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How can you adopt agile marketing?

24 October 2016
by Nick Washbourne

Last week, we blogged about the growing level of jargon within the marketing profession. Half of the time new terminology now becomes lost in translation, which leaves many of you marketers baffled about what you should – or shouldn’t – be doing. However, behind the complex terms you’ll often find some incredibly interesting disciplines that can change the way you perform in your role. If only it was easier to understand what they mean!

So, we thought we’d delve a little deeper into one of the concepts we explored in our jargon blog.

Agile marketing

Agile marketing was by far the hottest topic to have emerged from that post, and people have continued to talk to us about it in the weeks that followed. It’s perhaps unsurprising – agile methodologies have changed the way businesses operate worldwide. From product development to IT implementation, agile working focuses on small, self-organised teams collaborating on projects and iterating as they go. The result is cost-effective and timely progress, with a commitment to continuous improvement, rather than the slightly unrealistic and unmanageable expectation of getting something 100% right first time. And, the world is changing at such a pace that failing to work in an agile manner means there’s a significant risk of products, processes and attitudes being left behind.

But how do you apply the principles of agility to marketing?

  • Firstly, you need to understand your goals. Essentially, these should be to improve the speed, adaptability and success of your team, in order to achieve increasing customer satisfaction.

  • Next you should bring together the people who will collaborate on the project, campaign, strategy or vision. This isn’t about hierarchy – it’s about harnessing the overall value that comes when individual and varied talents come together.

  • Everyone needs to understand the purpose of working together as an agile team. Rather than stick to a concrete plan, the team should be hungry for change and responsive to new ideas/opportunities to improve, as they arise. There should be an appetite for testing, reviewing, tweaking and evolving.

  • Because agile marketing will continue to reap greater rewards as progress is made, the team shouldn’t strive for 100% objective fulfilment from the start. It’s more important to achieve some early customer satisfaction and engagement (before a competitor does!) which can then be nurtured. So, try and solve one customer problem, for example, before finding a way to add more value as the relationship grows.

  • Involve wider departments in the ‘learn and build’ strategy that you develop, so that sales and business development insight, metrics and objectives can be considered along the way. This also opens up channels of communication beyond the marketing team which should further improve responsiveness moving forward and help maintain pace.

  • As agilemarketing.net summarises perfectly – ‘Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice’. An agile team should therefore provide a ‘safe’ space where ideas can be explored.

Force24 has adopted this very approach to evolving the product roadmap of our own marketing automation software. It is constantly being iterated to leverage newfound opportunities for our clients.

We also implement agile principles when tackling specific marketing objectives for our customers. For example, we watch campaigns and data engagement in real time, record benchmarks so we know what ‘good’ looks like, and use these benchmarks to evaluate the success of future activities. If we over-perform, we ramp up the activity and capitalise on the opportunity. If a campaign under-performs, we respond quickly and look at what we can do to improve deliverability, open rates, clicks and conversions.

Teams that don’t work to agile principles will soon become stifled with an inability to change or respond to market potential. So, why don’t you give it a try within your own team?

Photo of Nick Washbourne
Nick Washbourne
Commercial Director

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