Anna Wintour summed up an agile approach to marketing perfectly when she said:

It’s always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone’s forgotten.

And that’s the point – being timely.  If you’re after an exhaustive (but brilliant) definition of agile marketing, read this.

If you’re after an example of agile marketing, then take a look at The Bookseller’s Association rapid response to Amazon’s tax faux-pas with their button campaign featuring the slogan, ‘can pay, do pay – we pay our taxes‘, a swipe at the small amount of tax (relative to sales) paid in the UK by Amazon.

This great post from Chris Lake at eConsultancy lists numerous campaigns, full of wit, bite, humour and all using the news hook.   Driven by social media, these campaigns are not proactive.   Rather they follow the fact and ride the coat tails of noise in the social sphere.  

Agile marketing is reactive, but it is also rapid in its execution and delivery, using social media and news hooks to drive brand or education messages.   It has to be fast.   We live in a world where smartphones, tablets and the like make work, life and communication just that little bit faster – marketing has to keep up to remain relevant.   So how can you work in an agile marketing environment?

In agile working we tend to use proportionality as a way of explaining the weight we assign to various efforts.   In the context of agile marketing, the 70:20:10 rule makes sense.

  • 70% of your marketing is the planned ‘marketing as usual’ activity
  • 20% of your marketing should be programmatic – maintaining automated and regular comms etc
  • 10% of your marketing can be purely responsive

agile-marketing-cycleIt’s a great way to capitalise on existing systems and processes, but also to engage people and resources which are crying out to experiment and try something new.  

You will need the correct alerting mechanisms, feeds and ‘listening’ configured across your channels, most obviously social media, to ensure you know when a response is required or opportunity has arisen … and then you need the right people.

As always, potential anarchy (and creativity) relies on well founded and maintained systems and processes.  

Avoid thinking of agile marketing as being akin to viral marketing – there is a distinction – though as with viral marketing there is no point in abandoning good marketing principles.

  • 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

Being agile is about making your marketing processes and systems work faster to reach further, about making sensible compromises where necessary, thinking about your audience, ensuring that you devote time to pre and post campaign analysis – business as usual – build, measure, learn.

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