By Laia Cardona, on 15 March 2022
The many conveniences of the Internet have made it possible for us to get just about anything in a very short time. This brings a lot of advantages, but it also means that demand is higher and deadlines shorter.
How often have you thought that by being more agile in certain operations you would save time? Agile marketing might sound good but what exactly is it and why is it so important in the field of marketing?
Agile Marketing Definition
Agile marketing is a set of methodologies designed to carry out collective projects that require speed and flexibility. This helps you adapt to changing markets and industry conditions, and can even turn these factors into a competitive advantage. The way to do this is by working on projects that are split into small parts in order to deliver them in a series of shorter deadlines (also called sprints).
These methodologies use data analysis to continuously find promising opportunities, solutions to problems in real time, and to expedite processes. Thanks to the digital environment, you can implement tests quickly, evaluate the results of every sprint, and repeat strategies if they work or change them if they don’t without wasting time.
A special feature of agile marketing is the use of multidisciplinary teams. It's necessary to bring together a team that includes marketers, designers, developers, and salespeople. This way, they can plan more efficiently, respond better to new opportunities, and focus adequately on the end customer while quickly measuring the impact of actions and improving the results.
Agile Marketing Frameworks
In order to achieve full process transparency, agile marketing makes use of visual management tools, such as dashboards and frequent meetings to check if the objectives are being met and if there are obstacles.
One of the key elements in agile marketing is a framework. The three we will discuss below have proven themselves to be very successful.
Kanban is a lean agile framework that appeared as a knowledge management method. Kanban requires marketing teams to visualize all stages of the marketing process and every work item that goes through it. This way, marketers can more easily manage their processes, limit the number of projects they work on, and improve efficiency. Interestingly enough, by limiting the amount of work done at one time, the team becomes more productive.
The Kanban method consists of six main practices: visualizing workflows, limiting the work in progress, managing the workflow, making process policies explicit, establishing feedback cycles, and improving continuously.
This framework is based on transparency, inspection, adaptation, and focus on a subset of high priority work. Scrum is composed of two main parts: protocols (or events) and roles.
SCRUM has four protocols that aim to create a regular and predictable cadence for different types of communication within the agile marketing team. They are the following:
Daily SCRUM or quick meeting
As for roles, SCRUM has three ones: Scrum Master, Product Owner and Development Team. The SCRUM Master and the Product Owner play an important part in any SCRUM implementation given that they manage the process and the backlog. In SCRUM marketing teams, the Scrum Master and the Product Owner may be the same person, the team manager.
This methodology is the one that gives the most competitive advantage as it is a mixture of the two mentioned above. It is a highly customizable method and, depending on the preferences of each team and the organizational context, it may lean more towards Kanban or SCRUM.
SCRUMBAN is suitable for teams that already have some experience with agile marketing methodologies, and it helps in understanding SCRUM and Kanban protocols, roles, and practices.
Benefits of Agile Marketing
- More productive teams: by changing the speed at which tasks are performed and planning the most appropriate time to execute, teams can work faster at a lower cost. In addition, by working in teams, workloads are less intense and workers are thus less likely to suffer from burnout.
- Higher customer satisfaction: by learning to work in sprints, workers are better prepared to deliver the services and products their customers need.
- Management transparency: with agile marketing, management, sales, and development can clearly see what the marketing team is working on. Transparency is further enhanced by the marketing team's interaction with customer data.
- Real-time feedback: the biggest advantage is that the teams can provide and receive customer feedback at the end of each sprint. This means that the results will align better with the real needs of the customers.
Agile Marketing Examples
Steve Jobs spoke on more than one occasion about how Apple was organized in an agile way. According to him, there was no committee, but rather people in charge of projects: one person in charge of the iPhone operating system, another in charge of MacBook hardware, and so on. Everybody would meet for 3 hours once a week and talk about what they were doing and how they were doing it. Each manager would know what the others were working on in order to adequately divide tasks. This way the work was filtered and the objectives passed down to the rest of the teams in the company.
We do not know if Apple still works this way today, but they certainly did their homework on agile marketing and became one of the most successful companies.
PayPal is also utilizes agile marketing methods. They organize stand up meetings where objectives are reviewed every day and all the teams involved take a look and discuss what they are going to do, what they have done and what they learned the day before. The process they follow allows them to have constant communication between teams and to know the general objectives of the company. In the end, the product is a website that is very intuitive and easy way. Customers want to pay or get paid quickly and easily, and that is what they get. No fuss, no extra complications. It sounds like a very standard agile method, and it is proof that success is about working smarter not harder.
The combination of sprints, teamwork, communication and transparency is, no doubt, what makes agile marketing work well. The advantages for the customers, the marketers, and the companies are numerous.