Principles of Agile Marketing Explained

Principles of Agile Marketing Explained

Having been successful in IT software development over the past couple of decades, Agile (Scrum) principles are slowly entering the marketing domain. Because agile marketing is still in its infancy, it is important to understand the underlying principles that made agile (scrum) so successful in IT and how marketing teams can adapt some of these principles for their own purposes, although it is also worth mentioning that not all agile principles will be applicable to marketing due the difference in mind-set, goals and team size(s).

Marketing teams have traditionally been structured to mirror the waterfall project management approach because, for a long time, marketing represented a one-way communication from brands to customers. However, the fairly recent explosion of the internet changed the predictable nature of marketing, as it gave more power to the consumers to voice their opinions and, thus, influence the perceptions of the brand by other consumers. The key problem marketers face today is that customer behavior is anything but predictable because of the increased number of marketing channels and the influence exerted via social media on how customers make their buying decisions.

While the traditional process of creating marketing plans at the start of a fiscal year gives the impression of an orderly, accountable and measurable approach to strategic marketing, this approach creates a very rigid mind-set for marketing teams, as it does not allow them the flexibility to respond to changing and uncertain customer expectations and their subsequent buying decisions. Adopting agile marketing based on some of the principles that have been so successful for software development teams will allow marketing teams to adapt their marketing tactics to meet these changes in customer behaviours based on good quality insights from web analytics, CX and UX data.

For many marketing teams, creating rigid marketing plans makes sense in terms of allocating budget funds to online and offline marketing channels and then waiting for the next financial year before a new plan is created. The non-agile (waterfall) mind-set will believe that marketing plans must be followed without any change and if the marketing plan does not work, the assumption is that the marketing plan did not work as opposed to questioning the execution of a plan that does not allow for response to change in customer behaviour. Furthermore, budgets are usually signed off by senior management, even though the required insights needed to adapt the marketing plan to the changing market conditions are mostly generated by lower level marketing and customer-facing employees.