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The increasingly real-time nature of marketing is compressing timelines from planning to creative to measurement, pushing marketers to adopt new processes and technologies to manage these faster workflows, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “Marketing Agility: Effective Approaches to Processes, Technology, People and Partnerships for Brands and Agencies” (eMarketer PRO customers only).
“Agile” marketing is one approach that is factoring more prominently into the process at brands and agencies. It is an iterative approach to planning and executing marketing activities derived from the frequently used Agile software development methodology.
Instead of working in long, rigid planning cycles that may span months or even years, Agile marketing involves short planning and execution cycles—typically a few weeks—that are designed to give marketing teams more visibility and flexibility in prioritizing tasks and meeting goals.
Project management software provider Wrike surveyed US marketers about their adoption of Agile marketing approaches in February 2016 and found most respondents used at least some of these methods. Slightly more than half characterized their adoption as “medium,” with an embrace of some Agile methods, while roughly one in five said they had “high” adoption of an Agile approach.
Some marketers are already using these methods in their practices. Software company Workfront provides project management tools for marketers that are built around applying the Agile methodology to the practice of marketing. Shawn Dickerson, director of solutions marketing at Workfront, observed that a lot of existing marketing technology, such as marketing automation and web experience management software, focuses on the external relationships marketers have with their audience. “Internally, within marketing organizations, how the work actually gets done tends to still be this convoluted world of email threads and spreadsheets,” he said.
Another point of transition is moving from long planning cycles to more of a test-and-learn environment. Matt Huser, managing director of digital agency nFusion, said that in his experience working with large brands, “you would work four months on a campaign, let it work for a year, then take a look at it after that year and then create a new brief for the next year’s campaign. ”
While some of those brands were successful with that approach at the time, Huser typically takes a more iterative approach with his clients today. “Let’s create a couple of different hypotheses and test them using real consumer data, and then scale based on what we learned from those tests, ”he said. “The quicker you can get into market and start learning, the better off you will be.”
An organization’s culture matters, and that includes the approach it takes to existing and future employees.
Consider the strategies marketers deem crucial when responding to disruptive changes across the business landscape. In an August 2015 survey of US marketers by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), six in 10 respondents said evolving the culture of their organization would be “very important” in the next three years. More than half said they would hire new talent and develop new roles, while 48% indicated they would reorganize marketing within the broader business.
eMarketer PRO customers can view the full report here.
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