With the rapidly changing nature of consumerism today, marketing, too, needs to be up to the mark. Whether it involves following the tried-and-tested code or changing strategies overnight, marketing carries the sole purpose of delivering a business's value proposition to the customers in a creative way. Bringing resilience into the world of marketing, to stay in pace with the consumers and what's trending, Agile Marketing has the potential to break through the sales barriers a business may be facing.
Let's see how Agile Marketing works by covering the following particulars:
- Introduction to Agile Marketing
- What is Agile Marketing?
- What Does The Agile Marketing Team Do?
- Agile Marketing Process
- Agile Marketing Does it All But Requires Perseverance (Conclusion)
Introduction to Agile Marketing
When Oreo posted the picture of a cookie in the Gay Pride colors on Facebook for the occasion, it made a tidal splash - in both senses. While garnering likes and shares counting up to 6 digits, it also attracted flak from the anti-supporters. However, the point was made: there was Agile at play in the war-rooms of Oreo. Somebody at Oreo had thought up the strategy to leverage Gay Pride Day as it stirred up a massive storm recently, and stand on that podium with its cookies on sale.
In a way, Oreo really showed the world how Agile is done. Agile marketing is all about finding relevance in the trends that sweep the region and pitching your sails on that tide to ride the wave. It is a short-term strategy that may change each month - but it gets the products flying off your shelves, and that's what every business wants at the end of the day.
The trick of the trade is to know how to responsibly and effectively use Agile to pivot your brand on the subjects that the population is excited about. Let's take a deeper dive into agile marketing.
What is Agile Marketing?
A business cannot survive if it isn't agile. Much like the difference between a tree and a shoot of bamboo in the wind - in order to survive and thrive in a world with changing ideals and evolving principles, your business, too, must adapt. Agile marketing embodies this very concept of approaching the public with the products your business sells.
Agile Marketing is the process of crafting marketing campaigns around high-value, relevant products or deliverables that happen in spurts or bursts of intense strategizing that aligns with company goals and objectives.
Agile marketing may involve completely morphing the internal workflows to follow the trends (like digitalization) or external campaigns that work on the frontlines to attract more leads and boost sales (like what Oreo did).
Although agile marketing requires the marketing and sales teams to be resilient to changing strategies (sometimes even overnight), there is a lot of practice and getting-used-to required in order to get all the workflows working in tandem.
In simpler words, marketing teams identify high-relevance, high-value subjects, and projects around which they base their sales and advertisement strategies to cash in on the flash-flood.
In an internalized agile marketing race, Spotify took the trophy with its fantastic nomenclature system to distinguish between Agile teams working at different scales and across geographies. In order to account for Agile, Spotify created a "Squad" - a collection of individuals dedicated to its Agile campaigns. To scale up, when various Squads comprised of different professionals came together to work, they were termed as a "Tribe". Now, it was very likely that a Tribe would have many individuals with the same professional profile - a collection of similar professionals within a Tribe came to be known as "Chapters". Now, when Spotify desired to scale up further to cover the entire organization (which had multiple Tribes), the Chapters were now clustered into "Guilds". Now you see?
Simply by leveraging the highly popular jargon, Spotify managed to implement Agile across the entire organization without facing any scaling issues.
How can your business adopt Agile marketing? Are there any marketing attributes to consider? Do you need a specialized team? Let's take a look at that now.
What Does The Agile Marketing Team Do?
Much like how Spotify did it, there are various roles and responsibilities that rest on the shoulders of your Agile marketing team. Here is a brief overview of what an agile marketing team does for your business.
Setting Expectations From an Initiative and Aligning With The Leadership
It rests on the Agile team to communicate to the marketing and sales department that "business as usual" doesn't hold anymore. To forget yesterday's strategies and start with a blank slate; to communicate clearly what the initiative is, what riders it operates with, and what trends it is aiming to catch; to get everyone on board with where the Agile marketing campaign is going with this strategy and the numbers that are to be expected at the end of the day.
Through continuous collaboration, supervision, and tweaking, the Agile marketing team strives to align the outcome with the business goals, all the while keeping the customers at the center of it all.
Hands-on Work With Data and Analytics
The power of data and analytics is effectively leveraged in agile marketing practice. After ensuring that all the associates are on the same page as the agile leaders, the agile marketing team begins by deriving insights from analytics that concern the targeted initiative. Discovering opportunities, finding pain points, devising solutions, and putting together a market pitch that addresses all of the aspects of the initiative then becomes the task of the highest priority.
A day-by-day progress report may be submitted by every individual to account for his milestones every day since the nature of agile is short-term and it pays off to achieve the set targets every single day.
Designing a Campaign and Running Prototypes
After the number-crunching and data-oriented studies are done and dusted, the real work begins. Formulating a campaign that revolves around the opportunity or pain point discovered and bringing it into an implementable form is the first step that agile marketing takes. In order to test out the strategy, the prototypes are fed into various testing methods that the agile marketing team designs - the campaign performance is measured based on the key performance indicators set for the initiative. The campaign must qualify on two areas of testing: ease of implementation and potential impact on business.
The qualifiers are then shortlisted for further consideration before the campaign is implemented.
Testing a campaign is a sprint - maybe a week or two weeks, at most. The agile marketing team will put a marketing strategy into action for a week or two, and measure where the numbers and customers are going with it. Based on the market response, the testing team then streamlines the strategy. For example, as COVID-19 shook up the world, insurance companies started taking a raincheck. However, some stepped up to the game and understood what the population wanted; they went digital in service delivery, documentation, and verification, responding to the customers' desire to stay at home. By delivering services in resonance with what their customers needed at the moment, the insurance industry stood revolutionized - and now has gone totally digital, even in inspections and claim settlements.
Filtering and Continuation
Based on what the test results reveal, the agile marketing team filters out the strategies that haven't worked or haven't generated results aligned with the targets. The ones that did work get to sit through intensive deliberations for streamlining and improvement. They are updated according to the latest trends. The agile marketing team also works on identifying the strategies that yield desired results, iterating on them, and scaling them up to the level that the business is seeking to launch the campaign.
Let's look at the detailed process that agile marketing follows.
Agile Marketing Process
There's a lot that an Agile marketing team must do and accomplish - in a very short timeframe at that. For agile marketing campaigns to have maximum impact, majorly all organizations create a tailored method to go about it - a method that aligns with their goals and ethos. There isn't a "prescribed" process of agile marketing; it all really depends on how well you understand the methodologies that make it, and how you customize these methodologies to make them relevant for your purpose.
Agile marketing employs two principal methods: Scrum and Kanban.
The scrum method involves campaigning in sprints, and each sprint lasts no longer than six weeks. Sprints are projects or campaigns that the agile marketing team adopts for marketing the current products. Within this time frame of a month and a fortnight, the agile marketing team completes one sprint and moves on to the next. However, once a sprint is decided, the goals cannot change midway.
The scrum method works best when the agile marketing team has a clear view of the company goals and the big picture. The disjointed, individual sprints that a team accomplishes must add up to a more meaningful, bigger goal for the business at the end.
Scrums depend on how well the following professionals carry out their respective roles.
This professional is the conductor of the orchestra and has a total view of every sprint that is currently in play. He manages tasks and processes so as to keep things on a timeline, smoothens out the creases in the processes, helps teams get through meetings, ensures collaboration, maintains open communication between teams, and guides the team on how to use the Agile marketing Scrum framework.
Products and Customers Owner
The person who understands in-depth how consumers are responding to his company's campaigns, understands what they want and anticipates the nature and direction of demand; and is the owner of the product. This individual ensures that the company is offering deliverables laced with value for the customers as well as for the business.
Developers / Enablers
Aside from the two profiles mentioned above, every other agile marketing professional is in the role of enabler/developer. These individuals all have different sets of skills and have been put together in the agile marketing team to make it more cross-functional and adaptive. Ideally, it pays to have one individual each from all the departments a deliverable is concerned with.
"Kanban" hails from the Japanese practice of lean manufacturing wherein the progress of products is tracked through information cards attached with them. It was incepted by an industrial engineer at Toyota, Mr. Taiichi Ohno.
This technique banks on the "visual" progress of each campaign, and the timelines are typically longer than with projects running on the scrum technique.
Kanban employs a board with several columns that are titled "To Do", "In Progress", and "Completed". Each of these columns has spaces to stick cards onto. Each task is jotted down on a card (they look sort of like a post-it note) and is placed in the column with its respective status.
For example, say for a content marketing campaign, your company has the tasks outlined as "SEO", "Plan topics" and "Outsource blogs". In the beginning, all the task cards would be placed in the To-Do column. As and when each task gets assigned or taken up by a professional, the respective card moves to the In Progress column. As soon as the task gets done, its card is then moved to the Completed column. In this manner, the entire agile marketing team has full visibility of project progress.
Kanban promotes accountability among team members because each member has their cards on the board for the world to see - and they would want it moved to the Completed column as soon as possible.
As project complexity increases, the number of columns on the Kanban board also increases. It is all customized, really - based on the milestones specific to the project undertaken by the agile marketing team. "To Do", "Doing" and "Done" are the three most basic Kanban columns that work best for simpler projects.
Kanban banks on moving task cards from one status to the next; this creates loopholes for project timelines - how can delays be controlled, and how can streamlining be achieved? Here, Kanban employs the universal concept of logic. From the previous example, unless the SEO and Plan Topics cards move to the Completed column, the Outsource Blogs card cannot move into In Progress column.
Regardless of which agile marketing technique fits the nature of your business, it is important to know that it is your team, in the end, that's doing everything. The agile marketing professionals need to be up to the mark with their comprehension of the business's objectives, and confident in their strategies to get there.
Agile Marketing Does it All But Requires Perseverance - Conclusion
There may be times when strategies don't perform, when goals aren't met, when the team isn't working in tandem - all of that is part of the transition to Agile. Agile marketing requires deep understanding and extreme versatility on account of the individuals involved, such that even if in a flash all of the strategies were to change, they would still perform.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. Getting used to Agile marketing takes time and effort, but with the right information and professionals, it will definitely work, and your business will reap the benefits.
How Deskera Can Assist You?
Whether you are a sales manager or running your own business, there are tons of duties and responsibilities that you have to fulfill. Using the Deskera CRM system, you can manage your contacts, leads and sales deals. You can use the CRM system to manage all customer data and manage your leads, sales negotiations and deals.
Doing so will help you to save the time taken in transferring customer data between the different systems. Having a good CRM system will help you manage your financial and sales reports and be prepared to kick-off your meetings.
Deskera can also assist you with real-time updates about your business like cash flow status, customer satisfaction, inventory management, sales, purchases, purchase orders, customer tickets, customer satisfaction, managing leads, revenues, profit, and loss statements, and balance sheets.
Moreover, it would also help in integrating sales methodology across different platforms onto one system so that you have a consolidated list for email campaigns, leads management, and sales pipeline to mention a few.
It will also help you to sync between your orders, payments, taxes, refunds, product variants, sending out invoices and reminders, facilitating invoice management, and even undertaking follow-ups and advertisement campaigns.
Such a consolidated platform will help you to improve your sales through building effective sales compensation plans and also facilitate faster and well-informed decision-making. It will help you in strengthening your opportunities and being braced for the threats.
Many brands today have gone Agile with their outwards marketing campaigns (like Oreo) and even for improving internal efficiencies (like Spotify). Agile marketing not only helps a business stay in the talks by targeting trends but also boosts sales along the way by leveraging that trend to its benefit.
Agile marketing teams have clearly defined roles and responsibilities:
- Setting expectations from a campaign right
- Working with data
- Designing and running prototype campaigns
- Testing the campaign
- Perpetuating successes
Various professionals involved in Agile marketing perform the roles above according to their areas of expertise and report directly to the lead member.
Whether to adopt the Scrum or Kanban method of agile marketing depends on the industry a business plays in. While scrum banks on short-term sprints that last for about 6 weeks, Kanban works on progress visuals through a task board, typically on longer timelines.
Regardless of the method chosen for agile marketing, it is always prudent to give some time for the new marketing to settle in and do its thing - to let the learning curve play its part.