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Pam Ashby
06 Dec 2019

5 Agile Principles for busy Marketers

Agile Marketing is more important than ever. The age of digital has brought us more and more opportunities to market ourselves and our organisations. It’s all 'essential', quick to put in place, and offers instant publicity and potential for organisational growth. Before you know where you are, costs are building up and you’ve lost sight of how effectively you’re moving towards your goals amidst the complexity of planning and implementation.

Marketing plans are the glue that connects the strategy with the implementation, and the vision with the reality. But, if your team looks as if it’s only just keeping up with the pace, then the ongoing precision and control that an Agile approach offers might just help.

Agile marketing is a state of mind as much as a process. It’s an approach and perspective that persistently draws us back to:
1. Prioritising quality over features and scope
Everything your marketing department releases into the world represents the quality of your brand. It's important to take the time needed to catch the inevitable errors and confirm brand positioning before publication.

Don't forget to retrospectively review performance — not judging, but with a growth mindset that's searching for indicators of how to improve next time.

2. Identifying the value for the business
Just getting publicity isn’t enough in today’s business world. An Agile perspective constantly reminds you to pinpoint the 'minimum viable product'. In other words, find out how to get the most value for the business from the least investment of effort and resources. Pinpoint what 'value' means through constant referral back to the strategy and objectives.
3. Collaborating for best results
Collaboration is at the core of Agile approaches, strengthening stakeholder engagement and business benefits. Involve the right people at the right time, and you'll end up with a deeper understanding of the perspectives of your audience — including internal and external customers. Beware though, there are a couple of pitfalls here:

  • Never confuse an internal stakeholder with a target audience or customer. Some of the most effective marketing ideas need not be 'liked' by an internal audience. Collaboration is your chance to build an understanding of your prospective customers and how they think.

  • It's critical to involve 'the right people' with the most current knowledge relevant to the task. Collaboration should not become a time consuming overhead or result in 'design-by-committee'.
4. Think smaller to see results sooner
Marketing needs to show results — new contacts, more engagement, fresh opportunities to do more business. It's great to 'think big', but not if it leads to delay. The world won't wait for you to put your biggest ideas into action — it's moving on and changing all the time.

An Agile approach encourages us to iterate, to pick off the 'low hanging fruit' first and test new ideas in their most basic form first. It's efficient, builds up invaluable feedback — and we can add the frills later.

5. Ensuring governance and control
Amidst the flow of creativity, and the pressure of keeping up with deadlines, it’s too easy to lose control. The Agile marketer will deftly balance solid foundation reporting with the ongoing measurement of KPIs. Extensive reports are too often 'filed', but key points on a single page of A4 are great for constantly drawing teams back to the critical issues. All progress towards goals should be celebrated, reflected, and built on. Increment by increment.

'Rome wasn’t built in a day', it was built brick by brick, and building by building. No doubt they occasionally stopped, looked hard at what had been achieved, and discussed how they were doing…
Pam Ashby is a Communication Strategist, Agile Marketing Activist and Writer.
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