Agile Marketing Campaigns: The Future of Client Services

By | November 9, 2012
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The Lean StartupIn the last 12 months, there’s been a lot of talk around agile marketing, mostly stemming from what is happening in the software development world.

As Ellie Mirman (@ellieeille) explained in a recent HubSpot blog post, agile “is all about iterative shortened product releases and scientific experimentation.” The general premise is that companies run sprints, or short programs, in which they quickly push out new products or ideas, test them and then move on to the next thing.

Instead of building 12-month strategies, and then waiting a year to see how everything goes, agile companies look at activities in 2-week or one-month periods, for example. This way, they can quickly see what is working and adjust strategy.

It’s the idea that if you’re going to fail, you want to do so fast (before too many resources have been thrown into a project) and then learn from the experience.

I believe agile principles are going to greatly influence the future of how marketing agencies position, plan and execute client services. For instance, if each marketing project (or epic as they are known in the software world) is tied to measurable goals, a set timeframe and an owner, then performance can be tracked incrementally, on a regular basis. This enables incredibly fluid campaigns tied to metrics and accountability.

The Lean Startup

If you’re interested in learning more about how the agile approach relates to any type of business, then I strongly recommend Eric Ries’ (@ericries) The Lean Startup. The book tells the story of Ries’ own company, but also touches on trends in manufacturing and software development. Its lessons can transcend into marketing.

Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the book, which can be applied to marketing strategy and services:

  • “Lean thinking defines value as providing benefit to the customer; anything else is just waste.”
  • "Success is not delivering a feature; success is learning how to solve the customer's problem."
  • “What differentiates the success stories from the failures is that the successful entrepreneurs had the foresight, the ability, and the tools to discover which parts of their plans were working brilliantly and which were misguided, and adapt their strategies accordingly.”
  • “A solid process lays the foundation for a healthy culture, one where ideas are evaluated by merit and not by job title.”
  • “The three As of metrics: actionable, accessible and auditable.”
  • “Rules: 1) Be tolerant of all mistakes the first time. 2) Never allow the same mistake to be made twice.”
  • “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."
  • “A true experiment follows the scientific method. It begins with a clear hypothesis that makes predictions about what is supposed to happen. It then tests those predictions empirically.”
  • “As in any ​lean​ transformation, existing systems and tools often need to be reinvented to support working in smaller batches.”

Have You Gone Agile?

Any agile marketers out there? Share your experiences and stories in the comments.

Related Resource

In session 3 of The Client Services Series, The GamePlan: How to Connect Agency Services to Audiences and Metrics that Matter, I offer some tips for integrating agile into marketing strategies. Don’t worry if you missed the live session; get it on-demand today.

Image Credit: adrielhampton