I first heard the term "agile marketing" a couple of years ago. At first, I thought it was just another industry buzzword. I have since discovered that it is actually the new frontier in digital marketing. In 2015, an infographic I came across on HubSpot helped me understand the relevance of agile methodologies in the marketing profession.
Agile methods are changing the nature of marketing in ways I never projected. They have dramatically increased productivity, which is essential for marketers that want to cling to their ever-thinning competitive edge.
Despite its benefits, only 38% of marketers have any real understanding of agile marketing. This gives an advantage to marketers that invest in it more heavily.
Here are some of the ways that agile methodologies are boosting productivity for marketers.
Eliminating marketing redundancy.
At its core, agile marketing emphasizes adaptability. This is crucial in the ever-evolving digital marketing field. Tools and methods that provide phenomenal results today may be obsolete tomorrow. Unfortunately, some marketers continue to invest in outdated processes that no longer offer a significant ROI.
When I jumped into agile marketing a few years ago, I immediately found that the long planning and big budget of past marketing campaigns gave way to small tests and fast iterations. This allowed for markers to understand what works and what doesn't quickly. One of the unforeseen benefits of this approach is that teams eliminate redundant tasks being assigned since each sprint is so well defined and measured.
For example, an email marketing team may want to run a sprint that A/B tests using a geo-location modifier in their subject lines against a control. The team would want to define what metrics are being measured, how the test will be set up, who will be assigned each set of tasks and how success or failure would be measured.
Since each step and who is being assigned to what tasks is so clearly defined, the agile methodology doesn't allow for redundancies. This ultimately means faster learnings and more productivity.
Improving knowledge from numerous, small-scale split-tests.
Split-testing is the key to creating successful marketing campaigns. Too many marketers focus on large split-tests. Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with this approach:
- You can't always tell which elements of your campaign will have the biggest impact on your ROI. You can invest a lot of resources on large-scale testing experiments that don't add much value to your campaign.
- Larger experiments take longer to conduct. By the time you get useful data on your campaigns, it may no longer be useful.
- Changing one or two elements of your campaign isn't likely to have a massive impact, even if they are the most significant variables. The most successful campaigns rely on many moving parts. You need to run many different split-tests to understand your campaign in sufficient detail to optimize it effectively.
Agile marketers focus on running numerous, quick tests to best understand their campaigns. They can optimize their campaigns more quickly and have longer lasting campaigns, because the data is still relevant by the time their tests are completed.
Agile marketers use more cohesive teams
Developing a responsive marketing campaign requires unified team. Fragmented teams don't have the resources to tackle the constantly changing marketing landscape.
Agile marketing teams will:
- Make sure work is assigned to the team members that are most fit for the task. This is often accomplished by using the Critical Chain Project Management method.
- Maintain an open channel of communication, which typically requires them to use leading project management tools. Good communication minimizes wasted expenditures on activities that don't contribute to the bottom line.
- Agree on a standard approach for testing campaigns and executing workflows. This approach will evolve over time, but is clearly communicated to all members and receives their buy-in.
Focusing on data over opinions and intuition.
As marketing becomes more complex, there is little room for opinions. All decisions need to be made by actionable data, which can only be gathered through rigorous testing.
Tests need to be conducted in a controlled environment to ensure only one variable is altered at a time. It is particularly important in email marketing, since there are so many variables that play a role. This is necessary to understand the impact of any individual element of the campaign.
Teamwork is becoming more important than ever in marketing. Agile marketers understand how to get the most out of every team member, as well as ensuring maximum productivity of the team as a whole. About the Author: Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.