Agile Marketing – key for business success?

I published my first blog article about agile marketing already in 2016 – interestingly, I can see that it’s still relevant today. So, just thought to share this baseline again. This shows that companies are still on the transformation journey, and must learn to fully integrate marketing.

In today’s marketing world, customers are running the market. By their assessments which are pro-actively shared through social media, they dictate the value-chain-rules quite often through their likes/shares/comments for e.g. the point-of-sale or salesmen.

More than ever it’s important to generate new customers, retain them and even more to collaborate with them. Viral marketing has become a powerful communication tool, dictated by your customers, business partners as well as prospects.

Quite often it’s still usual practice to create one static marketing plan to be implemented throughout the year. Those plans carved in stone were essential in the analog world to produce materials and execute programs. However in today’s digital world the modern marketing plan must be flexible and adaptable – in other words agile.

Quite often those static marketing plans lead into ad-hoc silo activities, e.g. eBook PDFs must be shared online, un-planned events must be organized to support spontaneous sales activities or short-term produced image videos are needed for a long-term scheduled exhibition. And at the very end everyone expects clear results and sales or recruiting leads out of those separately conducted actions. For sure – those activities will never be successful due to missing integration into the corporate strategy and synchronized execution.

Marketing 4.0. needs new role models

As consequence of Marketing 4.0. an agile marketing strategy with new marketing role models are required to achieve company and sales goals. Instead of pre-defined tactics, clear channels must be predetermined.

In essence an agile marketing team needs heterogeneous experts. The strategic all-rounder to translate the corporate goals into communication channels and specialists who lives and execute the new channels.

In reality many marketing all-rounders have been asked to also take responsibility for digital marketing communications. Some other companies have hired young digital specialists with less corporate experience. While generalists know the new communication channels by name but less their chances, strengths and threats, the digital specialists live the social media channels with less understanding for integrated marketing and sales strategy. And on top sales representatives show up with their own goals and perspectives. No wonder that communication and planning is much more hindered than necessary.

What happens when all-rounders take over special tasks, specialists are only partly involved in projects and sales is requiring innovation? Do all these 3 teams speak the same language? Is marketing talking the same language than the customers or the market? Is every employee aware of the corporate goals?

What does it mean: eBook? How to read a digital RFP and how to reply? Should we also offer XYZ just because competition is doing so? How to measure success?

What’s relevant: touch-points or conversion? What is SEO and when is it to integrate?

These sample questions only highlight the complexity of the marketing plan in the 21th century. Translation from analog understanding to digital language is essential for Marketing 4.0. This must cover sales goals, marketing messages, combined online with offline activities, new analytics models, etc. And in essence must be aligned to the overall company business goals and model.

What is it all about?

Marketing, sales, recruiting, technology, people belong together. All happen every day in every area of life. At the end of the day it’s all about selling products and increase loyalty between supplier and customer, or for recruiting purposes between employer and potential talent.

This can only be achieved by a holistic, agile marketing strategy, appropriate execution as well as close communication with customers. In Marketing 4.0. most success can be immediately measured at least for digital channels and events while branding and thought leadership will pay into the short-term benchmarks.

To distinguish from others, every company – independent if small, medium or large business – should translate marketing strategy into it’s individual goals and benefits.

February 15th, 2016 by