We talk a lot about being an ‘agile’ marketing agency, but for many people this will be a completely new concept. This post aims to explain what agile marketing is, why it works, and how it benefits clients.
What is Agile?
The agile way of working is commonly used in software development projects, and in many places has replaced the linear or ‘waterfall’ method of working. With the waterfall method, the first team of developers would write a number of lines of code and then send it on to another team to do another part. Then, once complete, they would move on to the third team, and so on until the project was complete. This meant that updates and releases were large and rare. However, many developers moved to the agile method of working, which meant that they could create smaller features more regularly, and respond to variables such as customer feedback or bug fixes more quickly. This made development projects significantly more efficient, which is one of the reasons agile appeals to marketers.
Similarly to the way in which software developers use agile to create smaller pieces more often, we use agile to test multiple marketing methods within a short timeframe, and then analyse the results of the best performing channel. We then know that this channel is the most effective in terms of results and ultimately, return on investment.
To make this work, we follow a process called Scrum, where we break down each project into tasks, and run a set number of tasks over a certain time period, known as a sprint. At The Source, we work in weekly sprints, where each team member is assigned a week’s worth of tasks, which contribute to the progress of the overall project.
In a world where people abandon a web page after three seconds if it hasn’t loaded, where travellers can book a flight in minutes and where decisions on credit cards and mortgages can be made almost instantaneously, it is vital that marketing activity can respond to these instances quickly and in a way which hits the relevant audience. That’s one of the many advantages agile has; usually you would spend a considerable amount of time researching, gathering audience data, planning, delivering and then analysing the campaign, which could take weeks, possibly even months. With agile, this time is reduced significantly, and we are able to identify methods which produce the best return on investment, something which is key to marketing campaigns.
If you didn’t know already, we’re hyper-focused on return on investment. We’ve seen too many examples over the years of businesses ‘doing marketing’ but seeing nothing back from it. This could have been as a result of poor planning, not really knowing what the desired end result is or even because the agency chosen sat back and planned campaigns without thinking about how they were going to measure success. At The Source, with our agile approach to marketing, we are able to test a variety of channels very quickly, where we can identify the best one to use, whatever the goal. So if a client were to approach us and say “we want a social media campaign to generate us leads”, we would then test it against PPC for example, and in doing so, we may find that PPC works better in terms of the most leads for the least amount of spend. We would then suggest that we continue with PPC activity, rather than waste time and money on a social campaign which is ultimately going to drive little return on investment. Of course, some clients choose to come to us with a specific goal, such as creating a buzz around a product or service, or generating an increase in sales. As each industry is different, similarly to the previous example, we then test a number of different marketing channels relevant to the client’s goal. If a client doesn’t know what they want to achieve, then we can help them figure it out.
Whatever we do, it’s always goal-focused and the spotlight is always on the results we provide.