Being able to call your business an “Agile” company is an attractive prospect for all industry leaders. The proof’s in the name, after all: Perpetually dynamic and focused on responding promptly to the changes around it, this forward-thinking methodology is unparalleled when it comes to adapting to challenging new scenarios and keeping collaboration and interaction as the prime focus over complex tools and unmoving plans.
But there’s a whole lot more to Agile marketing than just an attractive slogan.
In recent years, we’ve been hearing the praises of Agile marketing and Agile management models all across the industry, and its wider impact on the world of forward-thinking marketing is only getting bigger.
According to 2020 figures, in fact, adoption or prospective adoption of the methodology increased to a whopping 42%, a notable jump compared to the 32% adoption rate registered only a year prior.
It’s now becoming increasingly clear that in 2021, adopting the Agile marketing model is your secret weapon to successful and sustainable growth, no matter your industry or offering.
Whether you’ve been thinking about incorporating the best practices of Agile marketing into your current marketing model or looking to completely overhaul the traditional marketing methodology that’s been failing you and your team, we want to present you with all the information you will need to revolutionize your process, train your team, and adopt an efficient method destined for success.
Agile marketing: Key figures for 2020
According to the 3rd Annual State of Agile Marketing Report, the leading source for all data and trends regarding the state of Agile marketing, these are the key figures describing the steady ascent of the methodology in 2020, a clear precursor of what to expect this year:
- Agile marketing has been adopted by 41% of marketers
- A further 42% of companies surveyed plan on fully adopting Agile in 2021
- 74% of marketers describe themselves as satisfied with Agile, compared to a mere 34% of ad-hoc marketers and 58% of traditional marketers
- 58% of marketers report adopting Agile marketing as a way to improve productivity
- 54% of the surveyed teams report adopting Agile as a means to manage rapidly shifting priorities in the workflow
- 82% of companies using Agile report that their marketing team is better able to manage fast-paced work
- 86% of Agile adopters report their marketing operations being perfectly aligned with the company’s overall plan and vision
- 89% of companies agree that their Agile marketing team is able to take advantage of emerging opportunities and promptly adapt to match the latest developments
- Out of all the most popular Agile mechanisms, the majority of marketers surveyed (47%) report adopting a hybrid method, pulling in specific Agile methodologies to suit their needs and company culture
Agile marketing: Origins and definition
Agile marketing takes inspiration from Agile software development and its core values, based on 12 key principles:
- The highest priority is to guarantee customer satisfaction by providing the highest level of service throughout each stage of the development process.
- Changing requirements and changing priorities should be embraced at all times, even late in the development phase.
- Delivering projects on a shorter time scale is preferred for retaining a competitive advantage.
- Constant daily collaboration between all teams involved is essential.
- Focusing on motivating and fully supporting the teams in a growth-minded environment is necessary for sustainably carrying the project through to completion.
- Face-to-face conversation is the preferred medium for team interaction, beating every fancy management tool on the market.
- The only real marker of success is a working product.
- Sustainable development is key, and only processes meant to last and work successfully for a lifetime are considered worth adopting.
- Attention to excellence is nonnegotiable.
- At the same time, simplicity is essential and teams should strive to maximize the amount of work not done.
- When teams are able and encouraged to self-organize, companies can guarantee exceptional and more creative results.
- Teams are encouraged to meet and discuss the state of their work at regular intervals, so they can find new ways to become more effective and productive, adapting to the changing circumstances.
The way these 12 software development principles manifest in Agile marketing is quite straightforward: Agile marketers strive to adopt a more productive, collaborative, transparent, and adaptable process throughout.
In order to achieve these ambitious targets, Agile teams employ a set of mechanisms able to use data analytics to discover new opportunities, find new solutions to arising problems, and implement changes to multiple marketing campaigns at once.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. Teams looking to not only incorporate some Agile methodologies into their process but to also embrace the method entirely need to have the right infrastructure in place first: Plenty of data collected, a great data analysis team ready to jump into action, and analysis tools.
All these puzzle pieces are necessary to implement what makes Agile tick, as they allow marketers to collect and manage data from different systems, automate campaign delivery across channels, and report back into the systems with the feedback from each campaign.
Agile marketing: Benefits and case study statistics
So, what are the benefits associated with Agile marketing, detailing the reasons why adoption rates of Agile methods have been skyrocketing in the past year?
Agile marketers are experts in doing the right work at the exact right time. By analyzing and taking action on the latest income data, Agile teams are able to zero in into what to focus on, what to prioritize, and what to adapt to create more timely campaigns.
According to AgileSherpas statistics, 53% of marketers using Agile admit to being able to prioritize tasks better and improve their productivity when working in an Agile environment.
On top of that, as much as 80% of CMOs cite Agile as being the reason for their teams delivering better products and more relevant offerings to their customers.
Constant communication between teams is essential when following Agile, and hard work is clearly paying off for thousands of teams all across the country.
Better visibility into the status of each project and campaign is often cited as the most frequent benefit of implementing Agile marketing, with 46% of marketers agreeing that transparency and communication have improved.
In addition to that, 36% of teams admit to being able to identify roadblocks quicker, amend mistakes promptly, and remove bottlenecks with ease.
An Agile team is a fast team, leading to more projects being completed, more deadlines being met, and more ideas being developed and shared.
According to the 2020 State of Agile Marketing report, 53% of teams confirm being able to release projects faster, with an additional 51% confirming to be able to switch approaches quickly as feedback reports and new data come in.
- Team satisfaction and happiness
And now for the kicker: An Agile team makes for a happier team, and in turn, a more productive and creative team.
According to AgileSherpas data, a whopping 87% of CMOs have found their teams to become more productive following the adoption of Agile methodology, a symptom of a renewed interest in the work produced and a clear sign that marketers are finding themselves feeling more in control of their creative vision and output.
Forty percent of marketers have reported feeling a morale boost as a result of adopting Agile, leading to as many as 74% of the marketers surveyed feeling like they are completely satisfied with how their teams are managing their work.
In contrast, only 34% of marketers using ad-hoc marketing can say the same!
Agile marketing: Key questions to ask and course of action
Now, if you’re ready to join the hefty percentage of companies looking to start employing Agile marketing in their day-to-day campaign management, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first:
Is the right infrastructure (data tools) already in place?
Do you have a clear goal in mind (e.g., improve productivity, improve visibility and understanding among teams, accelerate campaign creation and delivery) that will be more easily achieved by adopting Agile?
Are you fully fluent in what management frameworks like Scrum and Kanban entail?
If your answer to these questions is a resounding yes, you can move on to the next stage and start implementing an Agile framework into your company’s marketing efforts — and reap the many amazing results to come.
While some teams do struggle with accepting new methodologies, making sure the benefits are clearly explained to marketers and management will help the transition go much smoother, and you can take it slow by trying out the very basics first.
The first course of action should be organizing your team in line with the efficient and money-saving Scrum framework, by including cross-functional team members in the project planning conversation and letting them independently put together a “sprint backlog,” meaning a list of projects to be completed with due dates included.
The cross-functional team will follow the process closely from creation to delivery, organizing meetings every day to not only tackle problems but also to discuss and implement possible changes informed by data analysis or rising trends.
At the end of this sprint cycle, lasting usually around 2 weeks, the team will analyze and report back how the project went, keeping note of what worked, what didn’t, and how to use the retrospective to inform the next campaign or project.
Trying this management framework for one single project is going to give both you and your team an informed perspective on Agile workflow, which you can choose to replicate for every single project going forward, major or minor.
With so many companies choosing to adopt a smarter way of working in the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, it’s clear that the dynamic and collaborative nature of Agile marketing can make planning for the unpredictable feel like a breeze.
The question is, are you ready to take the leap?