One of the latest buzzwords in the marketing field is agile marketing. As any marketing idea that comes into fashion, it’s being pegged as a change of the guard, something that will alter the way marketing is done from now on. Some bloggers are juxtaposing agile marketing with the more traditional idea of marketing “best practices” which in turn are getting a bad name for being outdated and ineffective.
We respectfully disagree.
Take this presentation on agile marketing, for example, titled “Why Best Practice is Killing Marketing”. You’ll notice it’s firmly against marketing best practices, offering agile marketing as the superior alternative. But as soon as you try to pin down exactly what agile marketing involves, things become difficult.
If you’re looking at the presentation for some concrete takeaways, what you’ll find (if you make it all the way to slide 97) is the simple advice to “Look at your website. We bet you can think of 10 ideas that could increase sales by 2% each. Do those.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t really give marketers much to work with.
Agile Marketing is a New Name for an Existing Best Practice Called “Measuring”
The fundamental principle of agile marketing is that you respond to customer feedback and change strategies quickly, as opposed to doing something that’s ineffective over and over again. But doing the former is a marketing best practice (the standard marketing cycle goes: plan>execute>measure>adapt>plan…) and always has been. In short, agile marketing is a new buzzword for a concept that has always existed.
If you’re a small business owner with scarce marketing resources (or any marketer, for that matter), there are marketing best practices you should follow:
- Provide Value: Marketing content should always offer value in and of itself, aside from the product it markets. Value can be perceived as informational or even entertaining. To succeed, marketing should appear genuine and not “gimmicky” (unless your tone is consistently over the top and quirky).
- Create an Actionable Calendar: Once you know what tactics and strategies you are going to implement, create a simple calendar that states the measurable outcome that need to happen and on what day. For example, “write first draft of blog post on Tuesdays”.
- Create Short- and Long-Term Milestones: Creating organic SEO from inbound marketing takes time and patience. Be sure to create milestones to analyze your performance weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
- Make Changes Based on Your Vision: If you have a vision for marketing your company, you shouldn’t change it week to week with whatever becomes trendy. Use your vision to identify when to say “yes” and when to say “no” to changes to avoid spreading yourself too thin and not accomplishing anything.
- Make Adjustments Based on Your “Data”: Measuring results is crucial for learning what works and what doesn’t, as well as for identifying which marketing efforts you’re good at and which ones you might need to improve on.
- Be Able to Adapt: The “never stop learning” adage works for marketing just as well as for anything else, and while you don’t have to follow every micro-trend, staying ahead of the curve for large shifts in the marketing landscape (for example, the future dominance of mobile) will help your marketing strategy stay successful in the long term.
Marketing best practices exist for a reason—they’re general ways of thinking, derived from industry experience, that help you be a better marketer.
In general, be aware that new marketing buzzwords come out all the time, but unless you’re a complete industry insider whose job depends on being into the latest “thing”, you’ll be much better served by following time-tested, traditional marketing advice and staying consistent, rather than jumping from trend to trend.