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How agile are you?

Neil Smith examines the subject of “agile marketing” and uses the word continuum, a lot:

I would like to propose the existence of a continuum. Mainly because I like the word. At one end of this continuum sit new thought leadership concepts, usually incorporating a newly minted phrase or an old word, given a new meaning. Think ‘content’ or ‘disruptive’.

Overused buzzwords

In the next stage of my continuum, these words or phrases morph inexorably into overused buzzwords. Then the concept is hi-jacked by early adopters, attaching any meaning that suits them, usually not fully understanding the subtlety of the original idea. Towards the far end of the continuum, the concept either enters the mainstream as a widely understood term with a diluted meaning, or as yesterday’s fad, usage of which marks you out as a loser.

Agile Marketing

Just where “agile marketing” currently sits on this continuum is open to debate, but it is surely on the journey. In my opinion, it is a concept that has great merit, if not in disrupting conventional marketing thinking, then at least in interrupting it.

Here is why.

In short, agile marketing accepts that customers and markets are volatile and unpredictable. It eschews traditional campaign timescales, durations and approval procedures in order to be light footed and spontaneous. It’s about timely and effective responsiveness, streamlining strategies and being prepared to experiment.

Drift glacially into irrelevance

Being agile means continuously collecting, data and analytics, evaluating results and iterating quickly. The key is speed. Being quick off the mark to capitalise on trends and events. Running campaigns that meet customer needs and pick up on trends, and not allowing good ideas to drift glacially into irrelevance, dragging you with it.

And if you can’t be agile, plan to look agile!

There’s a constant need for new approaches to marketing. This is where the idea of agile marketing comes into play, a mantra we have been repeating for some time. Whilst we recognise that not all businesses may be capable of operating at the extremes of agility, we can certainly help you move down the continuum regardless. It is imperative to get ahead of the pack or you risk being left behind.

Many small experiments

Leading blogger Ashley Friedland suggest that 10% of any marketing budget should be entirely agile. This may involve reacting to news, riding trends, or hi-jacking events as and when they occur. The most important requirements are creativity, speed and a willingness to experiment, trialing multiple small ideas rather than backing one expensive option.

Not for everyone?

Agility for a high street fashion brand may be totally different to agility in a law firm. However, all companies ignore the principles of fleet-footed, streamlined marketing at their peril. A preference for risk averse predictable campaigns, signed off over weeks and months, instead of hours, if allowed to prevail, is likely to start a journey down an altogether different continuum.

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