I’ve been mulling Jacob Bronowski’s quote:
“The world can only be grasped by action, not contemplation.”
So often the perceived advantages of additional thought, research and planning can get in the way of making things happen. Achieving a productive balance between strategic thinking and activity – making something happen – is one of the benefits of an Agile approach to marketing.
Agile Marketing is gaining traction, as organisations strive to demonstrate results whilst feeling buried within ever-increasing workload. Technology is advancing fast and we have more and more opportunities to publicise our organisations.
Each one offers apparent value, and looks relatively quick to put in place; but add them all together and they risk overwhelming available resources, and creating a muddle of activity. Before you know where you are, costs are building up and there’s no evidence of progress to organisational goals.
Marketing plans are the glue that connects the strategy with the implementation, and the vision with the reality. Agile marketing offers the route map to balance a valuable level of planning with the action and innovation needed to get the right results.
Here are five ways that Agile helps today’s marketing departments:
- Prioritise quality more than scope
Everything your marketing department releases into the world represents the quality of your brand. It’s important to make the time needed to catch the inevitable errors and protect brand positioning. Finding ‘mistakes’ feeds valuable thinking for ways to improve next time.
- Identify the value needed now
Just getting publicity isn’t enough in today’s business world. Agile offers the concept of ‘just enough’. In other words, what is the least needed to get the value the business needs – right now.
- Collaborate to get the right results
Reaching out to the wider world and involving the right people at the right time, creates a deeper understanding of the perspectives of your audience – both internal and external customers. This can help to resolve apparent conflicts between what the organisation expects, and what the target audience appears to need.
Some of the most effective marketing ideas may not be ‘liked’ at first by an internal audience. Collaboration builds a shared understanding of how prospective customers think.
It’s an opportunity to involve ‘the right people’ with the most current and first-hand experience that’s relevant to the task. Collaboration need not be a time consuming overhead or result in ‘design-by-committee’.
- Think smaller to see results sooner
It’s great to ‘think big’, but today’s world doesn’t stand still while people put their biggest ideas into action – it’s moving on and changing all the time. Wait too long, and what was a strong idea may no longer be viable.
Marketing needs to show results – new contacts, more engagement, fresh opportunities to do more business. Agile thinking encourages an iterative approach, getting ‘something’ out there as soon as it can be done in a quality way, and testing new ideas in their most basic form first. It’s efficient, builds up invaluable feedback – and provides a solid foundation on which improvements and enhancements can be built.
- Keep a sense of order and control
Amidst the flow of creativity, and the pressure of keeping up with deadlines, it’s too easy to lose control. We need to balance action with the ongoing measurement of performance. Extensive reports are too often ‘filed’, but key points on a single page of A4, and online collaboration tools, 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 contemplated how they were doing. But I suspect they got back to work pretty quickly…
by Pam Ashby