Marketers face constant pressure to deliver the most customer-centric experience possible. And that’s where you need an agile approach.
With it, you can adjust your approach to deliver faster and better than ever before. And this is key, because, as CMO.com has reported, 85 percent of CEOs say agility and responsiveness are the most important attributes for marketing, but only 53 percent are satisfied with their marketing leadership in this area.
To be agile, keep in mind four considerations:
- Educate internally what “agile” means. There might be a perception that it’s just doing something quickly, but that’s not always the case. Take steps to evaluate along the way, and be willing (and able) to adjust. Be prepared to communicate that accordingly.
- There are hurdles. Sometimes you need to overcome organizational obstacles for a more agile approach. Keep it fluid. A set framework is fine, but a short-term strategy must build for the long term toward something more continuous. Grow comfortable with knowing you’ll continue to make adjustments to strategy over the course of the year. There’s no set-it-and-forget-it mentality in agile. And it takes appropriate budgeting to set those courses effectively. Transparency is key for success. Share the metrics to give a true sense of performance.
- There’s low-hanging fruit for getting you on the path to agile. This starts in digital, social and search engine marketing, which are inherently agile. They’re built so you’re constantly analyzing and optimizing. At a minimum, do this quarterly, preferably more frequently. Show success with these baby steps as part of your communications mix in a larger plan. Test out a hypothesis with small checkpoints for evaluation, and make adjustments to the plan or strategy. Share what you’ve learned as a way to promote agile in the organization.
- Break down silos. Be innovative. Many people need to wear multiple hats from a business perspective, and they need to be willing to adjust as needed. This is a big shift from the traditional approach of outlining goals and plans annually (and then abandoning them completely if competitive pressure requires a shift).
An agile approach allows you to break projects into smaller deliverables to accommodate shifting priorities. But you’ll need to start thinking about Plans B, C and D at the beginning of planning to anticipate what you might need to reach your goal. Identify an action team whose members are willing and flexible enough to break down timelines to work more quickly rather than following a set process. Your success depends upon your team’s ability to be responsive, adaptive and flexible.
In agile marketing, you’re always winning if you’ve tried something, learned from it and achieved a better result. It’s that simple. “The traditional annual planning routine is ripe for extinction,” analyst Laura Ramos wrote in a Forrester report. “As 69 percent of our B2B marketing leaders say, conditions change too quickly to keep plans current.”
Agile marketing will help you keep pace so you won’t face extinction.