing Program.

3. Establish sprint goals and timelines.

Agile marketing “sprints” are extremely intense and focused, so they must be carefully planned. Review your long-term goals and determine how you can break bigger campaigns into smaller experiments. Create hypotheses to test based on the insights you uncover along the way. Then, set a hard timeline for your sprint. Two weeks is typical for most agile teams, but your exact timeline depends on your goals and resources.

Once you set your goals, choose the data points that you will track throughout each sprint. Then, use specific, predetermined metrics to measure your performance. Finally, assign a defined, and specialized role to each member of your team so each person is responsible for a specific task or set of tasks during each sprint. These rigid requirements leave little room for error while making teams more efficient.

4. Hold structured sprint meetings.

Agile marketing teams empower each individual team member, by assigning very specific, significant roles during each sprint. For this reason, communication within teams is of the utmost importance. Here are the three types of meetings we recommend to ensure each sprint is successful.

Sprint planning: Prior to each sprint, go over your goals and the different roles each team member will hold.

Standups: During the sprint, hold frequent standups to make sure everyone is on the same page and operations are running according to plan. Some teams hold daily standups during a sprint, but your team should decide what works best for you.

Retrospective: At the end of each sprint, your team should get together to analyze your results based on the metrics you tracked. Determine which activities and tactics are working well and which tactics require improvements. End your retrospective meeting with preliminary ideas for your next sprint, and repeat the process.

Final Thoughts on Agile Marketing

Agile marketing is not a simple tactic to adopt – it involves a total overhaul of your marketing strategy and requires the cooperation of your entire organization. But, the end results speak for themselves. And agile marketing has proven to be the optimal approach in today’s fast-paced digital world. It’s no coincidence that 61.3% of traditional marketers plan to adopt agile practices within a year (source).

Don’t fall behind your competition by ignoring the rise of agile marketing. Start to discuss ways your marketing organization can become agile, and prepare for a strategy that promotes better, faster results!

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