According to the 2018 State of Agile Marketing Report by Kapost and AgileSherpas, just over 36 percent of marketers have adopted some form of agile marketing and half of those who haven’t expect to do so within the next year.
For those of you who have committed to making the agile marketing leap, congratulations! This is a huge step toward accelerating the impact of your marketing efforts. For those who haven’t yet, get ready for an exciting time.
Digital marketing has added a constant stream of challenges over the past decade, and keeping up with the latest tools and processes can be challenging. But with agile, the future is bright.
The dream of better attribution, increased accountability, and the end of wasted time or resources on projects without clear ROI is now a reality. The best part is that agile will give you more data to surface to stakeholders in order to prove your effectiveness.
Making the Most of Agile Strategies
It’s a cliche, but it’s true: Change is hard. Many marketing teams run into some trouble while making the switch to agile because it requires a bit of effort and process to make it work. Don’t let that scare you away, though.
As you move toward an agile methodology, you’ll have to adopt some new strategies. Be cautious of some old habits that might get in your way. Here are three ways to avoid common pitfalls that can hamper the effectiveness of agile:
1. Avoid making “large bets.”
When we get excited about a new idea, it’s natural to want to go all in right away. But with agile, it can be overwhelming. Instead, break down implementation into smaller tasks that can be rolled out quickly as you work toward broader and holistic adoption.
The traditional waterfall approach in marketing is all about working serially toward a big launch with the hope of yielding big results. Although you can apply agile marketing to achieve a plan like this, it’s better to focus on small wins that can be launched quickly and can provide room for future iteration.
Not only are big leaps unnecessary, but they can also be harmful if your team isn’t set up to benefit from the process. If most of your team members pursue individual goals and projects, agile may not be a useful strategy to adopt, or it may work in only certain areas.
But if you have multiple people working toward a single measurable goal, agile is likely a great way to increase your marketing impact. If you’re unsure, talk to some of your trusted team members and evaluate accordingly. If you decide to pursue agile, embrace these smaller phases and keep checking in as you go.
2. Use more than “intuition” to guide you.
Old school marketing is all about running and evaluating campaigns on the basis of instincts. Agile marketing, on the other hand, should be validated by data, not opinions. This is one reason your team must be working toward measurable goals.
Teams that are truly agile aren’t just checking in with a handful of significant data points. Instead, data is their fuel that dictates strategy. Agile teams use data to measure the success of every experiment, they focus almost exclusively on measurable work, and they base all decision-making on what those numbers show.
3. Don’t get hung up on a specific plan.
Agile marketing is most successful when you and your team can be flexible. According to the State of Agile Marketing, changing gears quickly and effectively is the top most commonly reported benefit of agile marketing, with 54.8 percent of surveyed marketers citing it.
Flexibility is both a benefit your team will experience with agile and an attitude that will make this approach work even more effectively for your marketing reach. Plans can and should change as your programs progress. Be open to that change, even if it means rewriting the tasks or milestones that inform your end result.
Every transition brings its own set of challenges, but the benefits of agile digital marketing are far-reaching and worth the investment.
Sarah Fruy is the director of online marketing at Pantheon, one of Advomatic’s partners. This article was originally published on Pantheon’s blog.