The agile methodology came into being in 2001 when a group of software developers believed there was a better way to work on projects that required revamping some previously established ideas. For example, they prioritized individual interactions over processes and tools. That meant doing away with the silos that often kept people consistently separated.

These developers also believed it was better to respond swiftly to change rather than stick rigidly to a plan. Moreover, the agile method focuses on delivering continuous value to customers. It’s not surprising that it’s also had impacts outside of software development. Marketing is one example.

What are some of the principles of agile marketing?

Something that quickly becomes apparent to people who give Agile marketing a try is that they need to change long-held mindsets. For example, the foundations of the method center on small experiments released frequently rather than long-term plans that are set months in advance. The idea is that marketers adhere to short-term development cycles called iterations, and these allow them to respond to changes or new client requests quickly.

Members of agile marketing teams also get stuff done in time-restricted periods known as sprints. During a sprint, the group’s objective is to complete a defined amount of work. The nice thing about this is that it breaks down large tasks into bite-sized chunks. A process called scrum structures the workflow during a sprint.

Scrum is a subset of agile, and it focuses on defining the problems with a product and figuring out how to solve them in ways that bring high value to the customer. Since agile marketing requires offering the product owner visibility at every phase of the process, it’s easier for that person or entity to raise concerns the team can solve.

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Non-agile groups often keep stakeholder visibility to a minimum until near a product’s release. Unfortunately, that technique often results in increased costs, especially if a client realizes they have additional requests. However, visibility is a key component of agile marketing. Continual status updates are crucial, too. Those happen every day in so-called stand-up meetings. Those gatherings clock in under 15 minutes, and all team members attend.

Also, even though one person may take ownership of a task while participating in agile marketing, whether a sprint fails or succeeds is an outcome the team handles together.

Agile marketing keeps everyone on the same page

Traditional approaches to marketing can be stressful for the professionals required to follow them. That’s because people often work in various segmented groups and don’t communicate what they’ve achieved. They might stay quiet about any problems encountered until the issues are so severe they completely stop the workflow. Agile marketing is different because it requires teamwork and ongoing communication.

Every person dealing with something that blocks them from working on a project has to bring it up during that morning’s stand-up meeting. Thus, there are no surprise delays that go unaddressed for too long.

Since agile marketing needs such a high degree of teamwork, companies should consider if they should rearrange the office layout. For example, instead of giving every person a private office, switch to a cubicle design. That setup provides people privacy that could boost their productivity but makes it easier for workers to collaborate with their colleagues when needed. Instead of knocking on a door, they can scoot their chairs over to a desk for a chat.

However, it’s a good idea to use a visual indicator, such as a desk light, to show if a person is available or busy. Then, they won’t encounter too many disruptions.

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Why is agile well-suited to marketing?

The marketing sector changes quickly, and professionals know they need to keep track of trends, new tools, changes in customer perceptions and more. The people who participate in agile marketing must not be afraid of failing. They have to accept that some of their experiments won’t pay off, but others will.

Since agile marketing is about responding to changes rather than being inflexible, it caters to the fast-paced world of marketing. Teams should keep track of what works well for projects and what doesn’t. Doing that ensures they’re more likely to continually make progress rather than getting into a rut.

Another advantage of agile marketing is that it facilitates a company’s ability to remain competitive. If businesses keep doing things the same way for years because they worked in the past, they’ll probably fall behind compared to the places that are better able to adapt and evolve. If a company using agile marketing realizes something isn’t working as expected, they’re not locked into a long-term plan that could prove both costly and ineffective.

Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Dell are some of the many brands that have turned to agile marketing. Switching to it is not something that should happen fast and without research. However, companies often find that it works better than their previous methods and that it’s more appropriate for meeting their needs.

A worthy consideration for marketing professionals

Getting on board with agile requires everyone’s participation. Some team members may be hesitant about adopting it, especially if they are comfortable with their old ways. However, it’s a good idea to transition into agile marketing while using a timeframe that allows everyone the chance to acclimate to what’s new.

Additionally, the people that are leading the way with moving to agile marketing should allow everyone to weigh in with any thoughts or concerns. Then, they should feel more open to speak up with feedback and admit if they’re struggling with something. Keeping these things in mind and remembering the details above should put a marketing professional in a well-informed position as they ponder using agile marketing.

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