A few months ago I compiled a list of 26 wonderful agile marketing campaigns, as there are some serious wins to be had for brands that can act fast.
But what does it take to react quickly?
Good timing is everything in comedy, in sport, in fashion, in cooking, and in business. Wait too long and you’ve missed your moment, but there’s a very sweet spot to hit if you get it right. As Anna Wintour says:
It’s always about timing. If it’s too soon, no one understands. If it’s too late, everyone’s forgotten.
Vogue’s editor in chief could have so easily been talking about agile marketing, which requires superlative timing. How are you supposed to win the earned media game if you sit around twiddling thumbs, or don’t have the right set up to make things happen quickly?
With this in mind, I thought I’d outline the key agile marketing success factors, and to try to figure out what kind of team structure and processes need to be put in place.
PR professionals seem to embrace an air of superiority when it comes to the owned/earned/paid debate.
PRs have traditionally crafted stories that win or lose by their storytelling craft. If the story isn't powerful enough then the journalist will slam the phone down in a rage and never speak to you again.
Whereas on the paid side of the fence, the feeling is that content with a big media budget behind it can reach (or be pushed in front of) a wider audience, whether or not it is any good. And that that's just wrong.
Truths and flaws abound on both sides of this summary.
Agile project management is something that many tech teams have adopted in the past few years, to rapidly build and develop new products, and to finesse existing ones. There is a focus on sprints, and on getting things done quickly.
Increasingly, we are seeing the signs that marketing teams are also becoming more agile. Consider the amount of advertising and marketing that is based around a news hook. This is nothing new, but it seems to be on the rise.
Social media might be one reason why agile marketing is on the rise. Brands have spent the last few years figuring out how to react on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. They now know what works, in terms of the type of content they share and produce. Social media has also allowed a lot of brands to establish a new tone of voice: more human, more transparent, and - as we shall see - more humourous.
The ability to react quickly on social channels is important, to nip things in the bud, and to encourage interaction and engagement. Many companies are now doing this well, and some have figured out that rapid response can be applied to marketing more broadly. If done correctly, it will be amplified on social media (note the number of 'favourites' and 'retweets' in the Super Bowl tweets below). Earned media FTW.
I thought I’d compile a bunch of examples of agile marketing, although, by way of a caveat, some of these things may have been planned a little while in advance. While I can’t be absolutely sure of the processes involved or speed of execution, I do know that these examples are mainly ‘reactionary’, be that a response to a news story, to customer or user feedback, or to another brand. I have a bunch of ideas on how to structure an agile marketing team and the kind of processes to put in place, but I’ll explore all of that in a separate post.
Ok, let’s check them out...
Brands are increasingly paying for 'Likes', followers and reviews, and despite the risks associated with this activity and the questionable efficacy of the tactic, there may be a logical reason for it.
That reason: according to Nielsen, consumers trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and online reviews, far more than they do paid media.
Marketing today has so many different guises that it’s impossible for professionals to live by one skill alone.
Ten years ago there were clear divisions and defined roles and skillsets. PRs, writers, marketers, web developers and search marketers hardly spoke, let alone crossed into each other’s worlds.
The situation has changed dramatically since then and it’s time for the agency world to follow suit.
Twitter may have taken the development of a business model slow, but its efforts to monetize its 140m user strong audience are in full swing.
Earlier this year, it opened up its long-anticipated self-serve ad platform, and offered US businesses $100 in free advertising credits to businesses in partnership with Amex.
Since going public in what may be remembered as one of biggest IPO disasters ever, Facebook has come under fire as industry observers question the efficacy of its ad offerings.
But is all of the criticism of Facebook deserved? No, at least according to comScore.
There have been many changes over the past few years in terms of how information is shared.
The advent of social media, the perceived declining effectiveness of existing methods and the state of economies around the world have affected the way brands approach content creation and distribution.
Gone are the days when information flowed in one direction from the brand to the consumer with little or absolutely nothing going back the other way.
The days when brands had full control of their content, and the type of message that they wished to spread to consumers, have slowly given way to earned media – where media coverage is earned from consumers, not just paid for like a commodity.