Why Agile Marketing is the Key to Successful Products

Why agile marketing is the key to successful products

This is a guest post by John Armstrong, CMO, Zettaset.

Can Agile Marketing give you an edge?

The past five years have witnessed a sea change in marketing methodologies and processes at a rate that continues to accelerate.

Marketers have always been under pressure to demonstrate results with scarce resources, but now those results must be driven by marketing automation and validated by supporting metrics.

Buying audiences are increasingly fragmented, requiring a more tailored approach to content, messaging, and outreach which is being addressed by new approaches like account-based marketing. Social media and digital marketing technology have marketers constantly seeking ways to be more nimble and responsive, and have fundamentally changed the way they are going to market.

The days of executing static “big bang” campaigns planned months in advance are gone. Do more with less, and do it faster!

That’s the message that software programmers heard over a decade ago, and the creative way they responded has completely transformed how software is developed.

Agile software developers take incremental steps, see what works and what doesn’t, get team feedback, then move onto the next phase of development.

Their close collaborators in product management were quick to adopt the new “Agile” method, which is an iterative approach to product development that values adaptability and responsiveness to change as opposed to long-term and somewhat inflexible planning.

Agile innovation history pre-dates software development (you can read about it here).

Many experts believe that the Agile approach will expand well beyond IT. The spread of agile raises intriguing possibilities.

What if a company could achieve positive returns with 50% more of its new-product introductions? What if marketing programs could generate 40% more customer inquiries? In today’s world of constant buyer feedback, marketers must be able to adjust their plans based on changing market dynamics and what’s trending in digital and social media.

They need a better way to manage their marketing projects to achieve success, and that’s why many are considering Agile marketing frameworks.

For a large proportion of product marketers, Agile is relatively new.

According to the Wrike 2016 State of Agile Marketing report, 34% of marketers have implemented Agile within the last 6 months, and another 22% are just starting.

Product marketing teams see several benefits associated with Agile methods. Improved quality of work, speed of execution, and alignment on priorities are the top three benefits identified.

Marketers also see Agile providing them with more visibility into the overall project status, as well as helping them to more rapidly identify roadblocks, scheduling issues, or other problems.

Delivering experimental campaigns, getting feedback, iterating, and then building on the winning concept is how marketers are achieving success today.

By following the methods established by software developers and adapting them to the marketing environment, product marketers can explore and discover new ways to reach their buying audience and achieve their business goals.

Agile marketing takes time to learn and adopt, but eventually becomes a mindset.

For marketers who practice agile marketing, customer experience is the focus of everything: solving buyer problems and the buyer’s journey, not on selling and the sales cycle.

So, what are the core traits of an Agile marketing campaign?

  • Rapid response and adaptation to changes in the market – You must still plan, but you aren’t locked into it when the situation changes (and it will).
  • Multiple, rapid campaign iterations that can be tested and fine-tuned over time – There is less risk and more upside, since you are not placing your bets on a single, untested campaign.
  • Validation of choices using hard data (vs. intuition) – Leverage the wide availability of apps and services that capture and deliver marketing metrics and analysis.
  • Provision of individual, customized buying experiences vs. one-size fits all – Adopt an account-based marketing approach that addresses the specific need(s) of the buyer.
  • Cross-functional collaboration with team members in the organization and elimination of silos – Ensure messaging consistency as well as a positive user experience for the buyer. In the mind of the buyer, their interaction is with your company…not the sales, PR, finance and marketing departments.

Once implemented, Agile can help marketing departments, large and small, be more efficient, serve their customers better, and be more closely aligned with the business and sales goals of an organization.

Activities can be accomplished more quickly and with greater likelihood of success while maintaining a high level of transparency and accountability.

More about Agile marketing in my next blog post.

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