If you were to describe the modern world with one adjective, what would it be? Most would probably choose fast, changing, or unpredictable. Professionals who want to keep up with it have to adapt their activities, transform them when necessary act swiftly and flexibly. It applies to marketing teams as well. Find out why Agile methodology is considered the best approach to constant change and what’s behind the phrase “agile marketing.”
What is agile marketing? – table of contents:
- The history of the creation of the Agile Manifesto
- What is Agile Marketing?
- 5 principles of Agile marketing
- Rigidly sticking to the plan doesn’t work in today’s reality
- Don’t be afraid of failure!
- Interdisciplinary teams, short iterations
- How to introduce Agile marketing into your business?
- What are the advantages of implementing Agile marketing?
The history of the creation of the Agile Manifesto
You need to know that the agile method wasn’t initially developed to revolutionize the marketing world. It all started in 2001 when a group of 17 programmers met to discuss the future of the software industry together. They didn’t like the current state of affairs and wanted to make changes that would reshape the way software companies think. This is because they believed that they were paying too much attention to processes, losing sight of what was most important – customer satisfaction. The joint meeting resulted in the publication of the now-famous Agile Manifesto, which originally sounded like this:
“As a result of our work, we began to value more:
People and interactions from processes and tools,
Working software from detailed documentation,
Working with clients in contract negotiations,
Responding to changes from the implementation of the established plan.
This means that the elements written out on the right are valuable, but of greater value to us are those written out on the left.”
During this meeting, 12 principles were also created, which to this day are still key guidelines for many individuals, companies, and teams. As we mentioned earlier, this was intended only to be an aid for software development teams. However, it quickly became apparent that these rules are so universal that they will also work successfully in other industries.
What is Agile Marketing?
From the beginning, Agile methodologies have been an essential element that set the course for many marketing teams looking to keep up with the times. The new principles became so prevalent that in 2012 a separate Agile marketing manifesto came into existence, which was of course based on the original template.
5 principles of Agile marketing
- Focusing on customer value and business results rather than activities and benefits
- Delivering early value over striving for perfection
- Learning through experimentation beyond opinions and established patterns
- Multifunctional cooperation over hierarchy
- Responding to change by following a strict plan
Each marketing team will apply differently those principles and adapt them to its needs. It’s natural. The main assumptions provide a general framework and indicate directions that the team can choose from to get the most out of its functionalities. Nonetheless, the aspects considered particularly crucial however concern teamwork and quick response to changes.
Rigidly sticking to the plan doesn’t work in today’s reality
All organizations plan regularly, i.e, monthly, quarterly, yearly, and even several years. They lay out the assumptions that we strive for and the further steps to meticulously implement them. A predetermined scheme yields an apparent sense of control. Why apparent? Most such strategic plans have little to do with reality and resemble rather fortune-telling. For instance, has anyone been able to predict the recent Covid-19 pandemic and its lockdowns? Probably not.
External factors, to a greater or lesser extent, affect the planned marketing activities and cause our meticulously noted plan, to be turned upside down.
Does the Agile method abandon planning altogether and take a relaxed approach to ongoing activities? Not really. A vision or an established scheme is a must-have. It’s more about adjusting the approach toward its implementation. The points set out in the plans are only meant to be a direction of development that can be changed if necessary, not a rigid plan that will be carried out despite everything. Agile marketing assumes that alterations are bound to happen and sees the potential they generate.
Don’t be afraid of failure!
Most of us hold that failure is something bad we should feel ashamed of. The idea of Agile somehow challenges this approach by seeing failure as an opportunity to, while learning quickly and effectively. The philosophy encourages experimentation and bold decisions. According to it, the best source of knowledge and experience comes from lessons taken from own mistakes. Agile marketing encourages taking the role of an observer and looking at all current activities. Spotting minor mistakes taken at different stages is a way to improve faster and save money.
Interdisciplinary teams, short iterations
One of the fundamental tenets of Agile concerns the initiation of interdisciplinary teams that can autonomously execute successive projects. It’s a simple way to reduce bottlenecks and get things done faster.
It is helpful for long-term projects to break them down into smaller parts, so-called sprints. Short segments are simpler to complete, plus they help detect any irregularities more quickly and help in introducing changes more efficiently.
The Agile methodology also places great emphasis on transparency and collaboration. One of the most common tools for it is the Kanban board. Its chief capability is to keep all team members well-oriented over the project’s status. What also enhances the right flow of information are daily summarizing meetings, provided that they are brief and concise.
How to introduce Agile marketing into your business?
Here, the method of taking smaller steps will work best. Don’t plan a big upheaval in the company or a scheduled concrete date for everything to begin functioning completely differently. That’s not the point. The Agile methodology guarantees enough flexibility to cherry-pick the rules you need most at a given moment and lets you adjust the pace of transitioning through gradual phasing in. As sudden revolutionary changes lead to chaos, remember to set off with initiative and consistently implement more. Nonetheless, remember to stay open-minded for amendments and flexible with the strategy you have developed.
What are the advantages of implementing Agile marketing?
The change in the organization of the teams and the flexible approach to the plan facilitates the pace of work and improves productivity. Business owners who turned their marketing teams to Agile most often quote it as the key capability. The other is flexibility. Many organizations have found that rigidly following a fixed annual plan does not work in a constantly evolving modern world reality.
The ability to react quickly and adapt to realities has become increasingly valued. The breakout from past obsolete paradigms brings about many benefits to the company. Agile practitioners define the overall goal they are aiming for, but the individual steps also establish individuals as they go along. The introduction of this methodology also enables the company to increase its competitive advantage. A company that constantly develops improves its operations and adapts to the realities of the market will do far better than one that follows a strictly fixed plan.
Is Agile marketing a one-size-fits-all answer for every company? Certainly not. Still, it will work in many cases. When properly applied, it should balance out pursuing a specific plan and delivering value to customers.