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Agile Marketing: Are You Ready?

Fact: the way in which customers interact with organizations is changing. In order to keep up, brands are in the midst of a shift. They have realized that the status quo is no longer sufficient. As they adopt new strategies to remain competitive, firms are being forced to rethink how they have traditionally viewed time, money and culture.

Time has become a precious scarcity

According to a recent PeReceptions post, author Candace McCaffery believes that “Marketers no longer have the luxury of time.” With the development of real-time tools like Facebook and Twitter, marketers are on call now more than ever before. For example, traditional “lager-scale marketing programs could be planned and executed on a timeline that we [marketers] determined. Today, the timeline isn’t in our hands,” McCaffery states. Instead, marketers must understand that they are now at the whim of their customers. “Today, the timeline…is in the hands of our target audiences…in the hands of the mediums on which we need to engage with our audiences.” This now forces marketers to be more informed and flexible than before. Today, marketers need to have a continual pulse on how well their campaigns are being received by their audiences, while at the same time have other options ready and loaded if need be.

Show me the money

Not all that long ago it was fairly common to schedule marketing budgets a year out in advance. However, organizations are learning that “annual budgets set in the third quarter of the year can’t anticipate the myriad of changes that can happen in the second quarter of the year following.” Instead, successful marketers have to start incorporating flexibility into their budgeting. Achieving this is no easy task. That said if correctly pulled off it can help organizations achieve some great, unexpected results. Don’t believe me? McCaffery illustrates, “A great example of this is Pinterest. The explosive growth of the network has happened really quickly, and very few brands were able to forecast this in October 2011.  So now, in March of 2012, if your audience is spending 10 hours a week on Pinterest, does your marketing budget had the dollars – and flexibility – to respond and move into that space?” By incorporating some flexibility firms will be better prepared to tackle these unexpected challenges head on.

Culture Change

In addition to time and money, altering corporate culture is “probably the most challenging change.” imposed by agile marketing,” says McCaffery.  One of the important changes that agile marketing brings is an increased emphasis on transparency. For agile marketing to be successful, it’s important for an organization to become more transparent. However, according to PepsiCo’s Shiv Singh “agile marketing requires too much transparency for most to be comfortable with.” Instituting a corporate culture that emphasizes transparency is difficult. It’s a foreign concept to most employees. It is usually met with resistance as it necessitates an increase in accountability. But, being more transparent with your customers will help establish a tighter bond, and boost advocacy and brand loyalty. In an age where a friend’s like or Tweet can greatly influence a purchase, this is an extremely important concept for organizations to grasp. For those who fail at creating a culture of increased transparency, it’s not that difficult to say that social media is going to be very disappointing – and possibly even harmful – for them.

The shift is happening now. How ready are you?

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