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If You Had to Guess: How Agile Is Your Marketing?

From a scale of Chuck Norris to an oak tree, how agile would you say your marketing is? Are you able to move from one thing to the next, roundhouse-kicking projects into the realm of success? Or do you find yourself immovable, stubborn and unwilling to change unless someone comes at you with an ax and a chainsaw?

Like Chuck Norris, agility as a concept can be challenging to define and pin down. I imagine you guys were split into two camps when you read the word agility: you either thought of the ability to be flexible, or agile as a process.

So which one of you is right? Both, actually. At least for my purposes, and in this blog, well, that’s all that really matters.

Let me explain…

The term “agile” is both a concept and a thing. As a concept, it’s kind of a no-brainer. Adopting agility into business means creating a culture of flexibility and empowered responsiveness in different areas like customer service and marketing, so you can easily address rapidly changing consumer and marketing influences. From a social standpoint, Oreo and Arby’s are great examples of brands that seized on-the-fly opportunities to drive major visibility for themselves.

If you work in tech or product development, you’re probably familiar with the agile process, which breaks down projects into a series of iterations and sprints, creating an efficient way to get things done on time. Projects get to market faster with a higher rate of customer satisfaction, since they’re based on consumer feedback.

Put them together and you get this newer idea of agile marketing.

Huh?

Let me explain some more. Agile marketing is a combination of the two, in a broad sense. It’s an always-on world now, right? The pressure to do things faster and better is at a boiling point, and you can either let things explode or you can manage it at a nice simmer. Well, the agile process has some key practices that translate perfectly into swift, profitable and powerful marketing.

Collaboration and Communication. Agile marketers engage in frequent—but brief—team huddles to ensure everyone is on the same page, knows what’s going on, and can respond quickly to issues as they arise. This also helps break down silos and get everyone working from the same playbook. No more weird disconnects between the mobile marketing team assets and the website marketing team assets; instead everyone shares a unified brand look and feel as well as the same goals.

Quick cycles. In agile marketing, you establish a set interval of time for getting things done. We all know how easy it is to set a goal and then doggedly stick to it no matter how many obstacles keep delaying the deadline. Weeks pass, months pass, and still nothing is getting out the door. Agile marketers instead set deadlines and stick to those. If something’s delaying the intended campaign? Find out why and shoot for something less audacious. The point is to work fast, learn from the experience, and produce a steady pipeline of assets.

Using customer input to tailor the output. Look at data for all your programs. Which campaign elements are performing well and not so well? Which audience seems underwhelmed? Agile software development is successful and profitable because the products arrive on the shelves tailored to thrill consumers, thanks to being shaped by ongoing feedback. Agile marketing is no different. Instead of investing blindly in content development or rolling the dice on a strategy, check what the data says.

Empowering teams. This is where a lot of marketing leaders have a hard time letting go. To be truly agile, you HAVE to trust and empower your people to do their jobs without checking and micromanaging Every. Little. Thing. I mean, you hired them, right? To maximize efficiency and responsibility, you have to loosen the leash and give people both the authority and the tools to do what they need to do.

I’m betting most of you out there like the idea of being a Chuck Norris marketer, so agile marketing should really appeal to you. For you tree trunks, well, I’m going to send all the Chucks your way to roundhouse kick you down so your team can run free. Trust me, once you see the results, you’ll be glad I did.

FUN FACT: Chuck Norris counted to infinity – twice.

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