Mindset, methodology, and nimbleness in driving revenue.

The term agile brings to mind a triathlete; someone light on their feet, flexible, and quick. Years ago software developers began developing a methodology of programming based on this term to move processes along more quickly and effectively. Now having been introduced into the spectrum of marketing, agile means teams of marketers that are lean, work efficiently with impact, and implement large projects/schemes in bite-sized, doable increments with readily measurable results.

Jennifer Rooney, CMO of Forbes, adds that along with all of this, the approach of an agile marketing team is one where “a high value on individual contributors, collaboration, and the flexibility to quickly respond to change. This allows teams to gain in productivity and “’increase speed-to-market’”(read complete blog post here).

Because marketing has moved in a massive way to social, agile marketing makes complete sense where immediacy is king – case in point: Twitter posts and comments.

Writing for the Econsultancy blog, Christopher Ratcliff explains social media provides “a real-time playing field full of digital savvy users ready to comment on and share any particularly innovative, clever, entertaining or attention grabbing piece of content.”

At the same time, agile marketing requires buy-in and trust from the C-suite bestowed upon the marketing team. In other words, if there’s an opportunity on social to react to a competitor’s new ad, for example, or react intelligently to some recent event, there’s no time to write up a marketing plan and get permission to proceed from the C-suite. The team has to react in the now.

Ratcliff writes:

“As opposed to the values of content marketing, agile content doesn’t need to be a thoroughly researched, minutely planned piece of narratively driven work of art. It just needs to engage at the right moment and capture the imagination of an audience beyond your own.”

Organizations that are bogged down with levels of bureaucracy, interdepartmental mistrust, multiple levels of approval processes (i.e. meetings and more meetings), and an overall institutional tendency to be reactive vs. be proactive are seriously hindered when compared to competitors that embrace the agile mindset.

Forbes’ Rooney remarks:

“It’s hard to create a culture of agility in your organization if employees are afraid to fail or take risks, … or {have} unclear goals and objectives. CMOs can control these within their organizations but if the wider business isn’t also focused on agility, these can be harder to control.”

How truly far reaching is agile marketing at this moment in time with CMOs? Strategic marketing consultants, CMG Partners, recently released their 6th annual qualitative survey “The Agile Advantage,” of interviews of CMOs and other lead marketers to discover some interesting points of consideration: 63% considered agility extremely important, but only 26% considered their organization as agile.

That means there’s considerable improvement to be done in many organizations, potential profitability to be had, and customer value to be realized.

In the end, it would seem agile marketing can certainly make businesses better performers; give employees a sense of empowerment; encourage better collaboration and quick thinking; and equip teams with greater adaptability to handle business challenges quickly and to more clearly recognize and capitalize upon new opportunities.

As Rooney says, “Marketers who wait to deliver a big splash are not taking advantage of real-time ways to infuse market feedback into the development process.”


Kiffin Hope is a freelance digital marketing and social media strategist. He blogs on all things cyber, tech, and emerging trends in digital.

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