Today’s digital marketing stands for fluid, responsive, and measurable ways of planning and executing the campaigns. Social media is at its maturity phase where most of the marketers and Brands have tried their hands on various social media tactics, learnt the content language of socializing, and now looking forward for some serious social media investments and ROI. This year, marketers are ready with their fan-followers base but are kind of puzzled around the questions like, what is the right creative content strategy, which campaign would engage users the most, how to analyze the BIG data, what equation brings in ROI, and so on.
In general, there are many techniques and strategies that enterprises can deploy based on their business objectives and goals. One marketing technique is Agile Marketing that has taken inspirations from Agile Development method and empowering business to improve the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change of the marketing function, says Jim Ewel, marketing consultant and faculty member at University of Washington. Agile Marketing is a strategic approach to your marketing goals that can be applied to the product launches, marketing communications, thereby improving customer experience and real-time feedback. This marketing is not just about conversion optimization or streamlining your communication. Jonathan Colman a SEO Expert at REI, has an excellent presentation on how he leveraged agile marketing in SEO in his work.
Agile Marketing is based on set of principles, statements that build upon to suit the operating method of an Agile Marketer.
Agile Marketer’s Principles
Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems and creates value.
We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to quickly respond to change is a source of competitive advantage.
We deliver marketing programs often, from every couple of weeks to every two months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
Great marketing requires close alignment with the business, sales, and development.
Motivated individuals build great marketing programs. We give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
Learning through the build-measure-learn feedback loop is the primary measure of progress.
Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline.
Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice.
Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility.
Simplicity is essential.
The core of Social Media Agile Marketing is Agile Management principles and values which have many advantages over traditional marketing techniques, like many enterprises use Agile Marketing approach to launch customer-centric innovative products through real-time connection with potential customers. Integration of Agile Management principles and values into Social Media Marketing empowers Brands to launch products at an enhanced speed, defining mobile strategy, taking care of effective marketing communication, and building content marketing strategies. Ric Dragon also enlightens through his excellent book on Social Marketology that includes a discussion of how to use agile management in social media marketing.
Here’s a ready-to-use framework for building an effective Agile Social Media Marketing strategy. Read along for six ‘MUST-HAVES’ to implement the same:
1. Rapid Iterations over Big-Bang Campaigns
For several years traditional marketing approach has been to launch big-bang campaigns and by the time you collect feedback from your fragmented customers and make sense out of the big data, your competitor would come up with an improved experience. While 12-24 months marketing plans are important, your target audiences, their preferences, communication channels and technology adopt variation rapidly and it gets slothful to realize the impact of your marketing campaigns. The advantage of Agile Marketing is to bring in flexibility for the marketers by developing shorter campaigns over big ones. The concept is to design daily or weekly campaigns, instantly gain the feedback and measure the success of campaigns that leads to the overall marketing objective. For instance, launch a Twitter based survey or run a pre-launch teaser on Facebook to realize the kind of influence your campaign holds over the marketing objective.
2. Numerous Small Experiments over a Few Large Bets
Agile marketing gives you ‘speed’ to your social media initiatives – it requires less large scale brilliant ideas and greater focus on small, experimental bets that are more iterative. Large ideas require long-term commitments, certain level of predictability, and sometimes touch the hypothetical lines too. Agile Marketing approach is to increase the certainty in your goals, streamline the many marketing efforts, helping your firm achieve the ultimate business objectives. Instead of few large bets on major campaigns, consider an ongoing series of small ‘iterative’ experiments.
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” – Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling
3. Individuals and Interactions over Target Markets
Knowing your target market has always been core to the businesses since they provide you insights about your audience. Thanks to social media analytics, which give you access to the precise customer data, demographic, geographic, and behavioral information that go a long way in concentrating on your audience. An Agile marketer should know individual customers and communicate with them one-to-one basis. This allows ‘predictability’ in the future social media plans. Develop user personas, write user stories that reflect specific audience and align user objectives with your marketing goals. A marketer should think of individuals, their choices and needs. Doing so will introduce more personalized approach in creating content and communication.
Classical example of this is Oero’s Tweet during the 34-minute blackout in the Super Bowl, tweeting, “You can still dunk in the dark”.
The Achievement: This was retweeted more than 15,000 times within 14 hours.
Oreo has been successful in inventing the creative content in the right environment that exemplifies true agile marketing campaigns.
4. Testing and Data over Opinions and Conventions
In social media, the big data gives you access to the exciting customer insights, preferences, behavior, and a lot more useful data. Data and testing are the fundamental tools of agile marketing, and marketers can leverage the benefits of customer opinions relying only on the gut feeling of small number of executives. The key is, testing & user data allows marketers to respond to success and failures quickly within a small controlled environment, thereby refining marketing strategies and producing positive results fast.
5. Responding to Change over Following a Plan
‘Change’ is the one of the most constant element of the universe. It is a boon to fresh ideas and helps you score on higher goals by creating great products & services. Agile principles are divided into sprints, or period of time in which objectives are defined and accomplished. An ideal agile marketing sprint lasts for 2-4 weeks which essentially focuses on accomplishing goals in action over performance goals. In Agile Management for social media it is crucial to understand what works well and what requires improvement, so you can tweak your plans accordingly. Of course if you don’t analyze the performance and change plans accordingly, then you are going to miss out on the opportunities without recognizing the effectiveness of your marketing plans.
6. Collaboration over Silos and Hierarchy
Every organization has different silos – a strategic unit of an organization designed with a purpose and objective, working separately. Agile Management encourages working in collaboration, motivates people from different teams, projects, and different skill-sets to collaborate, ideate, share experiences, and build products. This helps in removing the intra-team barriers, formal hierarchy, encouraging fresh ideas and learnings from others.
Many Brands have recognized the advantages of Agile Frameworks for social media and incorporating this modern technique of marketing to build social media, content and outreach strategy. According to Mashable 3 brands that are successful in Agile strategies are Carsurfing, Teradata Applications and CafePress. You can learn more about their agile strategies. For a successful adaptation of Agile Management in marketing and social media function, instituting agile culture is a must which is different from traditional marketing setup. Agile management is not a plug-in for improving your social media efforts, but it requires continuous learning and improvement. Agile management in social media marketing is definitely advantageous to an organization, to its employees and customers to enhance the end-to-end experience.
Finally, Agile Management is all about collaborating with people, entertaining and amalgamating fresh ideas, experimenting in a measured environment and keeping low investments. Post success of the experiment, you realize deftly if it is a time to scale it up. Let’s embark on this opportunity and unlock the new levels of success!