Agile Marketing Replacing Quarterly Planning

Quarterly plans that are locked in will become less popular in 2015 and beyond. Customers often don’t act in the neat, predictable ways that we assume they will.  Consumer journeys are fragmented and constantly evolving, so we must  also evolve our marketing approach.

A move to agile marketing

Agile marketing means creating plans that can change using rapid iterations resulting from tests and data insights, rather than opinions and conventions.  We don’t look to what has been done before or what the highest paid person thinks. We collaborate and focus on individuals and interactions rather than a wide target market and big bang campaigns.

This process allows for short marketing experiments, frequent feedback, and the ability to react to changing market conditions.

Social media is a natural fit 

The very premise of agile marketing supports the foundational aspects of social media. Businesses now have the tools available to create responsive marketing messages within hours, or even minutes.

One shining example of this is Oreo’s impromptu tweet during the Super Bowl blackout. The tweet read: “You can still dunk in the dark.” This was retweeted more than 15,000 times within 14 hours. In this case, Oreo added to its existing marketing plan by creating an impromptu content strategy that immediately became viral.

In Australia, we have fewer examples of this but we expect it to become  more popular in the coming year. It requires digital teams to be  more integrated and autonomous.

Be smart and don’t jump too quickly

Agile marketing also brings a risk. A smarter approach to social media is needed for many brands that have jumped on bandwagons, only to create a Facebook page without a real purpose, process or guidelines. Common failures include: acting too soon, or too late; posting information that is not consistent with brand values; not fully understanding ethical and legal implications; using inappropriate activity and events to try to sell goods and services.

For agile marketing to work, training and trust in employees to respond appropriately to events and activities will be critical. Although not easy, we believe the rewards are worth it and it is a trend that won’t go away.

Recommended Actions

1.Monitor your brand and customers online. Use social listening tools and search behaviour.

2.Monitor important changes in competitors’ on-site and off-site activities as well as content to identify gaps and new opportunities.

3.Monitor and deep-dive into real-time web analytics for popular content.

4.Set up processes to enable near real-time responses to the insights – including out of office times.

5.Ensure there are additional marketing resources and understood brand guidelines.

Author: Hayley Spence, Marketing and Partnerships Director, Resolution Media Australia