3 Must-Have Traits to Thrive in an Agile Marketing Environment

  |  June 19, 2014   |  Comments

Being able to move quickly to adjust an approach or fix a campaign that isn't working is a vital skill set for today's marketing leaders.

What Is Agile Marketing?

Agile marketing is an approach to marketing based on a style of production planning that emphasizes adaptability. For years, engineers and developers have been using agile development methods to stay focused and work efficiently.

Agile techniques keep teams zeroed in on one short sprint cycle at a time, with each sprint revolving around a common theme. All members of the team dedicate their efforts to that theme and the tasks assigned to them for that sprint.

How an Agile Approach Can Help Marketers

This method of approaching development allows for a product to be released to market faster than traditional means so that the product can be tested and feedback incorporated into later iterations at a faster rate.

Just like agile development, agile marketing provides "opportunities to assess the direction of a project throughout the development lifecycle with an 'inspect-and-adapt' approach to creation that greatly reduces development costs and time to market."

Jim Ewel, an agile marketing champion, says it best, "Agile marketing is an approach to marketing that takes its inspiration from Agile development and that values:

Responding to change over following a plan
Rapid iterations over Big-Bang campaigns
Testing and data over opinions and conventions
Numerous small experiments over a few large bets
Individuals and interactions over target markets
Collaboration over silos and hierarchy"

Using Agile to Improve Marketing Automation

Marketing automation efforts and the entire inbound marketing philosophy in general rely on adaptation. Research helps to establish accurate buyer personas and then best guesses are rolled out in the form of campaigns to test what we think we know.

The content either engages buyers or it doesn't. Visitors click on the button and complete the call-to-action or they don't. And by gathering data surrounding these types of events, campaigns are tweaked and altered, sometimes even changing course altogether with how or to whom you message.

Moving from a static, more traditional style of marketing to an agile one requires the ability to abandon old ways of doing and be willing to embrace a more fast-paced and granular approach to doing your job.

In the past, marketing executives were tasked with forecasting and planning campaigns a full year out, but today the role requires a proficiency in decisiveness, reflection, and nimbleness.

3 Must-Have Traits of an Agile Marketer

If you're assigned to a leadership role within your marketing team, incorporating an agile approach will require confidence. With agile marketing, actually stepping out and doing something, then making moves based on responses to real-time data is valued over the act of planning to do something.

It's a way of creating that many entrepreneurs subscribe to - that if you can just get an idea off the ground, you'll be able to build the concept out completely mid-flight and before the time where you'd need to come down for a landing (or product launch.)

Decisiveness: Fearlessness and the willingness to try and be wrong. It's as simple as that. People who operate strictly in an effort to minimize bruising to their ego won't survive. You must be willing and able to:

  1. Put in the hard work to research, interview, and think through decision-making paths.
  2. Creatively find ways to meet content needs based on your research.
  3. Make a choice about which path to run with.
  4. Inspire your team to worry about the details and produce their best work.
  5. Trust your research and experience and just launch it.

Reflection: Time management skills are huge. Placing importance on and having the ability to plan for time set aside where you can gather the data, listen to feedback, and reflect upon what worked and what didn't.

Nimbleness: The attitude and desire to move quickly, sometimes in a completely different direction than the last step you might have just taken. You'll need a team that is prepared to change gears mid-project and move efforts elsewhere or to different topics altogether if needed.

In today's marketing landscape, team leaders are being held accountable to measure better and be a part of revenue generation for their company. This means that being able to move quickly to adjust an approach or fix things in a campaign that isn't working is a vital skill set for today's marketing leaders.

Image via Shutterstock.

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Aubrey Beck

Aubrey is the director of marketing programs at Salted Stone, a digital marketing agency in Southern California. She specializes in brand strategy and inbound marketing, working with emerging tech companies and B2B providers to identify their voice and create revenue-driving content plans.

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