If you hang out with corporate techies, you undoubtedly hear about “agile development” – the approach to developing software that relies on responding effectively to change rather than following a rigid plan to get the best results.
Yet more and more, the term “agile” is being tossed around in the marketing department – and with very good reason. The agile approach makes sense in myriad ways for marketing in an era of rapid change, fast-evolving consumer expectations and fierce competition. Agile marketing allows for dynamic creativity, as well as the ability to quickly respond to changing market conditions.
Specifically, there are some key principles that set agile apart from traditional marketing approaches and campaigns. Among them:
Responding to change, opposed to following a rigid plan
Agile marketers understand that in the highly dynamic marketplace, what worked yesterday might not be effective today. Flexibility is built into the way agile marketers work so you do not end up sticking with a campaign or approach that is not delivering measurable results.
Iterations over traditional campaigns
Traditional marketing campaigns often require months of planning, roll out in an pre-determined schedule and are executed according to plan over an established period of time. In agile marketing, the “campaign” evolves based on a range of factors including customer response, market dynamics or external factors. If traditional campaigns are freighter ships, then picture agile marketing as swift speed boats.
Data over gut
Agile marketers rely heavily on data and testing to establish approaches to going to market as well as to make ongoing adjustments in response to market demands and trends. This is vastly different than traditional approaches that rely more on intuition and anecdotal observations of what consumers may want or need.
Collaboration over hierarchy
The agile approach thrives on varied input and perspectives. It’s not about “the boss” saying how something should be done, but rather each team member surfacing the best ideas and working together to come up with the most effective approach.
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So there are plenty of viable reasons that agile marketing makes sense, but what skills does it take to effectively get the job done? Hinge Marketing recently posted an article about the key traits of agile marketers. “Agile marketing thrives on blended skill sets, a fusion of creative and analytical talents,” wrote Sylvia Montgomery of Hinge. Among the key attributes:
Good agile marketers are able to draw conclusions and make decisions based on data and other factors. They can synthesize ideas effectively, and then act quickly.
An agile environment requires teamwork and collaboration. You need to be an effective listener and be able to articulate your ideas clearly, while also effectively negotiating compromise to move projects forward.
Because agile marketing creates ever-changing demands and requirements, you have to be able to juggle several different tasks at once with an eye toward prioritizing effectively.
So if you’re looking at a dynamic and creative career or if you are a business owner or manager looking to energize your marketing, consider the agile approach. In a fast changing marketplace, it promises to be an essential and relevant approach to marketing well into the future.