“Agile” has become the new buzzword, the latest marketing trend for businesses that want to stay competitive and try more modern marketing methods. But Agile marketing is much more than a new trend or a simple method to try today and discard tomorrow.
Marketers get caught up trying Agile marketing without really realising what it is or how it plays out. The result is failed practices due to a lack of understanding of how they should implement agile in business workflows.
Agile marketing is a distinct approach that requires 100% buy-in to adopt successfully, which includes a break from conventional methods.
This guide will discuss Agile marketing in contrast to conventional marketing, how to implement and conduct workflows, and the value they can bring to your organisation.
We will also discuss the benefits of using a platform like our Agile marketing software TrueNorth. Get early access to this powerful tool that streamlines and simplifies marketing so you can move faster and stay aligned. Learn more about TrueNorth here.
Conventional Marketing vs Agile Marketing
How is Agile marketing different from traditional marketing? Let’s talk about how the agile approach can benefit your business and make your entire marketing department more efficient and productive.
Traditional marketing focuses on the sales cycle, expecting customers to take a linear, predictable path to the sale.
This conventional thought process focuses on what companies believe they can control, and they don’t think outside of the box as it relates to communication and messaging. They exert tight controls over messaging to keep close to pre-planned brand ideals and try to mould their market into what their brand represents, instead of letting the targets dictate what they want.
While these principles are not invaluable to marketing processes, Agile marketing shifts its focus to the customer and their behaviour instead of obsessing about the customer’s expected trajectory down the sales funnel.
Agile realises that customers may take many unexpected paths, and giving stellar customer experiences down each path is essential. It also allows flexibility with brand messaging, enabling customers to dictate what they want to hear. Agile marketing teams obsess about gathering data and adjusting based on the insights rather than clinging to outdated marketing practices that have not been updated to meet customer demands. Transparency and honest interaction are at the forefront of Agile marketing principles.
By allowing the customer to control more of the messaging, Agile marketing seeks to understand their customers’ concerns and adjust their branding to meet their needs instead of vice-versa. The result is more connected messaging and more extraordinary customer experiences which always translates to a higher bottom line.
Marketing Campaign Workflows
Traditional marketing workflows look very different from Agile marketing. It focuses on large campaigns that can take 6-12 months to execute. Conventional marketing teams plan quarterly or yearly campaigns, set large goals initially, and plan their execution from start to finish early on.
Agile marketing breaks down campaigns into short iterative cycles called sprints that can last from 1-3 weeks. Perfection isn’t a goal as Agile teams realise that data-gathering and improvement are necessary as the campaigns progress.
The idea is to launch and test micro-campaigns to gather data. With the data, marketing teams can assess success, improve their processes and adapt to increase ROI.
Agile marketing emphasises the benefit of quick learning and adaptation so teams can move faster through campaigns, gathering critical data along the way. This working style produces high-value campaigns that not only provide short-term gains, but allow for successful planning and execution of long-term goals.
Traditional marketing teams measure success at the end of each campaign and typically paint the results in the best light to secure more marketing budget. They also may measure success with positive numbers only, instead of looking at all numbers (whether gains or losses) to gain valuable insights.
Agile marketing focuses on validated learning, and failing is often just as telling as winning. Therefore, success is not just measured by a positive ROI, but also the failures because they produce learnings that can impact future campaigns. Agile marketing teams predict campaign’s results before they run them and then compare the actual results against the predictions to prove or disprove the original thinking.
In contrast to conventional marketing, Agile processes also never rely on opinions or guesswork, but listen to real-time data and gather insights to make wiser choices.
Measuring all facets of campaign results gives teams the flexibility to change and adapt at any time during the campaign instead of waiting until a campaign is over.
Consistent data analysis enables marketers to adapt at any stage without disrupting the delicate campaign flow. Teams also enjoy complete transparency of the marketing results, and each member has a stake in the campaign’s performance. The result? The ability to make changes easily and improve along the way speeds up the process of perfecting your marketing campaign.
Collaboration and Teamwork
While traditional marketing values collaboration, it tends to silo around internal departments (digital, sales, PR, etc.). Agile marketing eliminates siloing and organises collaboration around customer values and behaviour, so all collaboration focuses on meeting customer needs.
Agile marketing teams also use software with centralised dashboards, fostering easy collaboration and eliminating message confusion and chaos. TrueNorth makes collaboration in an agile environment easy with its centralised workspace, visible to all stakeholders. Later in this article, we will talk about TrueNorth and how it helps marketers quickly implement Agile marketing workflows.
Inter-departmental collaboration and focused teamwork are essential to carrying out a thriving Agile marketing environment. The result is less chaos without sacrificing speed. Essentially, you get more done in less time, without the typical disadvantages of speeding up workflows.
The Science of Agile Marketing Workflows
What are Agile marketing workflows, and how can you switch from a traditional approach to a more agile environment?
First, it’s essential to understand that merely adopting a more agile style does not mean you are practising Agile marketing. Agile marketing is a full-scale approach that should be fully integrated to receive benefits. We talk more about the Agile marketing approach in this guide.
How can you start implementing agile thinking into your workflows? Let’s talk about the main features of Agile marketing workflows and how teams collaborate and work.
Agile marketing teams work in short cycles called sprints. Sprints hail from the Scrum framework, a system of managing campaigns and projects via short iterations. Each sprint typically lasts from 1-3 weeks and focuses on one project.
During sprints, daily and weekly check-ins are beneficial to assess any challenges, discuss results, and adjust if needed.
The daily check-ins are quick (15 minutes), keep team members accountable with tasks, and bring up issues that keep them from completing their tasks. Members discuss goal alignment and if any adjustments are needed to align more with goals.
Team members have autonomy
Instead of micro-management and formal meetings, Agile marketing teams act autonomously with key people overseeing the processes. In the Scrum methodology, the Scrum Master defines goals and keeps the team members aligned. But, team members have the time and space to work autonomously to adapt quickly and maintain forward progress.
Focused, fast-moving processes
The Agile marketing methodology focuses on structured, fast-moving, yet focused processes that do not get bogged down by excessive long meetings or distractions. Team members are focused on individual sprints as they occur and stay concentrated on that task until the sprint ends.
This way, teams can be flexible and adapt to changing customer needs. You can’t always predict industry and customer changes, but change is easy as it is expected and built into the framework if you work in an agile environment.
Example of Agile Marketing Workflows
Agile marketing workflows will vary from project to project and business to business. But, they all have some necessary steps that typically do not change. For example, an Agile marketing plan may follow this workflow:
Identify goals >> Plan result predictions >> ideation and prioritisation >> Plan a sprint >> Execute the sprint tasks >> Meet daily >> Ship campaign and measure results
If you are using agile to complete a project launch, a simplified workflow might look something like this:
Plan project >> Execute tasks >> Review and improve >> Ship project
Effective workflow management is only possible when you use the right software and tools. Agile marketing is not manageable with loose spreadsheets and clunky dashboards. In fact, the very definition of Agile marketing is efficiency and organisation, so implementing a platform with agile features built-in will set you up for success.
To dive deeper into the concept of Agile marketing and learn how to construct teams and marketing plans, read our ultimate guide to Agile marketing.
TrueNorth: Software With a Built-in Agile Marketing Framework
TrueNorth makes learning and applying the agile approach simple because it’s built on the agile framework, so marketing teams have a built-in framework to collaborate and launch campaigns seamlessly.
TrueNorth is built on a five-step workflow process that helps you set goals, simulate marketing campaigns, create and prioritise campaign ideas, launch the ideas, and develop a roadmap to follow and track results.
The centralised dashboard allows team members to refine ideas into full-scale campaigns and share feedback. The result is 100% alignment and campaign visibility from internal team members and external stakeholders.
One of TrueNorth’s strong points is its forecasting capabilities. Marketers can determine the pathways to reach a goal and simulate several scenarios, even before they launch.
With TrueNorth capabilities, determine the most viable pathway to your goal before you launch, and then compare your predictions with the actual results as each sprint gets underway. Compare results as the campaign progresses and quickly course-correct if your actual results vary too much from expected.
As your campaigns progress, reporting becomes easy with a centralised system; all team members see the results of their ideas and how they compare to predictions. TrueNorth’s results dashboard is comprehensive and includes KPIs, prioritisation of campaigns, groups, campaign creator, expected vs actual results, budget comparisons, and more.
TrueNorth’s unique Playbooks feature automatically gathers data-driven insights from your campaigns and creates a database to call upon when running future campaigns.
Streamline Your Marketing. Implement Agile Marketing Workflows
With a tool like TrueNorth, you can easily create efficient Agile marketing workflows to move faster and stay aligned. Streamline your processes and banish chaos while proving your marketing and maximising your marketing budget.
Get early access to TrueNorth here. TrueNorth is accepting early beta test applicants who want to try the platform and take it for a test drive.