How Will Agile Marketing Help You

What is Agile Marketing?

Agile Marketing begins by believing there is a better, healthier and more transparent way of doing modern work. The way we manage work and organisations today is still fundamentally based on management philosophies and practices that were developed one hundred years ago in steel factories.

In today’s highly volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous (VUCA) and digital environment, our traditional work methods and tools are making it almost next to impossible to deliver marketing work and Customer Value in a timely, efficient and, most importantly, 100% desired by our Customers.

Going Agile is to transform the culture and mindset of your organisation

Agile Marketing Fundamentals

While Agile Marketing encompasses many different aspects and opinions, these are the key fundamentals of the Agile Marketing way that Elisan Partners believes in:

  • It is a way of doing marketing work that:
    • Focuses largely on prioritising and delighting Customers
    • Eliminates unnecessary work by making work very transparent
    • Produces impactful marketing output that is guided by strategic vision and plan
    • Executes marketing work in small batches, constantly iterating and improving marketing output by incorporating fast customer feedback and relevant data insights
    • Breaks down silos by encouraging development of small cross-functional teams that nurture T-Shaped professionals
    • Believes and invests in the entrepreneurial and problem-solving abilities of groups of people nurtured to work together, resulting in deeper understanding, constant collaboration and improved team dynamics over time
  • It is inspired by a set of Agile management philosophies, originally developed by software development practitioners, to help manage constant change while delivering marketing output, product and services that are desired by the Customer.
  • It draws upon a set of Agile methodologies and frameworks, such as Lean, Kanban, Scrum, Scrumban and Design Thinking, to redesign and improve marketing workflow that delivers value to the Customer.
    • However, it is important to note that each marketing organisation is unique and should not be bound exclusively to a single framework or frameworks. Each marketing organisation must discover its own better Agile way of working and constantly improve on it.

Agile Marketing is NOT:

  • A fast and cheap way of getting things done aka squeeze more work out of marketing people
  • Trying something new (marketing technique, technology, audience, etc.) all the time and hoping something will be accidentally relevant, produces results and sticks
  • Only about reacting quickly to changes but also reacting in a way that produces output that is desired and wanted by Customers (less fixated on competitors and new trends in technology but rather focused on the current needs of Customers)
  • A newfangled digital technology waiting to be unleashed on unsuspecting online users

When do you need Agile Marketing?

  • You are a marketing leader who is frustrated with the operational marketing mess and you are constantly jumping in to “fix things”, distracting you from executing work at a more strategic level
  • You are constantly fighting with (and losing to) pace of change affecting your business, organisation and industry. This results in wasted marketing work, squandered budget, aborted campaigns, ineffective “digital transformation”, constant people issues and decreasing productivity
  • You have very limited visibility of progress of projects and task statuses because of the sheer size of your team and the myriad of marketing work being done across multiple channels and touchpoints
  • While everyone in your marketing team is working hard and contributing long hours, there is a noticeable lack of desire, motivation and camaraderie among your marketing team members, resulting in decreased productivity and unhealthy environment

Why enlightened marketers go Agile?

  • They are simply looking for a better, healthier and transparent way of working and collaboration #makeworkgreatagain
  • They are looking to refocus their teams towards delivering more value to Customers by eliminating unnecessary processes and time-wasting work
  • They are marketing leaders who want to focus on more strategic thought leadership work by training and empowering their marketing people to be more autonomous, self-directed, disciplined and confident working in close cross-functional teams
  • They are looking to develop and nurture talented marketing people into high-performing Agile marketing teams
  • They want their organisation to win with Marketing.

The History of Agile 

While "going Agile" and "Agile transformation" have entered the lexicon of current business and management literature and conversations, not many in the business world are aware of its origin in the software development world. It was back in 2001 that a group of prominent software development practitioners and thinkers met up in a ski lodge to "talk, ski, relax and try to find a common ground". The outcome of that 2-day retreat resulted in the Agile Manifesto.

As the Agile movement formally began to take shape, software development teams all over began to adopt Agile project management frameworks and practices in place of the traditional waterfall project management approach.

In 1995, only 16% of all software projects were completed on time and on budget. 16%.

While this project management approach works well for projects such as building and infrastructure construction, it does not translate well in the digital software world. Moore's Law dictates that computing power doubles every 2 years. For this reason, despite the best effort at requirements gathering and project analysis, customer and user requirements change constantly (in many cases over a very short period of time) to reflect their desire to have access to the newest digital technologies. When these change requests happen, it usually involves a lot of money, time and effort to undo, rework or modify the work done.

Also, in the waterfall model, working software are almost always only available for customer testing at the end of many months of development, once a majority of requirements have already been built (similar to executing a market survey white paper campaign that takes 6 months to go live). Again, it takes a lot of effort, time and money to rework software when customers request for changes.

Agile, with its iterative and incremental approach to project management and delivery, completely changes the way software development teams work on projects and deliver products to customers.

Courtesy of Jeff Patton & Associates

In a PWC study, Agile projects are 28% more like to be successful than traditional projects.

Marketing & The Customer

Modern marketing is so ingrained with the digital world. Today, a vast majority of marketing's work processes revolve around software and digital platforms including (but not limited to) online advertising, social media, marketing automation, website development, CRM, email marketing and digital creative solutions. The driver of this shift in the way Marketing does it work is truly the Customer.

As computers became ubiquitous in homes, offices and, in recent years, our pockets and handbags, Customer's expectations of businesses have also evolved. The digital-savvy and always-connected Customer demands to be served in real-time, as promptly as possible and across multiple touchpoints, both online and offline. Social platforms are the Customer's powerful voice and ecommerce allows for endless variety of product or service choices for the Customer to consider. The power has truly shift to the Customer, away from the business.

Hence, Marketing too began experiencing software developers' pains in dealing with constant change and uncertainty.

And then came Agile Marketing

A group of like-minded Agile marketing practitioners decided that they too needed a set of values and principles that can help marketers deal better with change and the Customer's rising influence. Based on the original Agile Manifesto, the Agile Marketing Manifesto, below, was conceived in June 2012 at a meeting of this group.

"We are discovering better ways of creating value for our customers and for our organizations through new approaches to marketing. Through this work, we have come to value:

Validated learning over opinions and conventions

Customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy

Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns

The process of customer discovery over static prediction

Flexible vs. rigid planning

Responding to change over following a plan

Many small experiments over a few large bets

The Agile Marketing Manifesto also includes proposed Agile Marketing principles that elaborate on these values.

Agile Statistics and Agile Marketing Case Studies

Learn how to implement Agile Marketing in your organisation by attending our ICAgile-accredited Certified Professional in Agile Marketing training workshop or request for private on-premise training for your team.