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Agile: Handle with Care, The New Normal of Marketing in a Data-Driven World


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As a busy marketer, you constantly think about what projects your team should tackle. But far more important is how they tackle those projects. Are they strategic planners? Spreadsheet jockeys? Process czars? While the marketing team is often a kaleidoscope of different functions, personalities and approaches, one thing is certain. The traditional approach to campaign planning and execution has been turned on its head.

According to Forrester, the majority of B2B marketing leaders say that traditional annual planning routines are ripe for extinction, as conditions change too quickly to keep plans current. Today, B2B and B2C marketers are comparing planned activity with actual results. They work like this: Move fast. Test. Revise. Repeat. Many call this agile marketing.

If you’ve already embraced the idea of agile marketing, it’s because you’ve heard that it can help boost conversions. It allows you to iterate quickly – constantly testing new ideas and campaigns and making adjustments on the fly. After all, the days of waiting for the big, coordinated, cross-channel campaign drop are over.

Other perks of agile – it delivers personalized customer experiences, which boost brand loyalty and shorten the customer journey.

Agile marketing is built on the promise that you’re able to take advantage of our always on, data-driven world, which is why it’s at the top of the CMO’s agenda.

In fact, The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) reports that roughly 90 percent of marketers believe that active testing and learning is the number one strategy for responding effectively to disruptions.

Lets face it, us marketers love to disrupt. But for all its benefits, agile marketing is still more talk than action. According to the CMG Partners CMO Agenda study, 63 percent of CMOs consider agility extremely important, yet only 26 percent consider their organization very agile. If agile is so great, why isn’t everybody doing it? Here are four reasons.

1. The promise doesn’t always match reality. Transforming your marketing department to be more agile requires you to wear many different hats. You have to be an analytics whiz, sourcing not data but insight. And not just insight but the right information that will support and shape creative campaigns. The campaigns that should have launched yesterday. After all, you’re wildly creative, too. Then there’s the IT portion of your job that’s quickly becoming your entire job.

2. Changes to campaign planning. Remember this: Move fast. Test. Revise. Repeat. That applies to not just your work style, but also your campaigns. If you need to pivot, you better be sure you’re shifting in the right direction. This requires you to coordinate your team, data streams, and campaigns across channels or you’ll wind up doing a 360 instead of a 180.

3. The data deluge. If you’re think you’re overwhelmed with data, you’re note alone. And it’s only getting started. According to IDC, “data in the digital universe is doubling in size every two years, and will multiply 10 times between 2013 and 2020, from 4.4 trillion gigabytes to 44 trillion gigabytes.” How can you possibly be expected to find actionable insights in all of your marketing data? Without the aide of an intelligent solution, you can’t.

4. Technology “solutions.” Everyone claims to have the right “solution” to help you manage your data and support agile marketing, but many only solve part of the puzzle or deliver pretty reports that aren’t a comprehensive representation across all of your channels. Or, to achieve the marketing nirvana of cross-channel analysis, great reporting tools and marketing intelligence requires you to bring on a professional services consulting team. Of course, you could always piece it together yourself a la Frankenstack. Even then, you still may not know which channels, platforms, and campaigns are combinations thereof are most effective.

For agile to work, you need your technology to be agile, too. The right business intelligence platform to support agile is one that’s up and running fast without steep learning curves or the help of expensive consultants. It reports results across all of your channels, aggregating and analyzing as you continue to add more data streams and ensuring your team is no longer mired in spreadsheets.

Despite the current, low adoption rates, agile marketing can work. But it requires that agile marketers be agile – in both their approach to creating and executing campaigns as well as the technology they use to analyze those campaign results.

Learn more about agile marketing and how you can make it work by downloading Datorama’s all-new ebook: Agile: Handle with Care, the New Normal of Marketing in a Data-Driven World.

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