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Is Agile the Answer To Your Internet Marketing Campaign Management Woes?

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development… For Digital Marketing.

Every so often a marketing campaign will hit what I like to call a ‘golden age’. These campaigns fall in nicely with a set of current trends, they are carried along by a wave of social noise and community; people will be hungry to digest as much content as you can throw at them. The internet is happy, the campaign client is happy and you can bask in the fact that you really understood your audience, the brief and everything.

The problem with the ‘golden age’ label is that these lovely pockets of opportunity tend to flitter by in no time at all. Popular interests and trends evolve and change every day… the thing is that most marketing campaigns don’t.

With a constantly shifting landscape, in the case of larger campaigns, some opportunities can pass before even the planning stage is over. The trends that have been painstakingly identified and the resulting strategies somehow lose their relevance. By the time the campaign is released there are other opportunities but it’s a bit late by then. Maybe next year…

So what is the alternative to what we are doing at the moment you may ask?

One discipline that has tackled similar problems is the software development sector. Some clever  Manifesto for Agile Software Development below:

Manifesto for Agile Software Development http://agilemanifesto.org/

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

Despite the obvious point that this is a manifesto for agile software development and not agile marketing campaigns there are some really nice ideas here which us marketers can adopt. Let’s have a quick look at each.

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

This one is nice for us digital marketers with a social flavour. Instead of spending time planning the conversations we are going to have with our online audience and which platforms we will be using we could be giving the individuals involved the responsibility and education to participate and work flexibly in existing communities.

Employing this philosophy allows us to stay relevant and, furthermore, helps us to identify emerging trends.

Working software over comprehensive documentation

For me this point translates to ‘innovation and results over paper trails and disclaimers’.  Obviously some documentation on the work you are doing is important but in a perfect world we would be able to spend all of our time working on beautiful ideas instead of playing it safe and covering our backs in case something goes wrong.

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Client education is key in any digital marketing project and the most successful campaigns are those in which the client is fully engaged and ‘present’. If you are battling to negotiate contracts and details all the time you are burning up budget which would otherwise be used for making the campaign great. The more collaboration you have with a client the more understanding you will both have about the market place and your objectives.

Responding to change over following a plan

Planning is an important part of any project but modern campaigns require flexibility to make the most of ever changing market places. Working in shorter iterations, an agile concept, by planning, implementing, measuring then rinsing and repeating the process using what you have learned can be a great way to make sure you remain relevant and keep up with those opportunities as they arise.

Speedy Summary

So, to sum up so far, the market evolves quickly, most marketing projects don’t. Sometimes that’s OK but sometimes it can result in missed opportunities. Using some ideas from the Agile methodology can help us remain flexible and relevant. It also give us something to chat about with our developer friends.

As well as these handy points Agile project development has lots of clever actionable ideas that us marketers might adopt but I think I’ll leave that story for another day… I might even with some jolly anecdotes of my time spent with real life agile web development techie people!

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1 Comment
  • Mat Walker on November 24, 2010

    Great article! Would you be interested in turning it into a presentation and speaking at an Agile event I’m thinking about putting on?

    I want to get away from some of the more evangelical Agile events aimed at developers and put something on for people from different backgrounds.

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