If you talk about Agile Marketing, many marketers think of SCRUM, Kanban, iterative sprints of x number of weeks, stand-ups and weekly meetings, service tickets in tools like JIRA, and others. So mostly about the ceremonies and frameworks. Unfortunately, this is not Agile Marketing - these are practices some companies and individuals have installed to make it easier to work Agile.
In this article, I will explain what Agile Marketing is in a comprehensible way for everyone. Continue reading to discover more.
What is Agile?
To understand what Agile Marketing is, first, you need to have a basic understanding of what Agile stands for. In my opinion, Agile is a set of principles and values written down in the Agile Manifesto (2001), enabling you to be flexible, adapt and respond quickly to internal and external changes. It is a means to add incremental value for the end-user of your product, service or process. It encourages you to experiment and go step by step. Most importantly, people are Agile if they want to follow these values and principles themselves and not because their superiors tell them.
Lean is not Agile
One more thing before we dive into Agile Marketing, Agile is not lean; this is a confusion we often notice. Lean can be complementary to an Agile approach, as they enforce each other. This is called a Lean-Agile organisation. In this type of organisation, the value perception of customers or end-users often evolves quickly, and the company needs to adapt rapidly in this changing world.
With Lean, you focus on activities and behaviours that deliver end-user or customer value in a people-centric way. Everything that does not add value (for the end-user) is considered a waste you should eliminate or stop doing. You can again generate value with the unlocked time and resources (for the end-user or customer). To be clear on this: eliminate waste is not the same as cutting budgets. Often cutting the budget will reduce the value your company delivers (to the end-user or customer), and you will not use the unlocked resources or time to generate value; they’re just gone. Cutting budgets in the long term lead to a downward trend:
- less value
- less satisfied customers
- less revenue or profit, and
- more cutting of the budget.
What is Agile Marketing?
So now we know what Agile means, what does Agile Marketing stand for. According to Adrie Dolman, Agile Marketing is conquering and keeping market share by putting the highest value proposition in the market and doing this faster and more relevant than your competitors while keeping the risk the lowest.
In my opinion, Agile Marketing is a marketing team filled with people that want to follow the Agile values and principles and apply these in their day-to-day job. For marketing, these values and principles are described in the Agile Marketing Manifesto (2012), which gives a broad framework for putting this into practice. How you do this exactly is up to you and the team. Therefore, Agile Marketing will be different in every company.
What does the Agile Marketing Manifesto include?
- Validated learning over opinions and conventions.
- Customer-focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy.
- Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns.
- The process of customer discovery over static prediction.
- Flexible vs rigid planning.
- Responding to change over following a plan.
- Many small experiments over a few large bets.
Also, Agile Marketing on its own will not be successful; you need a company-wide Agile culture, of course, to get an Agile environment. This is an environment with motivated teams that - thanks to good & inclusive communication, minimum documentation and fast iterations - can offer the highest possible customer value in the shortest possible time-to-market, with controlled risk. If your company has no Agile mindset, applying Agile Marketing can be very challenging and demotivating. Nonetheless, it is possible. Just be aware of the energy and effort it will take from the team.
The benefits of Agile Marketing
To conclude, there are several reasons why you should apply Agile Marketing or convince your superior and team members to do so. I’ve listed the most important ones here:
- You can faster and more successful innovate than your competitors. This means you are always one or more steps ahead of your competitors and get a market leader advantage here, read as more revenue.
- Good teamwork with a common goal, and everyone feels psychologically safe to share their feedback, ideas and input openly. Managers facilitate the team so they can work as optimal and autonomous as possible. Instead of top-down, you would have decentralised decision-making. In other words, as a manager, you get more time to focus on the strategy and mentoring the team and less on the wasteful and energy-taking tasks you are doing today.
- Validated learning, adaption to change, and continuous improvement and development enable you to grow as a person, team or company. This leads to employee happiness, employee engagement and happy and loyal customers.
- Structuring the team to be most efficient, autonomous, self-organising and multidisciplinary, so they can quickly adapt to changes. No hours of meeting and planning are required; the team can scale up very fast when needed.
- You are creating remarkable customer experiences by genuinely understanding the customer’s pain points and needs. The team focuses more on the outcomes than the outputs and has more a customer focus than an internal focus. This way, you offer the right product or services at the most appropriate time and location, boosting your revenue and market share.
Agile and Agile Marketing are values and principles you have as a person, team and company. It works best within a company with an Agile mindset and environment. Every company and team will put agility differently into practice. Most important is what works best for you and the team. Agile Marketing offers many benefits to the team and company, so why wouldn’t you apply it? Just try it out. If you need guidance or mentoring, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
I hope you enjoyed my blog about Agile Marketing. My next article will focus on smarketing: the new way of working for sales and marketing. Keep an eye on our website or subscribe to our RSS feed to get a notification once published.
Book tips about Agile Marketing and related topics
If you would like to dive deeper into Agile Marketing and related topics, here are some books you should consider reading.
- Agile Marketing (NL) by Adrie Dolman
- The Six Disciplines of Agile Marketing: Proven Practices for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Results by Jim Ewel
- Lean-Agile Marketing: How to Become Agile and Deliver Marketing Success by Femi Olajiga
- Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster, and More Innovative by Scott Brinker
- Mastering Marketing Agility: Transform Your Marketing Teams and Evolve Your Organization by Andrea Fryrear
- Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
- Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya
Daphné learned how to create a safe work environment for and lead a team of neurodivergent people, after she was diagnosed with ADHD and ASD. She started Bjièn with Dietrich to help other leaders and teams embrace neurodiversity and make their workplace neuroinclusive. — More about Daphné