In an age of big data, myriad social media platforms, analytics and reports, digital strategies and sentient consumers, more and more is demanded of digital marketers in terms of delivering ROI to justify the marketing budget and flurry of efforts.
In a previous study, the Content Marketing Institute asked marketers how effective they deemed their efforts, with effectiveness being a measure of ‘accomplishing overall objectives.’ The results of the 2015–2016 survey showed that the proportion of marketers who said their efforts were effective had decreased from a year or two earlier.
Undoubtedly, getting smart about how you approach your marketing goals will give you far better results than just directing your efforts reactively to every new shiny fad that comes along.
How Agile Marketing Fits in the Picture
Agile marketing is an organised approach to work that allows you to get more done, to accomplish the most important goal without necessarily needing to work more and to be flexible enough to adapt your efforts to important trends.
In digital marketing, expending more effort does not always equate to great results. But, organising work very strategically will help you stay ahead of the game while delivering measurable results such as conversions and sales.
Agile marketing is what allows brands such as Snickers to instantaneously leverage social media trends before the wave suddenly dies and consumers start looking for the next big thing.
For example, after Jeremy Clarkson was sacked by the BBC in the UK following a fight with a producer Snickers tweeted the image of a parcel being sent out to him which linked their catchy slogan from a long running TV commercial about people who don’t act themselves when they were hungry.
Plan but remain flexible
Planning, building a team and having clear goals are important elements of any marketing strategy. This kind of organised approach to your marketing efforts obviously gives you structure, a clear path and a destination.
However, marketing plans need to be flexible enough to respond to emerging demands because, as you may already know, the online world can be fast and unpredictable.
As you structure your content marketing calendar or plan your campaigns, use this structure as an outline to guide your marketing efforts and not as something that is cast in stone.
This agility allows you to strategically jump into social media trends, to fill in a need, to grab an opportunity that was not so obvious or even available initially.
Keep your fingers on the pulse
Winning brands, those that are actually seeing real returns on their investment are those that are able to keep up with the trends and what their customers are paying the most attention to.
[easy-tweet tweet=”Marketing efforts don’t add up to much if what you put out isn’t relevant. “]
From films to big sports games, music to large car launches, being able to capitalise on the big events is a classical characteristic of agile marketing.
Keeping abreast with the world, requires marketers to take on a keen role in listening and looking out for opportunities to meet consumers just where their attention is focused at any given time.
The 70: 20: 10 rule of digital marketing
What’s really great about taking an agile approach to online marketing is that it not only fosters a culture of listening and acting to meet demand; it also requires greater focus on building structures that perform like clockwork.
What this means is, to deliver excellent results from your marketing efforts, you need to think carefully about your team, the resources available to them and the strategies you lay out to execute your goals.
So, agile marketing is not just about leveraging social trends as they come. It does take careful planning.
The 70: 20: 10 approach proposed by Ashley Friedlein, founder of Econsultancy is a great way to look at it:
To succeed as an agile marketer, 70% of your marketing activities should be carefully planned and structured around specific goals; the largest share of the budget should be allocated to these activities.
20% should be automated efforts based on consumer data. A good example of this is retargeting and to some extent, social media posting.
10% of marketing activities should be reactive, which would entail strategies such as piggybacking on news and other popular events.
While reactive marketing may pay off in the short term, you do not want your agile marketing efforts to be based solely on reactive marketing, which is determinably unpredictable.
Agile marketing gets results
Remember, for agile marketing to work, you need the right processes in place and this is where planning meets reactive marketing. You need to structure appropriate listening and alerting systems and you need the right talent pool to rapidly respond to fast-moving trends.
Every marketer wants to see that their efforts are significantly paying off whether that is measured as conversions, sales, engagement or any other important metric. Agile marketing offers a way to look at marketing through a lens of adaptability, flexibility and smart strategy to deliver on key goals. However, it is more than just news–jacking; taking a more holistic approach in which thorough planning, automation and reactive marketing seamlessly come together offers superior ROI.