Have you been hearing the words “agile marketing” in your professional circles yet? If not, you can bet you soon will be – it’s the latest marketing organization trend to hit forward-thinking B2B companies.
What is agile marketing?
Agile marketing gets its inspiration from agile software development. And although the activities within marketing and software development are obviously different, the principles of “agile” are the same: iterate quickly on new ideas, test and use data, focus on the value to the individual as opposed to a one-size-fits-all mentality, and collaborate internally.
In marketing, this means forgoing those massive campaigns that take months to get off the ground and often end up as Frankenstein versions of the original plan. Instead, teams are taught to deliver programs on a shorter timeframe while listening to feedback from the target audience and continually making changes to reflect the needs of their customers.
Agile principles can be difficult to implement
Agile marketing is not necessarily new, but it is gaining in popularity. A 2014 study showed that CMOs highly prioritized agility, but many were not able to actually implement it. And that problem is one organizations still face today.
The ideas behind agile marketing are solid, and many B2B marketing leaders express a desire to adopt them. However, they face many challenges, both internally and externally, including:
- Aligning their organization to reduce silos and encourage collaboration
- Breaking the often sluggish mindset of marketers used to waiting on campaign approvals, feedback and opinions from higher-ups
- Embracing – rather than being afraid of – rapid change
- Developing a data-gathering methodology that gets the right data into the right hands at the right time
- Adopting a customer-centric mentality
Scrum, Kanban and Scrumban: Core agile methodologies
Agile marketing is structured similarly to agile software development in that a team will choose to use a particular methodology to launch and iterate on campaigns. The most common methodologies are known as Scrum, Kanban and Scrumban. Essentially, these methodologies encourage teams to segment their work and assign ownership of various elements to team members. Scrum, the most well-known, is a bit more rigid than Kanban and Scrumban, but they can all work depending on the size of your team and your organization’s goals. If you’re interested in implementing one of these methodologies, Content Marketing Institute provides a good overview.
Benefits of agile marketing
Agile marketing, if done right, can help your team focus on more impactful work and get more done in a shorter period of time – without burn out. Because marketing programs are launched quickly, agile marketing emphasizes a strict focus on the work at hand, eliminating as many outside distractions as possible during a sprint. This leads to faster campaign launches and quicker learning for future campaigns.
Agile is also an important mindset for B2B marketing teams that need to adapt to change rapidly – and this is quickly becoming most marketing teams. Given the fast pace of change in technology and consumer behavior, it is essential that your team is able to recognize market shifts and respond to them without being delayed by red tape or an unwieldy process.
Lastly, your marketing team will become more cohesive and communicate better with one another and with other teams within your organization as they become more comfortable using agile marketing techniques.