Agile marketing part three: Six core values of agile marketing. How well do you score?


Marketers are dealing with more data and signals derived from more systems, sources, and consumer interactions than ever before. The lazy days of long term planning are giving way to an era of agility. That’s the subject of a new report from Kenshoo called “The Kenshoo Guide to Agile Marketing.”

According to the authors, “For agile marketing organizations, historical and current channel performance and the state of present campaigns are only small pieces of the puzzle. These organizations focus on the bigger picture and obsess about what’s possible in the future.”

Agile teams are integrated and incentives are aligned to over-arching business objectives, where the barometer of success are such measures as revenue, profit, and customer lifetime value.

“Agile marketers leverage advanced algorithms that constantly evaluate (and re-evaluate) their campaigns, making automatic adjustments and optimizations that will benefit the portfolio.” say the authors. And they note that for agile marketers, integrated data and audience insights are not enough.

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Instead, the ability to act intelligently on this data across channels to improve business outcomes is most highly prized.

The report notes; “Through machine-learning technology, these organizations can run forecasts and scenario plans, apply the insights gleaned to make informed predictions about their investments and their audiences, and take immediate action.”

Agile organizations also use technology to automate routine tasks and apply algorithmic decisioning. This delivers additional intelligence allowing marketers to focus on making digital marketing the most strategic capability in their organization.

The Kenshoo guide also draws on the expertise of Jim Ewel, CEO of InDemand Interpreting and author of the Writing in the Summer 2014 edition of Pragmatic Marketer, Ewel summarizes the current marketing conundrum:

“Marketing has changed more in the last five to seven years than at any other time during my career. The pace of change has quickened, there is more direct pressure for marketing to demonstrate its contribution to the bottom line, many more channels of communication are available to reach increasingly fragmented audiences, and all of this must be done with scarce and expensive talent and resources.” Link

He also identifies six core values of agile marketing, which are reproduced and explored in the guide;

  • Responding to change over following a plan. It’s not that agile marketers don’t do any planning; they do. It’s just that they put a premium on adapting and responding to the marketplace through constant adjustments to their plans and priorities on a weekly or biweekly basis.
  • Rapid iterations over big-bang campaigns. Few marketing campaigns can get it exactly right the first time, and there is also value in speed to market. Agile marketing recognizes this and values an iterative approach.
  • Testing and data over opinions. If you’re iterating, how do you know something is working or not working? Data makes the difference.
  • Individuals and interactions over one-size-fits-all. Agile marketers realize that there isn’t just a market for a product, but many individuals who make individual buying decisions. Buyers make their decisions as the result of conversations, not traditional one-way advertising.
  • Collaboration over silos and hierarchy. While its tempting to organize marketing departments around skill sets: PR, advertising, and social media, to the buyer, the product or the company is the product or the company, regardless of the medium used for communication.
  • Agile marketing is a mindset. Marketers who practice agile marketing put the customer experience at the center of everything they do. They focus on solving buyer problems and the buyer’s journey, not on selling and the sales cycle.

 Ewel argues that marketers need to plan for change and suggests the first thing they need to do is acknowledge the problem. Change is constant and you probably have less control than you imagine, he says.

And that is why, as the authors of the Kenshoo guide acknowledge, marketers need to be committed to new ways of working.  “Digital marketing is dynamic,” they write. “It requires constant calibration and a proactive mindset.”

As Kenshoo observes at the conclusion of the Kenshoo Guide to Agile Marketing, “It’s not easy being a marketer in today’s digital world… Each passing year brings tectonic shifts in the ways consumers consume and the ways marketers market. It can be a full-time job just staying on top of the trends, much less acting on them in an agile manner.”

About the Authors

Lauren Evans is the Regional Marketing Partner, APJ, Kenshoo. Andrew Birmingham is the director of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit.

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Kenshoo is a corporate member of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit. Members contribute their expertise and insights to Which-50 for the benefit of our senior executive audience. Membership fees apply

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