If part of your job involves helping your company to find new customers, especially over the Internet, then there’s a good chance you’ve been hearing a bit of chatter about agile marketing or agile web development.
Here are a Couple of Pros and Cons for Applying Agile to Your Marketing Efforts
The idea, which originated in the world of software development, has been gaining steam in a lot of circles. That’s because it comes from a fun, exciting premise: that the best way to accomplish a given task is to focus on the most important goals in front of you, and then “sprint” with all of your energy and resources to make it happen. Once that sprint has been accomplished, you can reassess, set a new goal, and start a new sprint towards that one as well.
In the creative world, I know of a handful of agencies who dedicate day-long sprints to individual clients, allocating the entire firm’s resources (and their clients’ budgets) to creating and coding in a flurry of activity. It can be a great way to generate content as a team.
Could this kind of approach be just the strategy you need to propel your online marketing efforts forward? Let’s look at both sides of the coin…
What’s Good About An Agile Marketing Strategy
In theory, agile marketing “sprints” could help you develop a set of blog posts and pages around a given keyword / topic, or get your team focused to put together a white paper or ebook. These are things that could be accomplished anyway, of course, but a lot of managers and their clients are drawn to the idea of getting a lot done in as short of time frame as possible.
Not only does such an approach feel rapid and exciting, but it actually has a basis in the real world. In the world of software and app development, entire projects are managed this way. The team begins with an overall goal, but the pieces are filled in, one at a time, in an order that makes sense. Management essentially dictates that they want a given task accomplished by a certain date and time, and then it’s “all hands on deck” to make that happen.
We occasionally follow the same kind of blueprint when it comes to coding and testing websites. When things have to be done in a certain order, planning and managing short bursts of activity can be a great way to make those things happen.
Why You May Not Want to (Permanently) Rely on Agile Strategies
So, if agile marketing helps you get things done, what’s the problem? (So glad you asked.) The potentially big issue is that it might not help you get the right things done. And, it might not help you get the things you really need when you need them the most.
Agile marketing sprints depend on short, frantic bursts of effort. Does that sound like a recipe for consistency to you? When you get lots of things done, but few of them feed into your overall lead generation strategy, you make minimal gains or none at all. It’s like dumping a bunch of ideas into a big stew full of anticipation, and then watching as all of that “stuff” you did boils into something that’s possibly bland and uninspiring because it wasn’t given time to simmer.
In other words, agile marketing efforts can bring a production-line approach to what really should to be a creative endeavour. Planning campaigns, generating content, and interacting with prospects should be handled organically, and with a bit of forethought. Too many organizations are using agile marketing as an excuse to essentially “cram” for things like search optimization.
But just because agile marketing shouldn’t be the basis for everyone’s online marketing efforts doesn’t mean you can’t put some of its principles to work…
How to Make Agile Activity Work for You
Certain tasks (those that tend to be technical instead of creative) can actually be helped by an agile approach. So if you have parts of your website development process that could use short bursts of attention, feel free to give it a try.
When it comes to online marketing, you can use an agile mindset to try new things that don’t fit into your regular campaign structure. For instance, one Friday afternoon a month could turn into a pizza party where every member of your team contributes a short blog post to be deployed later. Or you could use agile thinking to construct a special offer that requires lots of collaboration between departments.
The main takeaway here is that agile principles can help you get everyone on the same page and finish things that would otherwise be tedious or time-consuming. As an occasional way to find productivity and inspiration, it can be a great notion. Go to the agile well too often, though, and you stand a chance of stressing your team out and likely having them redo it.
I'm curious to know your successes with Agile.