A pretty lofty way to start an article, I know. I have a little secret I want to share that will help make you and your team look like all-stars. What separates the best marketing teams from the pack? It’s their cadence or rhythm of operation. How do they do it? It’s not just blood, sweat and tears it’s also shifting the way in which they operate.

Traditional Marketing is Dying

It no surprise that for most industries traditional marketing is struggling dying. If you haven’t realized this yet, well my friend you’re in for a rude awaking. The traditional long planning cycles just don’t work in today’s fast-pace business environment. Planning out a six or twelve month marketing calendar is putting an organization at a major disadvantage. Do you know what the stock market will be doing six months from now? I didn’t think so. So, why would you plan out your marketing calendar so far in advance? Traditional marketers are being hurt by this practice time and time again. By the time a message or program is planned and delivered to market, odds are it’s out of date and out of touch with an organization’s target audience. It hurts. The department struggles with getting the engagement they want, and the planners of the campaign look silly and out of touch with their customers – it’s not a good situation to find oneself in.

Agile is the key to Your Boss’ Heart

How do you avoid the ugly situation described above? According to a post by Will Price, “Rather than focus creative and marketing dollars on abstract messages designed to persist in resonance across month, marketers need to redesign their organizations and systems to operate daily.” What Price is talking about is agile marketing. Much like agile software development, part of the focus of agile marketing is connecting marketers to their customers. By having shorter planning periods, it helps marketers deliver campaigns and messages that resonate much better with their target audience. Additionally, agile marketing also helps bring those messages to market much faster. So how’s it done? According to Price, marketers need to focus on four key best practices:

Listen, Program, Update, Measure

  • Listening – What is your customer talking about today? What are the subjects that they find engaging? What concerns, motivates and interests them?
  • Programming – Updating creative on a daily basis. It’s important that programming choices move beyond what Price calls artifacts (videos, images, taglines) and focuses on content that is “functionally representative of today’s web experience.”
  • Update – You know the drill, update early and often to all marketing creating that’s in-market.
  • Measurement – All this work is no good if you’re not measure it now, is it? Ya, I did just use a double negative. I hope the world doesn’t come to an end. The point here is that it’s important to know if all the work you’re doing is having an effect. If it is, well what is the effect? Positive? Negative? Are there things you are doing that can be done better? The only way to know is by measuring.

Agile marketing also helps the department stay flexible. By constantly keeping planning cycles short, teams are in better shape to adjust messaging to changes in the product or jump on a new popular trend.

What’s the moral of the lesson here? Want your team to look good? The answer is simple: start shifting your team to a more agile management structure. Not only will your customers thank you, but also your boss will to.

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