Agile marketing: definition, benefits and how to use it

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Technology continues transforming the way how marketing teams function. It enables them to respond to customer demands more accurately and with better data-driven insights. Learning to apply Agile processes to marketing can help you execute campaigns with speed and precision. In this article, we define Agile marketing, list its benefits with examples, explore how it differs from traditional marketing and explain how to implement it.

What is Agile marketing?

Agile marketing is a tactical approach in marketing that allows teams to concentrate on high-value projects and effectively measure the impact of those projects. Marketing teams that implement Agile processes usually work in short cycles and focus on continuously improving their results over time. Those short but intense work cycles, known as sprints, allow marketers to fully concentrate on resolving marketing issues collaboratively.

Marketers who specialise in Agile methods have a set of values they implement in their work. These values allow them to quickly respond to changes in plans and use multiple small experiments to test out better approaches or techniques. They also facilitate focusing on individuals and interactions rather than large audiences.

Related: Agile project planning (with characteristics and benefits)

Benefits of Agile marketing

The Agile methodology often allows marketers to work in a less stressful environment that embraces failure as an opportunity to grow. Here are some benefits of this approach to marketing:

Flexibility and adaptability

Marketing teams that use Agile processes are often more flexible. They can also adapt to new circumstances in less time. To make the best use of this advantage, they usually concentrate on gathering data-based insights. Analysing them makes it possible to quickly implement changes and even experiment with new approaches because they know the next sprint is likely to provide them with updated market feedback.

Related: What are adaptability skills and how can they benefit you?

Better cross-functional collaboration

A traditional approach to marketing assumes that each member of the team has a specific role to which they stick. The Agile method allows for all members to participate in any projects, collaborating with others freely. This cross-functional approach may produce more innovative ideas and makes staff more engaged in projects. To facilitate this, team leaders implement various digital communication tools and organise open meetings that all members of the organisation can attend if they're interested in a project.

Related: A guide to the different types of teams you find at work

More project transparency

Agile allows for more transparency in marketing. Thanks to this advantage, stakeholders can gain a better understanding of the marketing team's efforts, results and plans. Over time, transparency can lead to making better-informed decisions that deliver value to both customers and brands. There are various tools that marketers use to make their Agile projects transparent. For example, they can use Scrum boards, which demonstrate what the team is working on and make project plans easily accessible for anyone in the organisation.

Related: What are Scrum values and why do companies use them?

Customer-centric approach

Agile allows marketers to build campaigns and strategies that consider customers' needs and expectations. In this marketing approach, customer feedback drives any change that marketing teams discuss and implement during sprints. Gathering this information then contributes to the entire organisation's processes, as using feedback to inspire growth is one of the values of Agile.

Related: Why it's important to know your customers and how to do it

Cost-efficient

The primary purpose of Agile methodology in marketing is to help businesses focus on the most effective strategies and approaches. Because marketers continuously evaluate their results, often in real-time, they rarely waste time and resources on campaigns that aren't suitable for their target audience. This allows them to save a lot of money, which is why Agile often requires a smaller long-term investment from organisations.

Related: Your guide to controlling cost in project management

Difference between Agile and traditional marketing

Although Agile and traditional marketing teams can work towards similar goals, the way in which they accomplish them differs. Here are some differences between these two approaches:

  • Campaign focus: Traditional marketing tends to focus on meeting business-centric goals that marketers set using key performance indicators (KPI) like budgets and schedules. The Agile approach serves to help teams set customer-centric goals, like better engagement or online following growth.

  • Roadmap creation: Annual plans and long-term commitment are typical for traditional marketing, which requires teams to adhere to long-term, fixed schedules. Agile provides marketers with more flexibility and facilitates change by planning activities every month or bi-weekly.

  • Roles and responsibilities: Traditional marketing concentrates on highly specific roles, like PR or advertising, and requires that these teams work independently. Marketing that follows Agile principles makes it possible for these teams to collaborate, since they're trying to accomplish the same goal, which is often customer satisfaction.

Related: A guide to traditional marketing vs. digital marketing

How to use Agile processes in marketing

If you're new to Agile, it's useful to understand that implementing this approach may take some time. Although time-consuming, it can be a highly rewarding step to improving your team's productivity while making marketing campaigns more cost-efficient. Here's how you can use Agile processes in marketing:

1. Create an Agile team

Before you start implementing Agile processes within the organisation's marketing department, it's necessary to create a team that can help you with that. This usually involves adjusting the team's structure to support the most important values of Agile, like collaboration and regular project changes. In Agile, teams usually have a flat structure, with fewer levels between leadership and regular employees. This allows for better communication and makes each person realise that their failure or success ultimately becomes the entire team's result.

Related: Agile vs. lean methodologies (definitions and differences)

2. Implement Agile tools and processes

Agile methodology provides you with a variety of tools and processes, which you can implement to facilitate change and encourage cross-functional collaboration. Some common tools in Agile include:

Sprints

A sprint is a short period during which a team can work to complete specific tasks. In Agile methodology for marketing, each sprint usually lasts between one and two weeks. Each sprint begins with a spring meeting, during which the team discusses tasks, changes, customer feedback and project adjustments. After a leader determines which sprint length is better for their team, it's useful to stick to one length, as it allows them to establish a predictable rhythm.

Related: Sprint review vs. retrospective (with differences and goals)

Stand-up meetings

Stand-ups are daily meetings in which marketers participate to share or hear about any progress in the campaign. These meetings improve communication and collaboration because they allow everyone to stay up-to-date. Because stand-ups take place daily, they're usually shorter than standard meetings, lasting around 15 minutes.

Related: What are stand-up meetings? (And how to run one)

Tracking boards

Agile is a data-driven approach, which requires that marketers regularly analyse their results and implement customer feedback. Tracking campaign progress or topics that the team discusses during sprint planning meetings is possible thanks to tracking boards. Depending on other tools that the team uses, these come in traditional and digital forms, often as physical pieces of paper or specialised software applications.

3. Create a backlog of hypotheses

To know what experiments you want to conduct throughout the duration of the campaign, it's helpful to create a backlog with all the hypotheses you want your team to test. To find inspiration for them, consider analysing any past campaigns or strategies you developed for the company. It's also useful to analyse any data you have about your ideal audience to build hypotheses on the audience's needs, challenges and expectations.

4. Start testing and repeat the cycle

Once you have your team, know what tools to use and have a backlog of ideas, it's usually time to start testing. As soon as your first experiment launches, start monitoring and gathering data about its performance. Making the performance board accessible to all members of the team can improve collaboration. After each sprint, you can gather the team to determine what methods worked and what you want to change. Remember that the goal is to move forward and continue improving your processes. It's sometimes necessary to repeat the cycle several times before you start noticing valuable progress.

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