“I surround myself with examples of smart marketing. This example set can include people, places and things and is constantly evolving
Be it humans or marketing, evolution has been crucial for progress.
We have moved a long way, from L’Oréal’s “Because You’re Worth It” to “10 ways to get better hair”. Or “10 ways to keep your skin healthy”.
It has not been more than a decade since inbound marketing came into the mainstream. Even then, it is continuously evolving. Newer versions. Inbound has been termed as the present and future of marketing.
But a very few would still call it a new, or better, breed. Unless you combine it with the power of agile.
Let’s see what we have here.
What is Agile Marketing?
“A high-communication, low-documentation, rapid iteration process designed to provide more frequent, more relevant, and highly measurable, marketing programs. Ultimately the goals are speed and innovation.”
This is how Gerry Murray, ICD defines agile marketing.
Agile marketing principles are derived from agile software development. What made marketers adopt them is the efficient values that it offers.
In simple words, agile marketing changes the structure and the speed at which your marketing program works. It incorporates bursts of intensive outputs which are highly iterative to provide superior customer experience.
There’s also data to suggest that people are keen on adopting it and has already joined the race.
Let’s see how it looks in action. An outlook of how agile marketing works to be different and better than inbound.
How does it work (different from inbound)?
An approach to marketing that takes its inspiration from Agile Development and that values: 1) Responding to change over following a plan, 2) testing and data over opinions and conventions, 3) numerous small experiments over a few large bets, 4) engagement and transparency over official posturing and 5) collaboration over silos and hierarchy.
– Jim Ewel, AgileMarketing.net
Jim Ewel has made all the points, but there are still differences between the two.
1. Small efforts for big changes
Where inbound still needs a check is the scale of working. Be it teams or duration of plan. The waterfall approach to inbound marketing makes it a tedious job.
Since you have months and months to make a campaign, it may get outdated when you start executing it. And when marketing trends changes within a few months, it makes more sense. Plus, analysis of the campaign can be done only after it has been run for a period of time. Not to mention the problems you will run into during execution delaying it even further.
How Agile marketing makes it better is by breaking the things into small chunks for more effective working.
Small teams: Here, the regular hierarchy and silos are broken and small teams are formed to work on various projects. This helps in increasing efficiency as the whole marketing team is not involved in doing one project.
Small time duration: Agile marketing does it by using sprints–the way it is done for a software development project. Sprints are basically short period of time allotted to a team for intensive work. They can range from 2-6 weeks.
Small campaigns: Don’t plan the full campaign at once. Just make an outline and implement them in parts for better iteration and hence superior campaigns.
2. Robust and flexible plans
In inbound marketing, the basic lag is the hierarchy in team and the structure of workflow. The so called water fall workflow works like this.
On the other hand, agile marketing makes the implementation easier and better. And that’s because it follows scrum workflow. The campaign is not launched at once. Instead it’s broken down into sprints.
Here’s a sample of the workflow.
Using this well designed flexible workflow, one iterates each step for a better outcome. It also produces results at much efficient rates. With experimental and iterative approach, one can also analyse and solve problems at each step saving time.
To conclude, it can be translated into following formula:
Inbound Marketing = Better + Cheaper
Agile Marketing = Better + Cheaper + Faster+ Smarter
3. Listens well to respond effectively and quickly
Agile marketing brings the spotlight to the customers. In agile marketing, one listen to customers and respond as fast as possible with a robust solution. And this is not just applied to improve your services.
Use it to enhance the best part of inbound: Content. The social media has made the task for you easier. Monitor your social media profiles to know the latest trends and understand what your customer is talking about. And write on those topics.
People mostly write their problems online. Using agile marketing, you can give them a quick response by replying them instantly with a solution or even better make a blog on the topic the very next day. The ease of analysis and optimization of the agile approach makes it easier to do so.
Use user stories to focus on your audience. The general format for a user story is:
As a __________, I would like ________ so I can _________.
Using this ensures that your content meets the need of your targeted audience as it streamlines the content for them. Keep a constant engagement by planning your content strategy the agile way.
4. Real teamwork
Though the group formed are small but they break the hierarchy by collaborating people from different departments. This helps the team to have a collective approach and take actions faster.
Moreover, this can help the fighting brothers “Marketing and sales” of a team come together for a better lead generation.
A few examples
In a traditional inbound marketing approach, creating such instant real-time content is not easy. During the 34-minute blackout in the last Super Bowl, the Oreo team managed to turn around a tweet, “You can still dunk in the dark”, that was retweeted more than 15,000 times within 14 hours.
Amul, India’s most popular dairy brand, is known for its fun and quirky content around trending topics. It always use trends for its content and does it with an agile approach. This one came from a controversial Indian movie. Agile marketing technique not only helps Amul create engaging content but also makes their content creation process faster.
Using scrum workflow and dividing a long marketing plan into small chunks, agile marketing make inbound marketing easier and faster to execute. It not only helps the customers and company but even is a boon for employees by bringing the best out of them and providing experience in quite a less time.
Agile marketing indeed lives up to its name by adding a nimble element to inbound marketing