Digital has transformed marketing. Marketing strategy needs to adapt and evolve with the digital ecosystem. According to a study conducted by nearly half (46%) of marketers “don't believe they currently have the ability to manage unplanned change without it slowing them down.” This is a daunting statistic because if you cannot adapt to your competitive landscape, consumer trends, and market tendencies effectively, you are not competitive. In this blog, we are going to take a peek into how you can be an agile marketer, along with some challenges that might arise during the process.
Originally, Agile project methodologies come from the technology sphere and they seek to transform traditional business practices into adaptable response systems. These Agile methodologies set off a domino effect that has finally reached the marketing industry. In this new era, marketing is a work in progress. We are constantly forced to research, edit, and reorganize our strategies. Our campaigns are never final; they constantly require tweaking and adjustments.
The contemporary digital ecosystem is changing things faster than ever before. Suddenly, marketing campaigns are being jump-started at a moments notice. In a matter of seconds, with the tap of a finger, you can share news, opinions, or discoveries with the world. These day-to-day and even minute-to-minute changes are forcing marketers to be modern renaissance men and women with the tools necessary to adapt and evolve each day. The days of intricately planned campaigns preparedmonths or even years in advance are over. This has ushered in the true era ofAgile Marketing. In order to fully understand how to be an agile marketer we wemust first revisit the two main criteria from my first blog.
Agile Planning — having an agile or flexible marketing plan. Foreseeing potential challenges and pre-planning responses.
Agile Adjustments — being able to adapt in real time to changes in consumer trends, pop culture, and market tendencies.
If you can understand how to apply these two criteria and navigate around their challenges, you can harness the power of agility.
“Where do you see yourself in 10 minutes?”
A key aspect ofthe original Agile technology methodologies was planning. Agile planning betterprepares you for unforeseen events. This includes predicting and proposingsolutions to potential problems. For example, when you are driving a car andprepare to merge lanes, you are subconsciously practicing agile planning. Ifyou merge lanes, and a car appears out of your blind spot, you don’t justcontinue to merge and hit the car. You access the situation, and in a couple ofmilliseconds, return to your lane. This is your agile planning, youralternative plan, in action. This idea works similarly with a marketingcampaign. You may not be sure how your competition is going to launch acampaign, but if and when they do you should have the planning and resources toanswer.
Companies areslowly trying to convert to this mentality. Recently, the bank brand has adopted a “sprint” strategy thatallows them to adjust and tweak their marketing campaigns on a weekly basis. Accordingto HBR, going agile could make a marketing team up to 60% more effective. Inan interview with , Santander said that they are, “lookingto move the industry away from long buying and production cycles.” Agileplanning forces you to look right in front of you and encourages marketers tobe innovative and responsive.
One way to enactagile planning, is to amend your marketing budget. For example, if yourmarketing budget for the first quarter is $10 million then to be agile you wouldset a portion of that aside for agile activities. For the sake of this example,let’s say you decide to put aside 10% or $1 million. This liquid cash can thenbe used for agile purposes meaning anything that needs to be amended throughoutthe quarter. If one campaign is out performing others, you might want to launchthe campaign on other platforms; or if the competition is targeting your targetaudience, then you can allocate your funds back to your target audience. Havingthese agile funds give you the power to make these types of game-timedecisions. Essentially, agile planning is planning for the unplanned; it givesyou leverage to adjust and fine-tune on the fly.
Agile planning isespecially important in the contemporary digital ecosystem because of darkmarketing™ tactics.As a reminder from my , dark marketing consists of highlytargeted advertisements only visible to a specific target audience.Essentially, dark marketing allows marketers to launch campaigns behind theveil of the internet. On page, you will not see a singleadvertisement even though they do advertise on Facebook. Take a peek at one of Apple’sdark Facebook posts we spotted . The use of dark marketing tactics means that a competitor’scampaign could be well underway before you are even aware it exists. This makesa swift response even more vital. Once you have your agile planning in place,it is time to put your plans into action.
Real Time Marketing
In order tofoster your agile adjustment, you must be a real time marketer. Being a real timemarketer means capitalizing on consumer trends, changes in pop culture, andmarket tendencies at just a moments notice. Thanks to social media, userconnectivity is easier than ever before. You can respond to industry changes inan instant and share it with all your followers. During the U.S. presidentialdebates, fact checking and word usage were common themes. Miriam-Webster’sDictionary used this to their advantage. They were meticulously monitoring theTrump-Clinton debates for words and phrases that didn’t make sense. When Trumpsaid “braggadocios,” Miriam-Webster’s replied with a lighting-fast reading, “He was trying for braggadocio” along with theirdefinition of the word. When asked in an how quickly they pulled off their tweets,Miriam-Webster’s replied, “within a minute of the comment.” This is what itmeans to be a real time marketer; this is what agile looks like. Having the proper agile mentality is a powerfulstride in the right direction; however, you need authority and authorizationfrom your superiors to bring these agile responses to life.
Having an agileleadership is something many businesses oversee. The study found that 51% of marketing organizations are,“constrained by traditional hierarchies…” Ifa marketer is going to be agile that person must have the authority to launch,adjust, or cancel campaigns quickly. Often times executives, who like having afirm grip over the company, are unwilling to give their employees this level ofautonomy. UK-based marketing intelligence firm found that “72% of brands believe that agency structuresare not developing at the same rate as a brand’s needs.”This is at a great cost. Inthe digital ecosystem, a window of opportunity can open and close on an hourlybasis. If you spend time pitching and preparing proposals, your response is nolonger agile and the window of opportunity will close.
Being an agilemarketer is vital for keeping a competitive edge in your industry. Having anagile plan prepares your team for unforeseen changes in the market and givesyou flexibility. Furthermore, having an agile business model will increase yourbottom line and help you reach your KPIs. Agile is the model of the future. Areyou ready to adjust?
While changes in technology have made itharder than ever to predict your competition’s movements, new marketingintelligence software offered by BrandTotal allows you to fluidly combat thesethreats. BrandTotal is marketing’s first command center, it spots threats andpinpoints opportunities for effective agile responses. We give you the power tobe agile.
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Stay tuned for the next installment in our Agile Marketing Manual