TPG understands the discussion here and see’s its relevance, but wishes to point out that most social media endeavors are driven by first understanding their client/customers/consumers needs. Does Agile Marketing or Social Media engagement work with connecting effectively with their customer base. Once we answer that question then we delve into understanding how we use that model to develop strategies aht benefit and drive “Activation” which is the critical element of any programs developed. Great examples though of highly effective agile marketing techniques.
Agility In Action:
How Four Brands Are Using Agile Marketing
CMO EXCLUSIVES | May 20, 2013
Talk about agile marketing often references social media. Indeed, Twitter, Facebook, and other social channels are pushing marketers to react in real time to events and conversations among their customers. But rapid response isn’t the only benefit, say CMOs who are delving into the approach.
- Agile marketing is a big change from the traditional marketing approach to a product launch.
- Improving the agility of the marketing team doesn’t always mean using formal agile practices.
- One common approach to agile marketing has been to launch it within one group.
Agile management methods, they say, provide a framework for making better decisions and improving overall productivity.
“One focus of agility is understanding the relative value of the initiatives you want to work on and prioritizing them,” said Barre Hardy, senior director with marketing consultancy CMG Partners, in an interview with CMO.com. “A lot of companies are not great at doing that today.”
But there’s potential for big improvements to how CMOs manage marketing initiatives, if the results from software development, where the methodology originated, are any guide. A survey by VersionOne of IT organizations that use agile methods found 90 percent of respondents improved their ability to manage changing priorities, 85 percent increased productivity, and 84 percent improved project visibility as well as team morale. (VersionOne sells tools used for agile software development.)
CMO.com talked to marketers at four companies in different industries about their paths to greater agility. Here’s what they said.
What the company does: The startup offers an app for finding rides to and from events, such as concerts. People offering or seeking rides enter information about the event they’re going to and other relevant details. Carsurfing matches them and helps them make arrangements.
Integration with Facebook, so that people can see which events their friends are attending and using the Carsurfing platform to coordinate transportation, is a key feature.
Why agile marketing is important: Agile marketing is part of the product development process, said Ben Watson, CMO with marketing software vendor WhatsNexx, who is advising Carsurfing and several other startups. (Watson has also served as vice president of marketing at HootSuite and as principal customer experience strategist with the Adobe digital marketing team.)
“We’re combining marketing, technology, and the creative process into one set of iterations,” Watson told CMO.com. “We’re building the look and feel of the Web site, the customer journey, [and] our knowledge of persona into the product design and content at the same time.”
How the company does agile: Last year, as developers were importing events listed on Facebook into the Carsurfing platform, they noticed a spike in connections related to Burning Man, an annual art festival in Nevada.
“We dropped everything and focused on getting people connected on Facebook so they could find their way to Burning Man,” Watson said. They built a dedicated landing page for Facebook users going to the event. “In a couple of weeks, we helped to arrange 800 rides on a platform that was barely alpha.” Carsurfing was able to validate its technology, its ideas about how consumers would use it, and the user interface at the same time.
The takeaway: Agile marketing is a big change from the traditional marketing approach to a product launch. There’s no “big unveil” after months of development, Watson said.
But by incorporating feedback during the development process, a product is more likely to meet customer expectations, and the marketing is more likely to hit its mark. Thanks to the Internet, “you can put something in the market and know fairly instantaneously whether it’s working or not,” CMG Partners’ Hardy said, “and you can test concepts before you go out and spend big dollars on advertising.”
What the company does: The division of Teradata (formerly Aprimo) sells software to support marketing, including operations management, campaign management, and analytics tools.
Why agile marketing is important: Like many marketers, CMO Lisa Arthur views agile marketing as synonymous with getting faster and more responsive. She is streamlining processes so her team can respond more quickly to business and customer needs, including tactical activities such as issuing press releases or managing an event.
How the company does agile: “We’re in the early phase of adoption because of organizational changes we’re still driving,” Arthur told CMO.com. One area she has emphasized is to improve communication during a project. Another is to use data more effectively to quickly develop and execute “microcampaigns” and interact with customers.
For example, “we know from our data that third-party reports can be some of the best information to produce a follow-on conversation,” she said. Earlier this year, when Teradata Applications secured a leading place in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, an annual ranking of IT vendors and competitors within various market niches, Arthur wanted to be first with the announcement. “We had a benchmark that we had been slow,” she said.
Getting ahead of the competition required coordination with Gartner, which produces the research, as well as internal collaboration to create a landing page for the report, write the announcement email, identify who should receive it, and make sure every element was approved.
Arthur and her team automated the workflow and approval process. But they also made sure to define who within Teradata Applications and at Gartner had to be involved and when. “We improved communication within the expanded ecosystem,” she said.
The takeaway: Improving the agility of the marketing team doesn’t always mean using formal agile practices, Hardy said. When CMG Partners interviewed several dozen marketers recently, it found few companies were using agile management methods. But they did say they were taking steps to be more customer-centric, to become more efficient, and to use data more effectively in order to execute projects faster.
“Shortening time to insight has been really critical,” Arthur said. “How quickly can you synthesize data and take action on it?”
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