Switch On, Switch Off: The Art of Agile Marketing

by | Oct 4, 2018 | General Marketing Tips

Agile MarketingIf you hear the word “agile” you’re probably thinking about the latest method of project management that’s creating a massive buzz among managers and marketing teams alike.

In short, Agile project management is geared towards breaking projects into smaller pieces (goals), which are then prioritized by your team in terms of importance. It promotes collaboration, allowing for reflections, learnings and adjustments at regular intervals to ensure satisfaction at different stages of the project.

It’s an interesting method worth investigating. (Note: You can find a great book on Agile project management here.)

But this is not quite what I’m talking about when I think of agility in marketing.

The Balancing Act

This definition of marketing agility resonates strongly with me: “the speed at which you can adjust the marketing mix to deliver greater customer value and make more money.”

So it’s the speed at which you can take new marketing ideas and turn them into results.

How fast can you change your price, deliver a new promo, or shift channels to anticipate and satisfy client and environment needs?

Many businesses excel at this, with marketers being trained (and encouraged) to test new order forms, prices, offers, refund policies, etc.

But there are two ways I believe all marketers can benefit from being more agile in their marketing strategies.

One of them ties into shifting channels, which I will address in a moment.

But there’s something even more basic that can maximize our long-term marketing strategy.

It’s a simple thing.

We tend to push all of our efforts into one big promotion when we see it’s working.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But we forget about balance.

One of the easiest first steps you can take is to make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

When you have more than one promotion running, when you have more than just lead gen and direct sale running, when you run on a variety of channels (or at least are familiar enough with multiple channels that you can substitute in new ones regularly), you are able to quickly shift budgets in different directions at the drop of a hat.

It boils down to not relying on one strategy, one single promotion and one channel.

Switch On. Switch Off.

To use a larger example, recent changes in both Google and Facebook have placed some restrictions on marketers.

These restrictions, no doubt, have impacted some businesses more than others, especially if you have relied too heavily on those two channels alone.

If you managed to diversify your marketing efforts fairly quickly to different channels, that’s a good thing. But it will still cost you time, effort, and can put you in a position of basically having to start from scratch.

Imagine if you had a wider portfolio of efforts…

Or had invested the time and dollars in testing other networks to be able to have an “easy-on” switch…

Or even maintained small campaigns on these networks over time?

How quickly could would you have been able to pivot from seeing a drop in sales in one channel, to picking up the slack in another?

So, with hindsight as a forbearer to the future, here are a few tips to help your team pivot with agility when the time comes again:

Four Steps to Greater Agility

  1. Develop a regular testing budget to understand and learn about new and existing networks that are underutilized. With a proper testing budget, you can continue to test platforms even after an initial failure.
  2. Keep a regular review of CPAs, response rates, and campaign fatigue. Be ready to shift dollars to a new product or campaign when fatigue sets in.
  3. Layer-in the current events that keep a product or campaign fresh. Create new ad creative, new landing pages, keep iterating different versions so you have multiple options for a single campaign.
  4. Use a mix of lead gen and direct sale campaigns to maximize your options. Keep budgets low in lead gen when your direct sale campaigns are strong, and reverse that when your lead gen campaign(s) fatigue or the catalyst expires.

Finally, there are exciting developments on many different marketing channels like Amazon, Instagram, Messenger and even Pinterest – channels that you may not even normally consider (remember Facebook 7 years ago?). You can learn what it takes to be successful. And then you have the ability to move to those networks when and if you need to.

Casting your net wider, exploring the potential of these channels, testing campaigns on them, and learning from your fails is what creates true success stories.