Agile is a methodology traditionally used for software development where cross-functional teams deliver a final product through rapidly building requirements and evolving solutions. The principles underlying the methodology emphasize flexibility in all areas of development from planning to evolutionary solutions to early delivery. It offers an alternative to the traditional “waterfall” development methodology where one step must first be completed before another begins. As such, agile framework is often at the core of disruptive, innovative companies.
However, the agile approach isn’t just being used for software development anymore. The framework is now expanding to other areas, namely to Marketing. James Martin recently wrote about this in his article, “What is agile marketing and should you be sprinting to it?”
At it’s core, agile marketing isn’t that much different from agile software development. The process breaks the marketing workflow into smaller experiments through collaboration and data-sharing amongst cross-functional teams. Similar to agile software development, the end goal is to rapidly deliver a great experience in response to what’s happening in the marketplace.
Martin points to the famous Oreo “dunk in the dark” Super Bowl TV spot as an example of agile marketing. For those of you that aren’t familiar, Nabisco worked with their agency to get a spot alluding to the power outage in the Super Bowl stadium within minutes of it happening. The decisions happened in real-time because the client and agency partners were together (a core tenet of agile methodology), ready and waiting to respond to market conditions. And the results were phenomenal.
For brands that can get there, the benefits are numerous according to Martin:
- deliver personalized experiences to stay top-of mind with customers
- increased transparency within the organization helping increase support of marketing initiatives
- better prioritization of marketing initiatives
- increased speed to market
- improved productivity
- increased revenues and customer loyalty
However, it’s the getting there that is the challenge for many marketers. To be successful at agile marketing, silos must be broken down, technology must be integrated and groups must be organized around shared tools – no easy feat, particularly for large organizations. That said, by prioritizing these efforts, teams can start to tackle these challenges to get there.
In the age of digital disruption, it’s no surprise that agile principles are being expanded beyond software development to help companies respond to market changes. Agility must be at the core of those looking to innovate – be it in software development or marketing- and I expect we’ll continue to see the agile framework expand into numerous areas within organizations.