Agile Marketing is an approach used to help companies implement a more effective, responsive process in how they reach their customers.
What it does is it breaks very big projects (or marketing campaigns) into small, strategic segments, making them easier to manage, implement, test, and release. Large-scale projects are infamous for being postponed with campaign timelines and budgets being constantly blown—or the mark is missed entirely, in terms of results.
The most commonly used Agile framework plays off a rugby “scrum,” referring to the way in which the ball is put back into play: two teams are huddled together around the ball, which has to be passed backwards in order to move forward and score.
In order for this Agile framework to be successful, everyone on the team needs to collaborate effectively towards a common goal with an understanding of the iterative nature of the process.
Basically, the idea here is to do one micro-test or version of a campaign, get feedback on it, and then use that information to adjust your strategy accordingly—and identify the perfect customer and approach. Not only does this create opportunities for truly informed campaigns and marketing decisions, but it also helps break things down into manageable chunks of work.
So who practices Agile Marketing? Essentially, anyone who hopes to increase their sales in a shorter timeframe while improving efficiency across the board, without exhausting their resources (or budget) in the process.
Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, Agile Marketing allows you to micro-test ideas and theories and adapt as you go. Instead of launching a campaign and letting it simply run its course, trying to be everything to everybody, Agile breaks it down into testable increments to gauge effectiveness and better understand target audience responses. In this sense, Agile marketing allows you to “fail fast”; you can adjustment and keep honing in on what works.
Want to see it in action?
A few years back, we were working with a company that sells acid-free coffee, which they had labeled a healthy alternative to normal coffee. Under the assumption that their product would resonate most with health-conscious consumers, they decided to promote the coffee based solely on its health benefits.
The problem was, not only did they find that they couldn’t really connect with people enough to convert free samples into legitimate sales and returning customers, but they were trying to be everything to everybody by simply saying “be healthier, now.”
So we took a step back. We decided to actually think about who really needed the product. We incorporated the User Story format that is often used by software development focused Agile teams to define features. “As a (who), I need/want (what), so that (why).” We adapt this approach to writing User Stories to think about who could really use our product, what features would appeal to them most, and why this solution makes their problems go away. We base the “who” off of our target personas for our ideal customers and we developed 15 crucial questions for how to identify the problem we’re trying to solve and the value of the solution.
Once we took a step back and started really thinking about who needed our product, rather than just who we could sell to, we began to substantially improve our message to market match. We started putting together online marketing campaigns using Facebook advertising tools. We gained access to a stream of useful data that could then be used to test and adapt our approach and messaging. Using this information, we started looking at different illnesses and physical needs that might actually prevent people from drinking normal coffee due to its acidity.
Imagine being someone whose ability to function in the morning and stay productive in the afternoon seemingly hinges on daily cups of coffee, and then learning that coffee negatively affects your health due to an existing condition. So now, you feel you need coffee, but can’t have it–and we all know the allure of wanting what we can’t have. So once we started looking at different illnesses and conditions affected by acidic foods (and in this case, drinks), it wasn’t a stretch to position the product not just as a healthy alternative to normal coffee, but as the solution anyone with certain conditions has been waiting for. That was our angle. And it worked.
With this new information, we started micro-testing through Facebook advertising. We looked at people with ulcers, pylori, and a couple other conditions, which allowed us to build out and run five different campaigns. Two of them garnered an ‘okay’ response and the other two were duds, but the response to the fifth campaign was absolutely through the roof. Our messaging targeted people with ulcers, and we had over 7,000 responses versus 600 to 1000 clicks of interest on the other ads we ran. This makes it pretty clear where to spend our advertising dollars, doesn’t it?
Without this approach, the company could have poured the bulk of their marketing dollars into a campaign that completely missed the mark, and therefore didn’t translate into revenue and long-term success. Instead, our Agile Marketing approach allowed us to narrow down and target the ideal customer, then ramp up our ads and marketing efforts toward that specific segment. We learned their needs, and offered them the perfect product to meet those needs.
So, to answer the question: Who practices Agile Marketing?
In a sense, anyone who wants to reach their customers more effectively and increase their output with exponential results.