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Unlock Digital Roadblocks With Agile Marketing
What are some practical applications of agile marketing that will make your team more efficient? Columnist Andy Lombard has some tips.
A few months ago, I talked about the conundrum of digital marketing. While many marketers are enamored of its promise of spectacular brand impact, they often wind up losing money on their digital campaigns.
Instead of finding skyrocketing engagement and ROI, they encounter high development costs, delays and a communication breakdown between the creative team and developers.
More than a few marketers reached out to me after that article, asking for specific tactics on overcoming digital’s drawbacks. Well, as it happens, certain agile marketing practices are the perfect solution to digital challenges.
Think of the struggles that inspired software developers to create agile methods: they wanted a faster, cost-effective way to create products instead of being trapped in long cycles, with just one chance to succeed. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Agile techniques help digital marketers work faster, leapfrog over development stumbling blocks and smooth out the creative-technical gap. So it’s not surprising that agile marketing teams are three times as likely to grow market share as non-agile.
Consider this scenario. You sign a new client and map out a strategy for clever and visually arresting digital campaigns. Social, mobile, web: you intend to excel across every channel. You just need to hire enough developers and digital designers. Soon, those teams are devouring your budget faster than you thought possible.
Another issue: while your creative team has great ideas, they don’t understand the technology. Your developers can write code, but they don’t understand how to marry creative strategy to technical capabilities. The marketers feel their visions aren’t getting executed, and the developers are frustrated with unrealistic expectations.
Now place the same scenario in an agile context. You sign that new client with the same confident ambition to create powerhouse campaigns across every channel. And this time you succeed — because you’re using agile practices.
Turning Agile Practices Into Digital Profit
Use The Right Technology. Unlike non-agile teams, you know better than to rely on manual processes. Instead of hiring more developers and designers, you use the right tools to automate development tasks like data capture, engineering and synchronization.
One 2014 report found that 27 percent of digital marketers rated a lack of technical and analytical skills as their top challenges. These tools also free you from restrictive templates, allowing you to fuse technical brilliance with creative ingenuity.
Start Small. Many teams launch into huge digital campaigns that end up costing far more than anticipated. But your team starts small with manageable campaigns. This helps you learn tricks and workarounds without much at stake, so you master important lessons before diving into bigger digital campaigns.
For instance, you discover your team’s strengths and weaknesses, learn that paid media delivers more on Instagram than on Facebook, and realize that a certain type of digital animation is more trouble to create than it’s worth. End result: you’re strong, fast and skilled when unleashing that first big campaign, and you don’t waste resources on dead ends.
Collaborate. All too often the creative team concocts a plan without any realistic sense of technical capabilities, then tosses that plan in the development team’s lap. But your digital marketing team works with your developers from the start.
By creating use cases that go beyond a mock-up and wireframe, you save hours of wasted development time. And because print, social, mobile and web all come from the same playbook, rather than working in silos, teams have frequent “huddles” to stay in sync and produce on-brand work.
Listen To The Customer. Agile is all about responding to customer input to avoid squandering budget on campaigns that don’t perform. Your team collects a full capture of data and uses those insights to craft digital assets that appeal on a creative and informational level to your audience.
With metrics that drill down to the most granular elements, every campaign is measured and modified to be as powerful as possible. This puts you ahead of the curve, as only 39 percent of marketers currently use data to shape their strategies – even though 74 percent agree that it’s a smart move.
In the end, agile teams position themselves to deliver innovative and cost-effective digital campaigns. You’ll notice that the above practices don’t require big budgets, just specific strategies. That’s how the tech world creates profitable and high-performing software – and it’s your path to achieving the meteoric potential that represents digital advertising at its best.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.