Agile marketing, does that require athletic ability? Do we need to run? Or jump?
Agile has recently become a buzzword in marketing, but luckily there’s no need to put your running shoes on quite yet. With 85% of marketers planning to increase agile usage in the next two years, maybe it’s time to try agile in your B2B marketing.
The term ‘agile’ has a lot of hype surrounding it, but hang on, what does it actually mean? Doing tasks quicker? A specific, structured method? Or having no plan? No, no, and no. These are common misconceptions about what agile marketing means.
Let’s set the record straight by diving into the ‘whats’, ‘whys’, and ‘hows’ of agile marketing.
What is agile marketing?
Agile marketing, inspired by agile software development, is characterized by its sprints, collaboration, and data-driven decisions. It has 6 key values which can help you to understand what agile is all about.
Respond to change over following a plan.
This doesn’t mean ‘don’t plan’ - it just means making your plans more flexible. Instead of writing a 40-page marketing plan every quarter, try just writing a page. This may seem drastic and a little impossible but the key is in the details. Your one-page plan should only contain your goals and aspirations for that quarter. This way everyone on your team is aware of their goals but no one is stuck in a box - allowing you to adapt to rapid changes in the industry.
Every 2-4 weeks look at your goals and re-prioritize tasks and goals. This way, you’re always moving in the right direction (towards your goals) but can shift the order and importance of tasks as necessary.
Rapid iterations over big-bang campaigns.
More traditional marketing strategies often use big campaigns that run for 3-6 months - these campaigns are costly and time-consuming so it’s hard to admit failure and pull the plug when things are going wrong. In agile marketing, you start with a small strategy and test it out. Then you measure the results and document what you learned. This way you learn something and there’s no huge loss whether it’s successful or not. By constantly testing small ideas you can get a feel for what works and what doesn’t using customer feedback and metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), conversions and social media engagement.
Testing and data over opinions and conventions.
Agile marketing tries to avoid going off the highest-paid person’s opinion (HIPPO), instead, testing ideas and using metrics is the way to go. And not just any metric - using the right metrics will allow you to make the right decisions for your agile strategy. Don’t use the wrong metrics to back up a failing idea and boost your ego - remember, failing is good as you can learn from your mistakes!
Many small experiments over a few big bets.
Using data to make decisions is important in agile marketing and so is spending your time and budget in the right way. The 70/20/10 rule can help you with this. It states that you should use 70% of your budget and 50% of your time on things that work, the data should back this up. Then you spend 20% of your budget and 25% of your time on trying to improve what works. These are small tweaks and experiments that will help you optimize the 70% stuff. The rule then says to use the remaining 10% of your budget and 25% of your time on out-there ideas. Go wild! Only around 2 out of 10 ideas will likely work - but that’s okay! The point of this section is to be creative, eventually, a few of those ideas will be the future 70 or 20%.
Individuals and interactions over one size fits all.
Engagement with individual customers is important in agile marketing. You should try to personalize your interactions for each buyer. This includes doing research to find the right information about them to have more genuine conversations. Find out each customer's specific pain points and needs in order to satisfy them on an individual (or organizational) level. One size doesn’t fit all in agile marketing - personalization is key.
Collaboration over hierarchy and silos.
Often the different departments in companies struggle to communicate. In agile marketing, collaboration between marketing, sales and upper management is essential. Goals should be a group effort - you should make them together and review them together. This helps to keep everyone on the same page.
Why should you implement agile marketing?
There are many key benefits of agile marketing but the big brain team of marketers at SprintZero defined these four, and these stats from Agile Sherpa back them up.
- Get more done (fast): Agile marketing teams report being 53% more productive and releasing material 53% faster than before adopting agile into their strategy.
- Get the right things done: 53% of agile marketers say they can more effectively prioritize their work in an agile marketing department.
- Adapt to change: 51% of agile marketers can quickly and effectively change based on feedback.
- Improve communication: Marketers report 46% more visibility into the project status, this visibility is also reported to aid in the early detection of problems (36%).
How can you implement agile marketing?
Now that you know the benefits of agile marketing you may be wondering how you can implement it into your strategy and reap its rewards. Well, look no further as we share a few tips and things to think about when implementing an agile marketing strategy.
Sprints (but not the running kind)
A sprint is a small time frame (usually a week) to get certain tasks done quickly. Your project should be divided up into several sprints. Remember - the goal isn’t perfection. The aim is to get tasks done quickly for rapid iterations. No need for running shoes.
All B2B marketing should be customer-centric but this is especially true in agile marketing. Personalizing your strategy for each customer is essential in creating quality interactions with clients.
We know collaboration was already mentioned, but it’s so important it needs a reappearance. Working well as a team, and working with sales and upper management is essential in agile marketing. Without teamwork, you can’t get the right things done.
Scrum or stand-up meetings are short (20-30min), weekly meetings with your team. These allow you and your team to share their progress and get help with any problems. This is also a good place for creative solutions.
Fail fast and often
Because the goal of a sprint isn’t perfection, you will fail and you will fail often. Don’t let that get you down, agile marketing is about the learning process. Learn from your failings.
Test, monitor, track and optimize
An agile strategy should include testing ideas using A/B tests, monitoring the project's progress, tracking data, and optimizing the marketing approach. Data is a key factor in agile decision-making.
Overall, agile marketing can be a great way to increase productivity and prioritize tasks. Focusing more on constant improvement instead of perfection will allow you to learn more about what works well and what doesn’t. And at the end of the day, that results in more informed decisions about the needs of your customers.
If you were disappointed there’s no running involved in agile marketing, maybe you should go for that run now.
Got questions about agile marketing? Maybe you've got some top tips to share? Head to the B2B Marketing Alliance Community!