Your business needs to be quick, nimble, and adaptable during uncertain times, and marketing is no exemption. You have to adopt an agile marketing strategy.
In my B2B Digital Marketer podcast, Jim Ewel and I discussed Agile Marketing: How To Achieve Business Agility Through Uncertain Times.
It is no question that we are living in difficult times. As a business owner, I face challenges, too, due to this uncertainty. However, what has helped me pull through difficult times like 2020 is to continue to refine a more agile marketing and business strategy.
We continue to update our B2B marketing services; we updated our content creation services, our LinkedIn lead generation services, our video development services, our marketing strategy services, podcast production services, and more. The B2B world has changed so rapidly in the past year, and we must be Agile or else we will cease to exist.
So in this article, I talk about the highlights of Agile Marketing that have helped me and my clients to gain awareness on how to create a path for yourself or your organization.
What Is An Agile Marketing Strategy?
“In Agile it is the team members who commit, not the managers who commit on behalf of the team.” (AgileMarketing.net)
Agile marketing is an approach to marketing that takes its inspiration from software development. And gives it a little twist in the approach.
It involves things like adapting to change over following a plan. It’s about iteration over campaigns rather than doing a big campaign and pouring everything into it.
Agile marketers do things in terms of a little idea to see how it tests out, get the data to improve upon it, and scale it. Agile marketing strategy is about creating an iteration system before spending the big dollars on a campaign.
It’s a relentless focus on the customer, customer experience, and innovation. In my Fast Leader Show podcast, I have an episode on Never Stop Innovating with Chuck Swoboda that I highly recommend you listen to or watch. It reinforces why agile marketing is vitally important.
How Do You Prove You Need More Marketing Resources?
Most marketers always complain about lacking enough resources. When you don’t have enough resources, you have to prioritize, and agile gives you a way to do that.
It gives you a way to think about how to prioritize things and get things done. Basically, it’s a way to get things done.
According to VersionOne, 98% of organizations say they’ve experienced success with an Agile project.
Can Solopreneurs Benefit From An Agile Marketing Strategy?
Even if you work as a singleton, you still have to prioritize, do some iteration and figure out what works and what doesn’t.
But there are some disciplines that don’t apply to solopreneurs. E.g. how do you structure the marketing team?
Even if you are a singleton, you probably use some outside resources to get stuff done. Therefore, you become a virtual organization.
You have people who are not part of your organization or team, but you have to manage them. At some point, you will realize that you cannot do it on your own.
The Six Disciplines Of Agile Marketing
The six disciplines of agile marketing are; alignment, structure, process management, validated learning, adapting to change, and creating remarkable customer experience.
The four shifts that need to occur to be successful in agile marketing are; move from outputs to outcomes, move from campaigns to continuous improvement, move from internally focused to customer-focused, and finally, move from top to down decisions to decentralized decision.
27% of marketing leaders say Agile gets marketing campaigns into the market faster. (Forbes)
Moving From Campaigns To Marketing Continuous Improvement
I’m not saying don’t do campaigns anymore. Don’t huddle in a room and figure out about spending money on a big campaign without any data about how the campaign will be received.
Instead, get a little idea, go out there and test the idea with some real customers. Get the data about how it’s received before you start spending big bucks.
Once you do that first little test then you optimize it. Make sure you optimize things before you spend a lot of money on it.
Don’t run campaigns based on internal assumptions on what you think the customers want.
You need to know what the customer wants; that’s what is called validated learning. It’s about what you can validate that the customer is actually going to do.
It’s based on the customer behavior not what you think.
According to the 2018 State of Agile Marketing, Agile marketing teams are 81% more likely to be satisfied with how their department handles work than traditional teams.
What Causes Marketers To Fail?
What you think you know is the problem. That’s the marketer’s biggest risk. It’s not stuff that you don’t know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know for sure that ends up not being true.
The biggest Achilles heel for marketers is that they just know things about customers that turn out not to be true.
Don’t make the mistake of placing certainty in your instincts, use data. Intuition, gut and bias are significant factors in contributing to your failures.
Even with your extensive experience, always remember that the world has changed and continues to. You need to test. You must pick up on changes as soon as they happen, before everyone else.
If you can pick up the changes as they happen you are going to be ahead of 90% of the marketers out there.
What Marketers Need To Stop Doing?
Though it sounds heretical, marketers need to stop focusing on leads as much as they do. It’s not about the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or sales qualified leads (SQLs).
You are not in control; the customer is the one in control. Help them make a decision and do it more quickly. That should be your focus, not SQLs.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.”Sam Walton
Agile Marketing Strategy: The Shift Of Balance Between Marketing And Sales
According to Gartner, average buyers are two-thirds away from the buying decision before contacting anybody at the organization, which shifts the balance between Marketing and Sales.
Now Marketing has to carry the ladder for at least two-thirds of the buying process. Meaning, marketing has to do some things that Sales used to do.
Marketing needs to make sure they are getting buyers through that buying process as far as they can get those things to sales. There has to be better integration between Marketing and Sales.
The two have to be working together for the last one-third.
The first discipline in Agile Marketing is alignment and the first place to do so is with the Sales organization.
It makes a huge difference in the organization if Marketing and Sales are working together and respect each other’s contribution.
LinkedIn Marketing global research found that 60% of respondents believed that sales and marketing misalignment could damage financial performance.
Finding Shorcuts With Marketing: “Hacking” Marketing
I think the mindset of hacking in marketing is important. So if you think hacking, for example, is taking shortcuts, you will find that it will have a boomerang effect.
You are going to get the results that you would desire that you could have received.
From my perspective hacking is really about doing it correctly. If you do it correctly you will move faster.
You will get more marketing velocity when you do it correctly. It’s not about taking shortcuts. It’s about applying the best of what some of the most successful have done to marketing.
How Does A B2B Digital Marketer Become A Disruptor?
To be a disruptor, you need to fail often. If you are not failing, you are not taking enough chances. You are not doing enough things that are different from other people.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill
An Agile Marketing strategy is about adaptability in a bid to manage and improve the way a marketing team gets work done.
This differs from traditional marketing in several important ways, including a focus on frequent releases, deliberate experimentation, and a relentless commitment to audience satisfaction.
I recommend that you read The Six Disciplines of Agile Marketing: Proven Practices for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Results for more on the Agile marketing strategy and related issues.
Watch My Interview With Jim Ewel on the Agile Marketing Strategy
- What’s your strategy in regards to Agile Marketing?
- What is your strategy regarding Agile Marketing and AI?
- How can an organization be agile instead of doing agile?