Marketing is a volatile landscape in which the only certainty is change, especially when it comes to digital marketing. Every day, huge amounts of content are created, collected, consumed, and distributed across an increasing number of media channels.
Brands compete over increasingly short attention spans of potential and existing customers. Agile marketing helps startups create their own digital presence and reach prospective customers — so you better know how to make it work for you.
What is agile marketing?
Before diving into how to go about adopting it, let’s start by defining what agile marketing means.
Agile marketing is a strategy that you can use to find, test, and implement focused marketing projects. In general, agile strategies involve breaking projects down into component pieces and working on those pieces in sprints (set time periods).
After each sprint, you evaluate your progress and the overall project to ensure it is moving in the right direction and to verify if any changes need to be made.
When implementing for marketing projects, these strategies can be used to break down larger projects, including ad campaigns, website user testing, or rebranding. The benefits of implementing agile in marketing workflows include:
- Clear focus — goals are clearly defined from the start and projects are crafted to fit those goals rather than vice versa.
- Nuanced campaigns — a focus on user experience enables teams to leverage customer behaviors and preferences. This enables businesses to create campaigns that are more cost effective and successful, even with smaller audiences.
- Consistent growth — feedback loops help teams identify effective strategies and eliminate ineffective ones. This promotes growth and predictable marketing results.
4 reasons your startup needs agile marketing
In my experience, overhauling your marketing strategy may seem like a task best to leave for later, but implementing agile early on is often easier in the long run. Agile workflows require a mindset and cooperation that can be difficult to create once teams have established workflows.
As a startup, you can optimize your marketing with this strategy more easily due to the following advantages — so use them to encourage early adoption.
1. Opportunities for consistent practices and processes
Startups tend to have fluid responsibilities and lots of cross-functionality in their team members which naturally encourages collaboration. Agile can operationalize this collaboration, enabling teams to develop structures for support and joint responsibility.
Since teams were never siloed in the first place, agile supports staff in naturally sharing ideas and workflows. This structure can then help ensure that timelines are met and processes are refined without interrupting productivity as a startup grows.
2. Faster knowledge sharing creates shared understanding
Due to the overlapping responsibility and collaboration that comes with agile teams, it is easier for team members to share knowledge and skills sets.
This can help reduce back and forth cycles of creation and approval and ensure that members better understand each other’s perspectives and capabilities.
3. Incorporating agile marketing values in leadership early
Since startups do not come with an extensive history of “how things are done” leaders may be less likely to oppose agile strategies. Likewise, early startup hires who begin with agile workflows are more likely to carry that understanding and mindset into leadership roles in the future.
This early indoctrination of agile enables startups to create a business culture that supports and promotes agile. When implemented well, this can grant teams greater flexibility to do what they know and can drive marketing innovation for the company.
4. Agile project management tools from the start
Another way the freedom of startups feeds into agile benefits is in tooling. New companies do not have the technical debt or contract limitations that older companies do.
This means they can more easily adopt tooling that supports agile workflows. This reduces the overall IT burden since you can avoid costly integrations or retraining.
Agile marketing: 4 tips to do it right
When implementing agile marketing strategies, I’ve found the following tips can help reduce workflow conflicts, encourage collaboration, and ensure continual improvement.
1. Select team members wisely
When creating your team, you should focus on gathering cross-functional members with diverse and relevant skills. Typical roles and skills to gather include graphic designers, content writers, database specialists, marketing automation specialists, and demand generation specialists.
When selecting your members, prioritize those who bring the skills you need (or don’t have) and can collaborate well.
2. Ensure visibility
For agile marketing teams to collaborate successfully, you should maintain visibility of several aspects, including:
- Project goals and progress — including the goals of the current sprint, the overall project goals, which tasks are in which sprint, and the timeline for completion. To accomplish this, teams often adopt tools such as kanban boards that enable the creation, assignment, and tracking of tasks. These tools may also include dashboards for metrics or timelines.
- Customer base — including who target customers are, their preferences, and how effective various strategies are with that audience. Teams can ensure this information is visible through customer relationship management (CRM) systems, visualizations of demographics, website heatmaps, and results from customer surveys.
- Available media assets — including assets from previous campaigns, branding assets, and information about where assets are currently in use. Visibility of media assets is often managed with digital asset management systems (DAMs), which enable teams to create detailed libraries of assets and asset use.
3. Meet frequently
Teams should be in frequent contact with each other to help hold each other accountable, brainstorm solutions to issues that arise, and update each other on progress.
Meetings don’t have to be long (or in person) but should be orderly, with points to be addressed, and routinely scheduled. Often, teams meet once a day to check in but can meet more frequently as long as meetings don’t interfere with productivity.
4. Learn from your mistakes
One of the greatest benefits of agile is that it’s iterative but only if you learn from your mistakes. With each sprint you have an opportunity to evaluate your workflows, goals, and progress. If anything isn’t working as well as expected, you should identify improvements before moving on to the next sprint.
As long as you evaluate progress and implement improvements, you can minimize your risks and maximize the revenue generated by your campaigns. However, if you ignore issues or don’t objectively evaluate strategies, you will have a hard time benefiting from agile.
Agile marketing strategies break projects down into short and actionable sprints, which are much easier to implement, track, and measure. Setting up clear goals enables you to achieve them faster and with ease.
A clear workflow can help you to set up nuanced campaigns, which are typically cost-effective and highly successful. You can also leverage agile marketing to create a feedback loop that ensures your team works effectively and collaborates well with all involved parties.
Now what are you waiting for? Go try it out!