How to Start Using Agile Principles in Marketing

Agile Marketing Principles
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Back in 2001, a team of software developers gathered to discuss how they could streamline work processes. The result of this meeting was the Agile Manifesto. This document includes 12 principles for effective project management, discouraging the role of excessive meetings and documentation.

Today, Agile is everywhere.

While some consider it a buzzword, Agile is a set of actual principles for effective project creation. It’s not about a ready-made management method. Agive is a collection of flexible practices that form a positive work approach.

Agile is about speed, ease, and results. More than 70% of organizations have incorporated it. Their projects are 28% more successful with Agile than with traditional methods.

You can join them and start using Agile principles in marketing. How?

In this post, we will show you the answer.

Four Core Values of Agile Adherers

To implement Agile within marketing processes, you need to know and endorse its premised values.

There are four:

1) Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools

“One who wants to do something will find a way; One who doesn’t will find an excuse.”

If, for example, you need to create a landing page, but your layout designer doesn’t know PHP, he’ll build it on free resources with templates anyway.

Later, he’ll learn PHP and redesign your landing page. But meanwhile, you have a working product, ready to use, test, improve, and get feedback on from customers.

That’s what Agile is about: You and your team do first to analyze and improve afterwards.

2) Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation

Let’s imagine the situation:

You start developing an application for selling goods. Developers do their job. The marketing department works on a user manual and writes the answers to FAQs.

And suddenly, it turns out that the features they described in the FAQ will be implemented in a month only. The result? Users complain about too many bugs in your app.

Wouldn’t it be better to finish the application and eliminate all the bugs first? Then, you’d collect the feedback to find out what questions users most often ask and write the short and clear FAQ page based on that.

3) Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

This one is about helping a client rather than just doing a job described in your contract.

If you can advise on usability though there’s only SEO in your agreement, give that advice.

A customer will get help and be happy, a website conversion will grow, and you’ll score more points with your karma.

4) Responding to Change Over Following a Plan

Say you’ve come up with a marketing plan for two months, deciding to post and promote personal essays about your product on Facebook. But suddenly, Facebook changes the rules, forbidding any advertising within your niche.

So, Agile is about responding to such circumstances quickly, changing a course to PPC ads or Instagram. This is a much better approach, rather than following the root plan or rolling back the whole campaign.

How Agile Works in Marketing

Once embedded only in the software development environment, Agile has migrated to other niches at railway speed. Marketing is no exception.

Today, we have such a concept as Agile Marketing, with its own Manifesto promoting the same principles of flexibility and mobility. 

Agile Marketing is about learning, continuous attention to fundamentals, quick responses to changes, and delivery of marketing programs frequently (with a preference to shorter timescales).

Here are the ten principles of Agile Marketing for you to follow:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems.
  2. We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to respond to change quickly is a source of competitive advantage.
  3. Our goal is to deliver marketing programs frequently — from a couple of weeks to a couple of months — with a preference for the shorter timescale.
  4. Great marketing requires close alignment with business people, sales, and development.
  5. Build marketing programs around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.
  6. Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress.
  7. Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline.
  8. Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice.
  9. Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity is essential.

Agile’s main advantage is that it’s a flexible philosophy you can apply to everything, using only the principles you need.

For example, you can give up the idea of giving the team more freedom if you are limited to a strict brand book,. Just make it easy to communicate, automate, and simplify processes.

How to Start Applying Agile Principles

One word: Gradually.

The bigger your business, the longer it will take to apply Agile principles to it. But if you feel that this approach is what you need, and if you are not afraid of transition, start small:

  • Give more freedom to your team. Don’t control their every step, and don’t tell them how to complete a task. Let them decide on the workflow. Use agile management software to watch the process, but explain that the whole team is responsible for the results.
  • Be open to changes at any stage. Don’t stick to the signed contract if the client wants something new: Sign an additional agreement and tell them how much it will cost. Explain to the team that it is now essential for you to get good results rather than blindly following the original brief.
  • Say no to excessive documentation. Prepare exactly as many documents as you need to complete the task. Allow free and informal communication within the team, so they can resolve working issues quickly.
  • Simplify workflows. Implement automation software to manage project teams, organize marketing content on social media, etc. if you have not already done so. Try to free specialists from work routine as much as possible, so that they can better focus on the project.
  • Motivate your team to be results-oriented. Create a comfortable working environment so the team will want to make everything as effective and efficient as possible.
  • Involve your clients in the work. Explain to them that high-quality products require input from the business and people who work there. Choose the form of interaction that will be the most comfortable for both the customer and your employees to communicate conveniently.

Instead of Conclusion

Agile is not a dogma. It is not a ready-made technique. Rather, it is a culture and philosophy of management with its principles and values.

Agile is about flexibility. You can use only those principles that best suit your business. And you can combine them with other management methods.

Agile is about efficiency. It helps you release current products, quickly react to changes, and reduce costs.

Nevertheless, Agile principles are not for everyone. So, if you want to implement them in your own marketing processes, start small.


Feature Image Credit: CC 0; Public Domain. Feature image sourced from pixabay.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

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Lesley Vos

Content Strategist and Blog Writer at Bid4Papers
Lesley Vos is a Content Strategist and Blog Writer at Bid4Papers. She has been also contributing to many top blogs on business and digital marketing for 7 years. You can see her work on Moz, Huff Post, CoSchedule, and more. Feel free to follow @LesleyVos on Twitter.

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