In 2020, the extensive adoption of remote teams has forced many organizations to seek out methods of collaboration that can overcome its minuses. Uncertainty is the name of the game due to the prolonged pandemic that may not see businesses going back to regular operating hours any time soon.
This calls for a more collaborative and iterative approach to planning and strategizing marketing campaigns that are fueled by continuous feedback and insightful data.
Organizations find it tempting to dive headfirst into agile marketing so that they see instant results, but agile marketing simply doesn’t work that way.
For an approach that requires a considerable shift in working styles, it requires more attention and dedication when launching organization-wide.
Peers, team leads, and managers must be educated and prepared on how to best approach and adopt the new approach with distinct attention to resolving structural gaps and barriers to streamlining processes and improving efficiency in campaign delivery.
What is Agile Marketing?
Agile marketing is an effectiveness strategy that uses data and analytics to frequently iterate solutions and source new opportunities for business problems in real-time.
This involves leveraging cross-functional teams to deploy tests quickly, evaluate the results, and repeat the process for many iterations.
Mostly used for high-value projects, this approach enables the successful completion of large-scale projects and measures their impact to continuously improve results incrementally each time.
Importance of Agile Marketing
The ’10s have been riddled with disruption. Coming off the heels of the ’08 Recession, the last decade ended with an unforeseeable change in circumstances that businesses are still grappling with in 2021.
Consider for a minute that you run a departmental store like Saks Fifth Avenue and are planning to run a ‘welcome back’ campaign to assure patrons of safety and sanitization protocols undertaken to ensure compliance with state COVID-19 guidelines as they resume store operations.
You’ve pulled concept notes, reached out to advertisers, designed ad creatives for social media ads, and set up an email campaign. Five weeks later, the campaign goes live. Two days later, the state shuts down all stores yet again.
Five weeks for a campaign like this can mean a ton of wasted resources and lost value in terms of sales, customer retention, and brand relevance. Indeed, in times of a rapidly shifting digital landscape, it is more important than ever to quickly respond to customer needs.
According to a study by Deloitte, two-thirds of customers surveyed reported an increased appreciation for brands that were able to deftly shift between delivery platforms i.e., from brick-and-mortar to a fully functional eCommerce store.
The impact of agile marketing methodologies on customer experience and consequently on brand loyalty is huge. Consumers are more likely to share personal information with companies that offer positive customer experiences.
Maintains brand relevance and authenticity
Agile methods of running core business functions such as IT, Sales, Marketing, etc. had been widely used long before the ‘new normal’. However, the pace of adoption was slow and reception even more lukewarm. The pandemic-triggered shutdown of businesses that heavily rely on storefront traffic forced them to quickly adopt new ways of servicing customers.
Taking three years to redesign an online store wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Grocery retail hit the ball out of the park here. Many grocery retailing companies swiftly launched online delivery or moved to engage third-party services like UberEATS and Instacart to enable customers to conveniently shop online for their grocery needs.
While designing agile plans, keep in mind that it’s not simply about crafting tech-savvy strategies. It’s also about reflecting and analyzing the deeply nimble nature of the digital marketplace such that it can guide planning.
Guides deeper insights into the customer
Turning the vast amount of information flooding in from various channels such as social media and online stores, platforms like CRMs, and devices such as tablets, desktops, and mobiles, into actionable knowledge is a complex art.
Leadership needs to move beyond a singular view of the customer and help guide the agile marketing strategy in a way that it can anticipate what comes next. CRM software helps save energy and time taken to pull insights. Discussions dominating marketing channels – particularly social media – can help gain deep insight into customer needs and behavior. There are plenty of predictive analytics software platforms available to aid in predicting which way the customer sentiments lean more into.
Many social media tools offer the functionality to monitor trends and provide detailed reports on brand sentiment to businesses that depend on social media engagement for lead generation and sales.
Strengthens cross-functional teams
A crucial element of an agile marketing team is the people. An agile team should be composed of people who complement as well as supplement one another’s skills and experiences.
Teams should be relieved from their day-to-day duties to support the new initiatives and collaborate at speed. Social media teams, for instance, need content scheduling tools at their disposal so that their time is freed up for ideating and strategizing new content.
In reality, a team is “co-located” in a “war room” to create a space for clear-headed discussions. The sole mission of these war-room exercises is to execute a series of swift tests and experiments in service of the overall objective.
For example, buying multiple software licenses for analytics or designing tools requires IT review, and finance and legal approval. Not many organizations are warm to the idea of looping in legal and finance teams usually due to conflicting priorities. To overcome this barrier, having clear lines of communication, as well as quick access to them, are imperative to creating an agile cross-functional war-room team.
Working with an agile marketing team that is both cross-functional and collaborative is critical to improving customer experience in a way that is proactive instead of reactive. When multiple perspectives are represented in a room, the decision-making process becomes much quicker and less iterative.
Aligns digital strategy
One of the first steps for an agile marketing team to accomplish is to align the leadership with digital goals as well as the overall strategy.
The core principles of agile methodology – continuous collaboration, disrupting the norms, data-driven decision-making, accountability – all the while keeping the customer at the center of the endeavor serve to turn the tables on traditional kick-off meetings in boardrooms.
What used to be siloed discussions underscored by power trips are collaborative brainstorms, all thanks to agile marketing methodologies.
Earlier, digital tools to drive agile technology weren’t quite so easily available to leadership looking to pioneer it at their respective organizations. For the first time, these tools which provide deep insight into customer needs are readily available to use for leadership to champion and move forward conversations about customer experience.
Sales management tools, for example, allow you to send personalized emails with automated multi-stage follow-ups. The performance of each email is tracked and measured in a single dashboard offering deeper comprehension of customer experience. It also lets you test sales offers and measure their impact on customer retention metrics faster than competitors.
There’s a strong customer affinity for digital engagement making this time the best time as it can ever be to get new products out in the market with the help of rapid prototyping, sensing technologies, and marketing CRMs.
Social media growth hacking tools like Kicksta offer a disruptive platform that enables businesses to grow their audience in a shorter time while adhering to white hat tactics.
Makes the best use of data
To perform real work and achieve swift results, agile teams need to start developing insights derived from targeted analytics. The goal of stand-up meetings where discussions revolve around data is to map and understand customer experience journeys.
Where are they dropping off between the first click to product purchase?
What are some overlooked touchpoints?
What are some persistent pain points, anomalies, and issues on a customer’s decision-making journey?
An effective way to impose symbiotic accountability among peers, agile marketing teams can get together for a short meeting every day where each member runs point on their accomplishments from the day before and top priorities for today.
Sharing daily plans with peers helps foster mutual respect for each other’s role in the organization. Teams are at loggerheads about fundamental issues one too many times because they lack understanding of each other’s work. The intention is to avoid overwhelming others by information overload and start small by drawing in with consumable details.
For instance, marketers can share new story concepts with the design team such that they can collaborate on new content and web design and not a one-dimensional piece created for social media clout. An atypical way to put this into practice for a web design agency, for example, can be to collaborate with marketing to craft professional and impeccable-looking proposals to acquire high-value clients.
More than a disruptive approach to managing productive teams, agile marketing methodology brings the focus back on customers and their experience with your product and services.
Supplementing this approach with project management methodologies can exceptionally boost team productivity and efficiency.
The intention is to work on only those tasks that aim to enhance it such as small experiments, short A/B tests, active planning and measurement, and consistent attention centered towards learning about customer needs and bringing them back to agile teams to solve.
Author: Mark Quadros
Mark Quadros is a SaaS content marketer that helps brands create and distribute rad content. On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Foundr, etc.