Part Two: Agile Marketing

As we discussed in Part One of this two-part series, marketing tactics that have evolved over the decades have recently been updated, refined, and improved by advances in technology. Software development has created tools with the ability to quickly gather and analyze data. This breakthrough has made it easier for marketers to accurately predict customer / client buying patterns. In Part One we explored the concept of building a tangible image, or a “persona,” that represents a technology-generated customer profile in order to better address the specific needs of real customers.

In Part Two, we will talk about a concept called ‘agile marketing’

The term ‘Agile Marketing’ popped up in the marketing arena in recent years as a popular method for determining how to further increase the client/customer experience (having its roots in the technology term “agile process”).  If establishing a common persona helps the company clearly understand the customer’s expectations, then agile marketing helps them find the best way to quickly fulfill those rapidly changing expectations.   

Wikipedia sums it up this way, “Agile marketing is an organizational effectiveness strategy that uses self-organizing, cross-functional teams doing work in frequent iterations. It aims to drive growth by focusing team efforts on those that deliver value to the end-customer.”

In other words, agile marketing pushes forth the idea of collaboration and highlights the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach. The term agile specifically refers to a willingness to adapt, which is accomplished through continuous meetings, testing, and data review.

Many companies, service providers, and even nonprofit organizations work in silos, each approaching the needs of the buyer from narrowly–defined, internal perspective. However, this style supports isolation, and in doing so eliminates the communication between the verticals. Frustratingly, this results in an inability to enhance the customer experience and an inability to respond when changes takes place across the landscape.

Great solutions come from different angles

Some professional firms and corporations have always known that fostering cooperation and collaboration within the organization helps to develop better solutions more quickly. Architects, for example, work in spaces that allow for easy access between the team members as each offers fresh insights.  Instead of sitting in private offices that discourage conversation or in departmental pods that discourage brain storming, an open floor plan sets the stage for a culture that nurtures multi-disciplinary team work.

Likewise, accounting firms that encourage the professionals who provider tax, audit and advisory services to interact with each other can offer their clients a more holistic approach to their business and financial challenges, and help them seamlessly achieve all their goals.

Research and Development (R&D) teams at local, family-owned companies and at large, global corporations alike agree that customer service professionals and sales people who are on the front lines, interacting with customers every day, are a critical component in the process of  developing new products or refining existing ones.  But it goes deeper than that. The disciplined and persistent sharing of ideas, observations, and real-world experiences across the entire company helps to create a much more efficient process for improving the client experience at every level. For an organization to succeed in today’s highly competitive, fast-paced world, it is critical to empower every employee with the opportunity to share and support each other.   

The result is greater flexibility and timeliness

Instead of relying solely on a three-to-five year marketing plan, organizations that are founded on an agile, cross-functional approach are able to break down walls and force interaction between the departments on a regular basis. In this way they are much quicker to spot challenges and are more prepared to react to them.

Of course, communication is the bond between and around the company. From pharmaceutical innovations to apparel manufacturing to technology breakthroughs to law firm services, smart companies are purposely bringing teams together across all the functional areas within the organization. In this way they can put the emphasis on sharing rather than competing. 

Agile marketing is not necessarily a totally new phenomenon, but it is an emerging method for leveraging collaborative software and human input to reinforce the power of teamwork. Working together frequently to review and reorganize, convening and reconvening to stay on target, the teams can draw on each other to develop customer-centric solutions that enrich and redefine the total customer experience.