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At the recent Neolane & Celerity co-hosted breakfast seminar Ashley Friedlein spelt out what agile marketing is and how it’s going to change us all.
In his introduction he said we’ll all be talking about 'real time', 'agile', 'on demand', 'automation', 'speeding up' and 'event triggered' in the months and years ahead.
What was clear from all the presentations at the event was that personalisation, real-time, agile marketing practices will become the norm.
According to Neolane’s recent survey, 19% of marketers are currently personalising their websites in real-time. But Neolane predicts that this figure will jump by 3X to 59% by the end of 2014.
Even the Google Now android app has forseen this as our future too. In its latest ad it claims we’ll be able to access information that is relevant to us right now.
Based on predictive algorithms it claims to be “one step ahead” – suggesting new routes to work if traffic is heavy and recommending places to eat where you are, even telling you the best things on the menu.
If all these predictions are right there will be big changes afoot. Here I take a look at what they will mean for businesses and marketing teams:
1. Providing on demand services:
This is about giving fast, reactive and dynamic services and products. The Financial Times is one of many organisations responding to its readers need for relevant content right here, right now.
Later this year it will launch its Fast FT which will provide live breaking news to subscribers. Editor Lionel Barber admits he’s adapting his editorial team to meet “the challenge of the digital age”.
Surprisingly one of the top four British banks (not normally known for agility) was quick to recognise its customer’s “on demand” needs by introducing a peer to peer payment app.
Barclay’s Pingit app has been widely acclaimed for its innovative, simple to use and customer focused approach. Such was the demand for it that the app’s been rolled out to non-Barclay’s customers.
2. Meeting your customer's real time expectations:
The consumer’s expectation that real time information and personalisation is possible and should be normal is driving our technological revolution.
Real time marketing can use customer behaviour data gleaned from social interactions on mobile. Marketers that are tapping into the SoLoMo behaviour can deliver personalised, relevant, location-based offers to their consumers – in the way that LevelUp app does in the States.
The consumers using mobile to search will also continue to shift the marketers approach. In her recent blog, Claire Brinkley, said that 55% of mobile searches conversions happen with 1 hour - whether this was going into a store, calling a business or making a purchase.
Celerity’s speaker Ben Salmon supports this prediction and said real time can happen across all channels by combining single and dynamic data views.
New marketing automation systems can identify the right person and marry them up to the right message, at the right time on the most relevant channel. This allows marketers and/or call centres to have “contextual conversations”.
Salmon said it’s about applying “The don’t do stupid things principles”: Don’t offer the customer services or products they already have; Don’t offer products they can’t qualify for or present offers they’ve already accepted/rejected.
3. New ways of working in a digital age:
If the customer's expections are that brands should be ubiquitous then the 9 – 5 way of working will have to change. This is all about embracing “agile” working practices.
This could mean marketing teams are on the ready to respond and pounce on the news agenda like in the way that marketers did when the lights went out during the American Super Bowl.
Oreo’s team demonstrated agile and event triggered marketing, when its “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet went viral, generating more than 16,000 retweets. This marketing team was ready, with no specific plan, in out of normal working hours to respond to anything that might have happened that evening.
Or this could mean that product teams demonstrate their “agility”by working faster, smarter or in new places like the way the Nordstrom Innovation Lab did when it created its sunglasses iPad app in an actual shop.
Its “flash mob” app team built, tested and used customer feedback in the store to create an app that helped customers pick the best sunglasses for them – all within a week.
4. Creating a new-breed of marketing teams:
It has been said before that if you can’t feed your marketing team with just two pizzas then it’s a sign it’s too big. This warning was reiterated by Ashley Friedlein who suggested marketing teams should turn into multidisciplinary teams – that include designers, content creators and technologists.
He said they should be co-located or virtual teams given “freedom within boundaries” to focus on delivering a customer-driven experience, like in the way Twitter and Facebook were started. This real time marketing approach will mean large corporations are going to have make a cultural shift.
News International’s CMO, Katie Vanneck Smith, admitted that its internal structure has done just that, with digital breaking down traditional hierarchies and structures within its organisation.
Her new marketing mantra is “marry the technologists”. She said that the young, trendy technologists are now the ones everyone wants to talk to.
News International has created a digital hub within the marketing department – and brought the best IT, tech developers to sit with the best digital marketers. Their job is to create great ideas and get them to market really fast.