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Agile Marketing Management or how we can learn from IT

 

 

Agile Management is a project management method that has been emerging for years within the IT world. One of the major advantages of agile management is that, as an organisation, but also as a team, you can anticipate and capitalise on changes more easily and quickly. In concrete terms, Agile management means dividing projects into smaller 'chunks', called sprints, which are concluded individually. A sprint could take a week or two. Teams that use the Agile method typically apply the scrum-technique. In this, everyone runs through their working day, what they are planning to do, which problems they are facing and how they could be resolved. This makes the project easier to manage overall and means that you can anticipate change more quickly and easily. It also means that stakeholders are much more involved in the overall process. In this blog article, we will explain how you can apply this method in the (online) marketing world. A real impetus can be created as a result of more rapidly anticipating change and being more closely involved with all of the business elements. We will discuss the 10 most important pillars of Agile Marketing Management.
 

It's all about the experience

People find it hard to retain facts and figures or a dry piece of text. People remember experiences. This is also the primary aim and the 'reason of being' of agile marketing management. It's all about what the customer wants and how we can ensure that we provide them with an  unforgettable  experience. We do this by taking account of needs and wishes and by traversing all of the (online) channels. Gaining an insight into the entire customer journey thus becomes even more important. Also connected into this, it is of vital importance that you use each channel at the right moment and in the correct way.

 

Don't fear change

The world is undergoing enormous change at a very fast pace, particularly in the online world. Marketing plans are usually draw up for a full year. It is, however, impossible to decide in advance how the situation will unfold in 6 months' time. New options may become available that connect into your business much more effectively than the channels that are included in your plan. Change is a constant in the world and marketing is no exception. So dare to change the plans you've made or alter your course along the way. Businesses which effectively anticipate and deal with change are the businesses with the best chance of survival. 

But be aware that this is certainly not justification for working without a strategy or an all-encompassing vision. These are always necessary in order to determine how you will anticipate change and how you can continuously maintain your product in the market. The flexibility and changes primarily play out on a tactical level. 

 

Interactions

One of the core values of agile management is that individuals and interactions can make a difference more quickly and effectively than processes and tools. Within agile marketing management, we see this reflected at three levels:

  1. Internal marketing services must be harmonised such that they can more effectively facilitate interactions between team leaders. As a result, response to change can be quicker and more effective.
  2. The cooperation between marketing and the various other business components must also be more open and flexible. Marketing teams must be able to harmonise with product managers, external agencies and other stakeholders within the organisation quickly and easily.
  3. On the final level, but certainly not the least important, is the customer. The end-customer must be the central figure in all interactions and campaigns that are elaborated and launched. Here, we hark back to point one, where experience is at the fore.

This is a balance that must be retained, given the huge and constant inflow of marketing tools. We cannot call upon a tool for every issue.

 

Data and testing

In online marketing there is a constant torrent of information. This then becomes the linchpin for online marketing. We use it to measure results, implement optimisation and discover new opportunities. It also provides us with a great insight into the customer's world. On the basis of this data, we can conduct targeted and controlled tests in order to optimise the effectiveness of all (online) marketing channels. By continuously testing and gathering relevant data about customers, we can more effectively reconcile the marketing mix with the needs and wishes of the customers, and subsequently provide them with an improved experience..

 

Experimenting on a small scale

In the past, there were large media campaigns and it was almost impossible to conduct small-scale testing in advance. But this is much easier online and you can also go live with very precisely targeted campaigns and then learn from them. You can also test messages on a small section of your target audience before you roll it out to everyone. The fact that you can conduct small and very quick tests increases the chance that you can uncover combinations that work for your business. These winning tests can then be rolled out on a more extensive scale.

Collaborating with the customer

It is important, when drafting marketing plans and campaigns, that the customer has a central role and that you work on the basis of their perspective. You can do this on the basis of the data that you have gathered and the tests you have carried out. But you don't have to limit yourself to this. Social media, for example, can also provide a goldmine of information and feedback, giving you direct contact with your customers. On the basis of this information, you can optimise your plans, processes and tactics. If your business is ready for it, you can also involve your customers in coming up with new innovations or pathways for your company. This ensures that your business works in a far more customer-focussed manner and connects back into point one, i.e. creating an unforgettable experience. 

 

Be transparent

The agile method is all about transparency. The entire process, right down to the individual tasks, is accessible to everyone. This means that change can be anticipated more quickly. This, in turn, expands the customer's commitment to the project.

 

Ship often, ship early

This is an oft-repeated mantra within agile management. It refers to the importance of developing and rolling out new  functionalities  often and quickly. By making use of the data that you have collated, the tests you have conducted and also listening to your customer, you can come up with and roll out new marketing concepts extremely quickly. This allows you to keep up with the latest developments. A popular term from agile management that we often hear is 'sprint'. A sprint usually lasts between 1 and 4 weeks. During a sprint, the focus is on one task. Once this is completed, the roll out continues and the next sprint is ready to go. A sprint can involve anything and it is entirely possible that a sprint during which you optimise your Google Adwords campaigns is alternated with a two-week sprint that involves developing a full social media strategy. By splitting the entire process into small sections, it is easy for all of those involved to follow what is on the 'menu' for the coming weeks. In addition, this also means that we can change direction at a moment's notice, if this becomes necessary.

 

Feedback

Of course, it's not only about producing new items and placing them in the market. Agile marketing is all about continuous improvement, based on well-founded feedback. It is therefore important to set thorough KPIs prior to every sprint or realisation so that the feedback provided is sure to be both relevant and well-founded. 

Feedback must be provided constantly throughout the process as this is the only way to ensure the agile marketing environment can succeed. 

 

Getting rid of silos

Historically, many marketing organisations have expanded into a silo structure, where each department is responsible for their own section or channel, such as email or social media. This is not necessarily a problem as long as these various departments talk to one another, engage in discussion and find harmony. In reality, however, this rarely happens. Nevertheless, all of these departments are serving the same end-customer. The agile management method expects these silos to be broken down and all of the data that the departments have gathered on the customers to be used to come up with and roll out new, improved and above all cross-departmental marketing concepts. 

Charles Darwin said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Agile management ensures that your business has a mindset, tool kit and principally the vision to face up to the future and the many corresponding changes. 

 

If you have any questions on agile management or how you can apply it to your organisation, please feel free to get in touch.

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