How better to respond to constant and quickening change than with a marketing approach that values change rather than following a plan? That emphasizes several small experiments over a handful of sizeable bets? That stresses collaboration instead of silos and hierarchy?

But is Agile Marketing truly a revolution? Or is it just Frenetic Marketing?

It’s a chicken-and-egg riddle where it’s hard to peg which came first – the trend, or the conditions which make it worth following.

Adapting and evolving

The overall goals of Agile Marketing, says one expert, “…are to improve the speed, predictability, transparency and adaptability to change of the marketing function.”

If that doesn’t sound like the goals of most people navigating a typical workday, eyes glued to their mobile screens, what does? Like life is going to get less agile anytime soon?

Agile Marketers stand behind a set of principles, which the expert says include:

  • Satisfying the customer through early and ongoing marketing techniques that solve problems and enhance value.
  • Rapid response to change, which creates competitive advantage.
  • Quick-hitting marketing programs that range in duration from two weeks to two months; the shorter, the better, usually.
  • Close alignment with sales, business and development departments. Yes, everyone needs to work and play well together.
  • Failing is OK; failing the same way twice is not.

Can you out-create a coder?

So, does the process work and, if so, will it work across a variety of industries?

To hear the blogosphere talk of Agile Marketing, yes and yes.

Philip Driver, writing at GamesMarketer.com, boils down the advantages of Agile, especially for the fickle video games market, where player preferences often change at the rate of a teenager’s hormonal swings:

  1. You can move forward despite uncertainty – which beats the old “schedule and launch” formula.
  2. There’s enough in the way of process to provide order from chaos.
  3. Everyone contributes. Even those who fail. Which will be everyone. Get over it and create.
  4. The feedback keeps on coming. Which is way better than the distant echo of a lost client.

Best of all for the video games space, says Driver, “Because you are not tied to a master marketing plan you can listen to your players, understand them and adapt your marketing through agile to provide a better service to them….”

Frank Davis wrote about The Role of Agile Marketing in Creating a World-Class Marketing Team, picking up on ideas from the software development world. Put off? Don’t be: If coder mindsets can make a seat-of-the-pants approach work, how much better could fashion, beauty or CPG marketers leverage it?

Davis concludes with a point that creative marketers ought to hit out of the park: He mentions someone else’s old analogy about baseball player Ted Williams winding up in the Hall of Fame despite failing 2/3 of the time (because his batting average translated into 3+ hits for every 10 times at bat.) Davis asks,

Are we marketers prepared to fail this frequently?

Careful there: Williams was trying to hit a 95 mph fastball being hurled at him from a distance inside 60 feet. Marketers usually face less daunting challenges. Plus, no one throws an actual beanball at their heads. As above, some failure is expected. Repeated failure is not. You are not Ted Williams. You are part of the team that markets what Ted Williams can do that brings people to the ballpark, buying souvenirs and season tickets. And making their kids wear expensive replica jerseys everywhere they go.

Even Erin Everhart, writing about link building – yes, link building — at Search Engine Land, says flat out, “After a year of working in agile marketing, I can’t believe I ever used another process. Efficiency is increased. Morale is improved. Clients are happier.”

When it comes to climbing on board the agile bandwagon — as they used to say in the ad days of yore, “What are you waiting for?”

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