‘Agile’ marketing improves adaptability

‘Agile’ marketing improves adaptability

Flexibility, small campaigns, and collaboration are keys to an agile mindset.

January 19, 2021

When the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic began, many marketers found themselves stuck in long-term plans that were difficult to adapt to the changing environment. But those who’d adopted an agile marketing mindset were quickly able to pivot their plans without major disruptions.

“It’s an operating system for marketing,” says Jim Ewel, author of “The 6 Disciplines of Agile Marketing: Proven Practices for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Results.”

He will address the CUNA Agile Marketing eSchool in February.

Ewel cites four differences between agile and traditional marketing:

1. Adaptability. Agile marketing plans are shorter and are tested and revised frequently. These plans constantly evolve and change based on feedback and the market.

2. Rapid iterations over big campaigns. Traditional marketing efforts are built around big campaigns. Agile marketing is based on small campaigns that are tested and tweaked before rolling out the remaining budget in a big campaign.

This allows marketers to test parts of the campaign without fear of losing large amounts of money if the campaign fails. “Once it’s optimized, then and only then do we start spending big bucks on rolling it out because we know at that point it worked,” Ewel says.

3. Validated learning over opinions and conventions. Decisions are made based on data and analytics, not the opinion of the highest-paid person in the room. And marketers don’t make assumptions about how customers are feeling or what they want. Instead, agile marketers validate their assumptions about customers through testing and iteration.

4. Collaboration over silos. Agile marketing emphasizes cross-functional teams organized around customers, the customer journey, or a business initiative. Individuals are assigned to a specific team instead of tackling many projects at once. “Instead of competing with everyone else who is trying to get something done, you have a dedicated person solving the problem,” Ewel says.

Marketers who adopt this approach will see several benefits, Ewel says, including increased productivity, better outcomes, and transparency about what is being done and why. This leads to increased trust and adaptability to changing strategies or environments.

“In addition to being a process, agile marketing is also a mentality,” Ewel says. “Agile marketing a mindset, and you have to make the shift to that agile mentality.”