These days, agility’s not just for show dogs—it’s also an essential skill for every marketing executive.
Folks in the business world seem to talk constantly about “agility.” Do a Google search for “business agility,” and you’ll get more than 8 million results. Agility is essential to hyper-growth businesses. So as marketing executives, we all want to be agile—but we don’t always know exactly what it is we mean by that.
Here’s my definition: “Marketing agility is the speed at which you can adjust your process to identify and deliver customer value—and make more money.”
Note that marketing agility is NOT the speed at which you execute a campaign. A railroad engine is speedy, but it’s not at all agile. Agility means you can change directions quickly as needed—the way a cuttlefish does when it’s jet-propelling through the ocean after its prey.
Joel York, CEO and founder of Markodojo, says that your marketing agility equals “how fast can you change your product, adjust your price, deliver a new promotion or shift your channels to anticipate and satisfy ever-changing customer needs.”
These 5 strategies will help you do that:
- Measure value through the eyes of the customer. Customer value is the lens through which you should look whenever you are measuring the merit of your marketing campaigns. No matter how “clever” an idea is, it’s worthless if your customers derive no value from it. Customer value is the axis that runs through everything you do. Align yourself with that axis, and you’ll be a more agile marketer.
- Minimize waste by reducing uncertainty. Producing anything that is not valuable to the customer is waste. Don’t guess at what your customers want, and don’t assume you already know. Fast, accurate market research is essential to agile marketing.
- Maximize flexibility by working incrementally. Small, steady adjustments to your marketing plan take less time to complete than large, monolithic adjustments. Think tiny course-corrections, the sort you make to the steering wheel of your car to keep you on the road—versus having to go through Command Center to heroically shift a rocket ship’s trajectory. You want to be instantly responsive to every unexpected obstacle and opportunity you encounter.
- Foster customer alignment and company-wide collaboration through transparency. Marketing managers must reach outside their department to align customers with the company by facilitating marketing activities in sales, engineering, manufacturing, finance, etc. The more transparent the marketing management process, the more effectively you’ll be able to do this.
- Improve iteratively and continuously. Constantly monitor and measure your results. Get accurate feedback that tells you what works and what doesn’t. Learn from your mistakes, and build on your successes.
Agile marketing makes money for the company. It’s the cuttlefish marketing skill that’s essential to any hyper-growth business.