Maybe you’ve heard the term “agile marketing” but aren’t sure of the exact definition. Agile marketing is an approach to marketing that values making changes based on experience or data in real time. Back in the “Mad Men” days, it took a lot longer to see if a campaign was going to succeed or fail, and metrics were hard to measure. Most campaigns relied on seeing in-store revenue increase after a campaign, for example, to determine whether the campaign was successful.

Now marketers can see instantly if their efforts are paying off thanks to metrics like social media engagement, website traffic, and conversions. It’s easier than ever to adapt your strategy to go with what’s working.

An agile marketing approach could be beneficial to your business. What follows are tactics you can use, as well as agile marketing examples that show how to pivot successfully.

 
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One of the most immediate marketing platforms is social media. Being able to instantly connect with customers and target additional consumers through messaging, content, live video, and other methods makes social media one of the most agile marketing mediums available.

One of the legendary examples of agile marketing on Twitter, for example, is Oreo’s “dunk in the dark” tweet. Its post continues to get buzz and recognition because it shows perfectly how a brand can take advantage of an event that is happening in real time. By instantly responding to the 2013 Super Bowl power outage, Oreo tastefully and with humor inserted itself into the conversation, making the company instantly relevant.

Humor can be an effective lever in agile marketing. When done well, it increases brand sentiment and makes the user feel more comfortable with a brand. A good example of using humor to instantly respond is Groupon’s deal for a banana storage device, the “banana bunker.” Groupon knew the banana bunker was going to receive some responses based on its appearance, so they made the most of it. They replied to comments with humor and tact, which led to huge engagement and a boost in positive brand sentiment.

After careful consideration, you may decide to respond to news, events, or pop-culture references. It’s a best practice to reply to comments about your products and company. Additionally, consider using social media to create and share content in real time. Live stream the band playing at your restaurant tonight. Share photos of your team going out for a spontaneous happy hour. Customers enjoy “peeking behind the curtain” and seeing who’s running the show or what’s going on.

Customer engagement benefits your company. It’s how brands stay top of mind, increase brand awareness, and often increase transaction amounts. When you do it well, you can even see higher rates of customer advocacy.

Another benefit of most digital campaigns, whether they are on social media, your website, or another form of online advertising, is that you can instantly change design assets that aren’t working. If you need to change the wording on your website header or your banner ad isn’t getting the clicks you want, it can likely be changed within minutes. You can also edit content as you see the metrics of how your audience is reacting to it. The data may inspire changes to design, wording, or campaign parameters to optimize results.

Marketers and advertisers used to run a newspaper ad and that was the end of it. Once the final files were submitted and the newspaper printed, no changes could be made. Now marketers can run online promotions and change them as they see what inspires their audience to act.

Many agile marketers create a war-room team made up of people from different departments. These people, working together, can respond to a campaign — or with a campaign, in Oreo’s case — instantly. By developing a war-room strategy for dealing with potential changes before they happen, teams are more prepared and ready to make improvements, changes, and updates on the fly. When you have the opportunity to immediately improve a post or campaign, you also have the opportunity to improve sales.

Agile marketing isn’t just about responding to online engagement and metrics. It’s also about actively assessing what you’re already doing and learning how it can be taken to another level. With new technologies and platforms regularly rolling out, it’s possible to continue evolving your content to reach more people. You don’t want to think of all your content as “big bang” content, which comes out with a bang but is never looked at again. Start thinking of your content as having a legacy with a longer shelf life.

This is where content repurposing comes in: Reuse content to fit different mediums where your brand has a presence. This method is definitely a lesson in flexibility. When your team adopts a mindset that every piece of content is pliable, they can take content further and get more mileage out of it — and more conversions.

For instance, if you regularly conduct industry interviews with experts for your company’s blog, try creating some images with pull quotes for your social media feed.

This is easy to do with your marketing platform or other tools, including PowerPoint and Photoshop. What may be best is for your graphic design team to create a blank template that uses your company’s branding. Your marketing team can then fill in the template as needed. Because most insight from experts is evergreen, you can reshare both the interview posts and your social media quote images for months to come.

Make a list of the platforms your brand is active on for all the content you create. Then create a mind map of how you can transform the content you’re already creating into something else. For example, if you record a podcast episode, transcribe it for a blog post. Design pull quotes for social media posts. Create a landing page for the podcast that includes a CTA for a specific product or service mentioned.

Consumers appreciate seeing content in different formats because it gives them the choice to consume it how they prefer. For instance, some people enjoy watching videos, while others prefer to read a written version. Repurpose your content, drive conversions with specific CTAs, and give your conversions a boost.

Another way to experiment with marketing mediums is trying new, different ways to reach consumers. Part of being agile is making bets and using flexible planning to see what works best.

Look at where your target audience is consuming content, and establish a presence there. For instance, some brands have had success sponsoring podcasts. According to Convince & Convert, over 112 million Americans reported listening to a podcast this year, an increase of 11% over 2016. Podcasts are directly competing with radio and digital content, and in many cases, they are more agile. Brands can choose to sponsor specific topics, shorter mini-episodes, or for a set period of time. More and more podcasts are being created each day, and chances are a few in your industry are worth sponsoring. Do some research on iTunes or IPDb.net to find applicable podcasts, then visit their websites for sponsor information.

In addition to advertising on different platforms, such as Twitter campaigns or Instagram ads, consider working with industry influencers to get more visibility for your product or services. You can find influencers by searching for target keywords using BuzzSumo. Additionally, depending on your market, try working with an established influencer program. As you reach new audiences and expand your consumer base, you may see your market share grow.

A big, important aspect of agile marketing is looking at data and making decisions based on your metrics. While your own data is often enough to decide the direction of a campaign, analyzing cloud data to see trends in your industry or for specific keywords can also help you make better, strategic choices.

Look at Google Trends or your favorite search engine optimization tool’s dashboard to see what consumers search for, and then adapt your campaigns accordingly. The keywords we think people are using often aren’t what they use in their searches. Use cloud data to help develop campaigns with realistic expectations and create more comprehensive marketing campaigns.

While it’s necessary to be reactive on online platforms, taking a more proactive stance by planning for change is what’s going to make your agile marketing efforts successful. Look at industry trends as well as your own data, and make decisions based on what’s best for your brand’s message, your customers, and your bottom line.

Kelsey Jones is a marketing consultant and writer under Six Stories, her marketing agency. She has been working in digital marketing since 2007 and journalism since 2004, gaining proficiency in social media, SEO, content marketing, PR, and web design. Kelsey was the head editor at Search Engine Journal for three years and has worked with Yelp, Contour Living, Bounty, Gazelle, and many more. Based in Kansas City, she enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
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