It certainly seems that over the past year agile marketing has taken the marketing world by storm. With more and more interest in this new style, I thought it would help everyone out if I outlined some of the most important agile marketing principles.

We’re all busy people – whether it’s work, family, or even daily errands taking the time to emerge yourself and really study a totally new business philosophy isn’t easy. If you have the time you may not have the energy, and that’s why I’ve found a great post by Scott Brinker, CTO of ion interactive that I want to share. He outlines ten important guiding principles of agile marketing. Trust me when I say this, it’s all killer no filler. So I decided to take the top eight and share them with your today:

1. Remarkable Customer Experiences

The primary objective of agile marketing is creating remarkable customer experiences. Are the expectations of prospects, existing customers and partners being met? – or hopefully exceeded. Is the experience you deliver in the interactions that you deliver online, in person, on the phone, over mobile devices and directly through your product and services what they expected? Today where all prospects and customers are connected through digital networks, being conscious of the overall experience you are presenting is extremely important. According to Brinker, “The whole raison d’etre of agile marketing is to better enable the delivery of remarkable experiences to customers.”

2. Responding to Change

Part of reason why agile marketing has become such a popular subject, is its focus on turning change into a strategic advantage. Agile marketing is founded on the fact that projects, marketing, business, life etc… are dynamic. Agile marketing stresses that it’s the tactics that change not the mission. According to Brinker, agile marketing is “the balanced blend of intended strategy and emergent strategy.”

3. Focus on Teams & Iterations

One of the original founding values of agile development is the belief that individuals and interactions are more important to success than processes and tools. If we take this idea and apply it to agile marketing it has three different interpretations:

  1. Internal marketing operations should be managed in a way that facilitates better interactions between team members, giving them the ability to act and react with increased speed, accuracy, and creativity.
  2. Collaboration between different marketing and business groups should be more open and fluid.
  3. Interaction with individual customers matter – a lot. Today, it’s important to remember that any customer can now be a champion or a holy terror. Processes and technology should enhance, not detract, from individual interactions. Brinker points out that “This is a huge change in the dynamics of business and marketing, and this new value need to be deeply absorbed into the DNA of modern marketing.”

4. It’s all about the Data, baby

Agile marketing stresses the use of data. It’s used to analyze performance, uncover new opportunities and tailor customer experiences. Agile marketing uses data as a means to measure how well campaigns are doing against predefined success metrics. “What’s important to us and how do we know if we’re doing better or worse?” says Brinker. He also points out that while data is important in marketing, it does not mean that marketing is suddenly all “left-brain.” He stresses the fact that “Data exploration inspires creativity through the discovery of interesting customer patterns. Testing gives us the confidence to try more bold and creative ideas, quickly with low risk.”

5. Lots of small Experiments

Traditional marketing often forced companies to place a small number of expensive big bets. This was primarily because “the vehicles for reaching customer were primarily ‘mass media’ in nature and had long lead times and high costs to produce.” However with the rise of digital marketing, marketers are now largely freed from those constraints. Today, marketers can leverage the value of running lots of small-scale, cheap experiments to help them better optimize their tactics. For example, “In 2009, Google ran approximately 12,000 experiments, with only about 10 percent of them leading to business changes.” By having the ability to quickly try lots of ideas, in a small, controlled fashion, marketers can greatly increase the number of “brilliant ideas” they discover and deploy.

6. Customer Collaboration

Agile marketing stresses the importance of working with customers. Because customers wants, industry trends and change so quickly if you fail to be in constant contact with your target audience then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Brinker points out three important ways marketers can collaborate with customers:

  1. Listening – Tuning into the voice of the customer, from both what data and test tell you and by actively listening to what they say through social media channels.
  2. Engaging – Pay attention to, support and amplify your best customers. Remember that they can easily become your best champions, advocates, and influencers.
  3. Including – Bring customers into the loop of product/service development to help shape market offerings higher upstream in the organization.

7. Transparency

Agile emphasizes a culture of transparency. From publically posting the individual tasks that people are working on to their daily progress, creating a transparent culture is important in removing impediments. Having a more transparent culture also helps promote direct cross-team collaboration. However, this is probably the largest cultural challenge for people to overcome but it is the glue that makes agile marketing possible.

8. Establish Feedback loops

Agile marketing isn’t about punching out as many short experiments as you can. It’s about listening to direct and indirect sources of feedback to learn how tests and initiatives are performing and then use rapid iterations to adjust and improve accordingly. In order to be successful here, every marketing project should have some kind of feedback metric. This will help provide a benchmark by which a team can evaluate the success of their improvements. The tighter these feedback loops are, the better.

There you have it. Eight important principles that should help you guide your team to become agile marketing experts.

Have your own principles I didn’t mention? Please feel free to share them with me in the comments section below.

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