Home  › Marketing › Strategies

Razorfish Disses the Big Idea, Pushes Iterative Model

  |  August 2, 2010   |  Comments

"Agile" program emphasizes repeated rough drafts of a campaign, website, or application.

Razorfish has created a new design practice with the premise that marketing execs should give up on big ideas that produce mostly one-off campaigns. Instead, it's asking clients to embrace an iterative test-and-learn mindset that gradually refines a website or marketing effort over time. And that goes not only for direct marketers, but big brands as well.

Called Agile, the program is geared mainly toward online projects that require complex application development. It brings together 50 creatives and technologists who engage clients first in a training process before moving into a design phase. Razorfish has practiced the approach since at least last year, but it hasn't been formalized till now.

The Agile design approach generates repeated rough drafts of a campaign, website, or application, breaking long product cycles into smaller increments. Each of those increments results in working software. Thus a nine-month site development process might see four or more successive versions - each complete, yet in varying stages of refinement.

"Creative people were always willing to let the direct response end of the business be subject to optimization," said Joe Crump, Razorfish's group VP of strategy and planning. "That process is moving farther up the food chain, not necessarily in the same way that it operates for direct response advertisers."

Crump added, "Marketers are getting smarter and more demanding about the effectiveness of the work."

It's hard to argue with that. The most recent big campaign to spark a heated debate about ad effectiveness is Old Spice's "I'm on a Horse" TV and online effort starring Isaiah Mustafa. Time, BNET, Ad Age, and other publications have tried to scrutinize its sales impact, despite the fact that the brand's celebrated social media blitz happened mere weeks ago.

Razorfish is hoping to capitalize on the new ROI fetish by talking a new generation of CMOs into, in Crump's words, "not launching a big behemoth of a site, or even a behemoth of a campaign, at the beginning. We try to encourage marketers and our sister agencies to put the consumer at the center of the equation rather than a television spot."

Among clients to put the Agile principles to work is Bundle.com, a personal finance site that launched early this year. The Bundle and Razorfish teams worked together late last year to quickly develop a beta version in time for a January 2010 launch.

“Without question agile was an important reason why Bundle.com is now flourishing and innovating," said Jaidev Shergill. "And we continue to take customer feedback in order to constantly improve Bundle.com.”

Selling the approach hasn't been easy. Some clients have balked at the process, insisting that their contracts specify delivery dates for specific capabilities - for instance, the ability to let users post to Twitter straight from a website.

That fixed approach goes against the whole Agile outlook, said Crump.

"To take an iterative approach you have to believe that list of things that go along with your big idea or your campaign, much of that is wrong and it's going to change," he said. "The reality still is there's a lot of inertia."

Tags:

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.

Jobs

    • SEO Specialist
      SEO Specialist (NJM Insurance Group) - West TrentonNew Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company is an industry leader among its peers and the largest...
    • Paid Search / Search Engine Marketing (SEM, PPC) Specialist
      Paid Search / Search Engine Marketing (SEM, PPC) Specialist (HeBS Digital) - New York  JOB TITLE:        ...