Business is a changing beast. The rules change, the enemy changes, and the environment changes. Constantly, abruptly, and decisively. And so, it follows that marketing must also be a changing beast, adapting to the changing circumstances if it is to stay relevant, leverage new opportunities, and help the business become its very best.
It’s for this reason that marketing is best delivered using an agile process.
Applying agile methodology to marketing endeavours isn’t common practice; I often get asked by marketing managers if we can create a 12 month marketing plan for their business. It’s a noble thought in some ways – planning everything out and lining up all of the little soldiers so that they’re ready to march on a moment’s notice. But the problem is that the plan quickly becomes dated and soon gets relegated to the “very pretty, but no longer useful” basket.
Rigid marketing plans are ineffective because they assume that you know everything before you start. That you have the perfect, infallible, irrefutable, answer to all questions. That you can look into the future and predict exactly how well all of your marketing campaigns will work before they’ve been implemented.
Wouldn’t that be marvelous?
I wish it was that easy.
The reality however, is that no-one knows how well a marketing campaign will work before the results are in. Experienced practitioners can make educated estimates, but estimates are often proven wrong. Even the most well thought out campaigns may fail to deliver, while at the same time some strange backyard-hack that seemed too fanciful to work, may actually hit a home run.
Some things work, other things don’t, and some things that did work in the beginning may stop working after a while.
Rather than being a hindrance however, this uncertainty creates opportunity.
Applying an agile, flexible, and dynamic process to marketing campaigns creates the perfect environment for continuous learning and growth. An organisation that encourages testing and provides people with the freedom they need to innovate will discover untapped areas of low-competition opportunity.
So get out there and try new things. Stay true to your brand, but don’t be afraid to be different and be bold in your thinking. Experiment, explore, and embrace your failed attempts as R&D investment. Strive to be better than anyone has ever been before.