Being adaptive, collaborative and iterative are necessary skills for any marketing person or company when we live in a world where Google can pull the rug out from us at a moment’s notice. These are the basic characteristics that form the foundation of agile marketing, says Jim Ewel.
Ewel is a blogger, trainer and coach helping organizations adopt agile marketing. He’s also the co-organizer of SprintZero and one of the authors of the Agile Marketing Manifesto. He’s also helped over 45 organizations achieve an agile transformation of their marketing.
Agile marketing is an approach that takes its inspiration from agile software development. Like agile software development, it has a set of values and it has a set of benefits.
Six values of agile marketing:
- Rapid iterations
- Responding to change
- Testing and data
- Trial and error
- Personalized touch
With agile marketing, there’s no need to write 30-40 page marketing plans. Instead, every quarter those who utilize agile marketing, can write a one-page plan that specifies goals, aspirations, etc. to get everybody on the same page.
In traditional marketing, often time a campaign runs for three to six months to a year. Those who embrace agile marketing take a very different approach – an iterative one. It begins with a little strategy, involving a meeting to figure out what a company feels what could work. Test it and measure the results, because documenting the learning portion is very key to the entire process, says Ewel.
If something doesn’t work after a test, that’s perfectly OK because that means learning occurs. This approach allows for a positive cycle to occur and is v5ery effective in figuring out what works and what doesn’t, said Ewel.
Understand the importance of testing and data over opinions and conventions. Here it’s important to ask questions like: “Did we test it? Do we have data?” It’s important to select the right metrics and not vanity metrics, which make us feel good, but don't really result in an improvement to the business, says Ewel.
The fourth value focuses on conducting several small experiments over a few major bets. This involves the explanation of the 70:20:10 rule. The idea behind the rule is that we spend 70% of our budget and 50% of our time on the things that we know that work. We do it broadly across all our audiences and then we spend 20% of our budget and 25% of our time modifying the things that we know that work and trying to improve them. No matter what, it’s always about improving the content.
And the last 10% of our budget and 25% of our time, we spend on wild ideas, things where we fully expect that only about 2 or 3 out of 10 ideas is really going to work, and we focus those things on those creative, wild ideas that are going to be the future 70% and 20%.
The fifth value is focusing on Individuals and interactions over one-size-fits-all.
Ewel says he likes to think about this in terms of one of the experiences that he has with SEO. He compares it to the numerous requests he gets from link building which come in form requests. The messages he receives aren’t catered towards him.
Putting focus on each person and interaction you deal with is important, because it means you’re dedicated to this person and understanding their needs. The same approach applies to marketing. More focus on each interaction and individual will likely mean better results for you and your business.
The sixth and final value focuses on collaboration over hierarchy and silos.
One of the key things in many marketing organizations is that different silos of the organization don't seem to talk to each other. Maybe marketing isn't talking to sales, or marketing hasn't got the ear of senior management.
Well, one of the aspects of agile marketing there are processes put in place to make sure that all of those groups are collaborating. They're setting the priorities together, and they're reviewing the results together.
Check next month's blog on how your business can take advantage of the benefits of agile marketing.