Over the past few months, I’ve been analysing what has made DigitLab campaigns successful in the past. Many of our clients have had their objectives met through campaigns we’ve run, and during this analysis, it’s been very easy to point to the people putting the work together.

Agile Marketing

We have fantastic people working at DigitLab, who give their heart and soul to this business. It has also been easy to identify that our strategic work and our creative work has been good. However, I quickly started to realise that many other advertising agencies have great people, with good strategic and creative direction.

And then it dawned on me, after hours and hours of research and banging my head against a brick wall, that the major success factor in our clients’ marketing campaigns is agility.

Agility as a success factor in marketing

Most marketing companies consider themselves to be fairly agile. But the level of agility we are talking about today goes beyond being able to move quickly toward something.

Agility - a team effortAgility is a team effort, usually a small team effort, empowered with the ability to make quick decisions for the good of the campaign. This means these small teams need to embody the trust of the company they serve.

The team should be made up of technologists, creatives, strategists, innovators, and problem solvers.

The team should be free to move to a new plan of action as soon as it becomes necessary. When objectives are not being met, it signals a time to review our plans and tweak them to achieve business objectives.

Be careful of building a big team because big teams immediately suffocate your ability to be agile. In other words, agility is achieved by a diverse team of people focusing on business objectives, and not marketing activities.

Minimal viable marketing

Minimal viable marketing is an idea that suggests you launch a campaign or marketing strategy with the best strategic approach possible. However, when you launch, you measure everything! Measurement gives you access to information that should be analysed on a daily basis, and should feed the next actions for the marketing team.

Your analysis should be real-time, useful, and actionable for the marketing team to change plans, structures, ideas, and strategy to leverage how consumers actually respond to the campaign.

Listen to to customer engagementThis approach will allow you to build an intuitive marketing strategy that listens to the customer, and forces you to react to the immediate changes in the marketplace – daily, hourly … even to the second.

Ditch the rollout plan – focus on objectives

By creating agile marketing environments and partnerships with an agency you are able to launch campaigns that never fail. They will always deliver on objectives because that’s the focus.

The campaign plans are malleable, organic, and will often grow into something bigger than initially intended. Plans may change but the objective stays the same.

Being agile is not about running into a campaign empty handed, without strategy or a plan of action. Agility just places more importance on the way you deliver the campaign to achieve success. With this in mind, Molly Hoffmeister outlines the four tenets of agile marketing…

The four tenets of agile marketing

Flexibility.  The agility of your marketing relies on the abilities of the people behind it, so it’s important to make sure you have the right people in place. A few important traits to look for in a person: Are they flexible and open to change? Can they execute plans quickly? Meet deadlines? Are they self-starting, with a desire to constantly re-evaluate and improve their approach? This adaptive and innovative mindframe is crucial to the success of agile marketing.

Short-term goals. In waterfall marketing, goals tend to be long-term and generalized, perhaps starting with a vague idea of where you want to be in a year and then breaking that timeframe into shorter deadlines. Agile marketing, on the other hand, requires a focus on meeting short-term goals and accomplishing tasks with deadlines of weeks, days, or even hours. These short-term goals can help you stay in-tune with the industry and keep pace with today’s ever-evolving marketing world.

Quick execution. The more quickly you can accomplish tasks, the more relevant and timely your marketing can be. Look for trends and opportunities, and don’t be afraid to experiment with smaller projects. Often, this requires a “better not best” mentality. In waterfall marketing, there’s a tendency to establish and “perfect” a plan before executing. But what if, months and half of your marketing budget later, you discover that the plan wasn’t so perfect after all? If you can execute a project quickly, your marketing initiatives will be timely and relevant, and you’ll be able to quickly test them and spot ways to improve.

Review and change. One of the most important aspects of agile marketing is being able to catch problems early, so be prepared to constantly re-evaluate your efforts based on results, often adjusting and occasionally scrapping initiatives altogether. After all, failure in the short term is acceptable, but failure in the long-term is not. It’s easy to get caught up in new trends, but unless you’re continually testing the effectiveness of a specific campaign, you could be wasting substantial resources on an initiative that just isn’t producing results for your company.