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What is Agile Marketing and Why is it Important?

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 10/11/2015 Sajeel Qureshi
MARKETING © Monkey Business Images Ltd via Getty Images MARKETING

You may use the terms mobile, agile and hostile to describe your favorite football team, but it should be used to describe your marketing. Particularly the agile part. Here's why agile marketing, the ability to market at scale and on the fly, is changing the marketing game.
What is agile marketing?
Many people have taken a crack at defining what agile marketing is. In a nutshell, agile marketing is a measure of the speed at which marketing gets done and a philosophy about 'how' marketing gets done. Agile marketing organizations behave significantly different than traditional marketing organizations. They value smaller campaigns that are quick to create, test, launch and evaluate instead of long-winded campaigns that take time to implement. They also value a lot of people doing a few things to contribute to the campaign versus single bodies doing a lot of things.
Have you ever seen a group of ants assemble an ant farm? That's kind of like what agile marketing departments look like. Every ant works in unison doing multiple little tasks towards a common goal. As things change, or if little Jimmy the toddler stomps on their project, they'll pick up the pieces and rebuild just as quickly. All while keeping the valuable lessons learned from the tragic events of Jimmy the toddler in mind. Below are some of the reasons why agile marketing is extremely important.
1. Effective: In this day and age marketing departments are bombarded with offers and services. In reality, marketing organizations are stuck somewhere between:

  • the 10 things they are doing
  • the 30 things they could be doing and
  • the 200 things that people say they should be doing.

Adapting an agile approach to marketing allows your team the flexibility to change how they market based on what your target is looking for. Plus, with modern marketing tactics being so data-driven, it's very easy to track how successful various marketing tactics and campaigns are and whether or not they should be tried again. Running an agile marketing organization also keeps your eye on the future and focusing on where your next set of potential leads and customers may be coming from.
2. Efficient: It's no surprise that the businesses that succeed the most often market the most. That doesn't mean they're the best at what they do, it's just a byproduct of the world we live in. The brands you know are perceived to have more quality and ability than the brands you don't. Think about it. If you're thirsty in a foreign country and see a Pepsi logo you know what you're going to get. Not all of their marketing tactics work (*cough* Crystal Pepsi *cough*), they just "do marketing" a lot faster and more often than those that can't. That's the true definition of an agile marketing team. One that is capable of getting a campaign mapped out, implemented and evaluated at a rapid speed without too many road blocks. They can also make changes to the campaign on the fly while the campaign is live.
Outsourcing plays a huge role in keeping an agile marketing team efficient. Sure, your marketing team may be able to handle all of your marketing operations needs in house. That's things like graphic design, coding, writing or the million other "skills" a marketing department needs to leverage from time-to-time. However, running an agile marketing department means focusing on what you're department is good at and sourcing skills, particularly technical ones, on an on-demand and cost-effective basis. Not necessarily hiring more expensive people in house that may only do half the job (like a photographer that can't film).
3. Cost: As your marketing team gets agile it also gets cheaper to manage and run. Any sort of labor costs you need for design, writing, development or management should decrease as you build out best practices in your marketing department and get organized. Who knows? The reduction in "marketing operations" cost may even free up your budget for paid promotional tactics. An agile marketing team is one that's found ways to streamline throughput and iterate their marketing tactics quickly. Be it coming up with creative, developing landing pages, building websites or devising marketing automation tactics. Then, easily attributing ROI to each process.
4. It's The Future: Theoretically, setting up a marketing campaign end to end should not take very long. Definitely days or weeks as opposed to months. The days of a static three-year marketing plan done by a marketing agency on behalf of a business are pretty much over. Marketing battles are being fought on platforms and in areas that no one in the marketing world intimately understands. The rules of the game change quicker than the tactics do. Once marketers seem to understand how to win business on social media a new platform emerges. Native advertising becomes big when Ad-blocking software becomes popular. Then native gets slammed by John Oliver and who knows? Soon businesses may start looking back at outdoor or offline advertising as more reliable alternatives. The point is, even the best marketers may only know 5 or 10 percent more than what "non-marketers" know. Then, they learn by doing. That's why having an agile marketing philosophy that calls for change, pivots and tweaks quickly and affordably needs to become the norm for your marketing department. It's what smart marketers are already doing.
So what kind of people do you need on an agile marketing team? What sort of skills or behaviors do they have? This ebook breaks down what an agile marketing team looks like and what you need to do to build one.
About the Author:Sajeel Qureshi is the Vice President of Operations atComputan. Computan helps short-handed marketing departments and marketing agencies get more agile by providing them affordable and reliable back-end support. He has a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University.

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