As part of a recent digital transformation program, I’ve been looking for a succinct way of describing this new part-art and part-science approach to marketing that is unfolding around us.

The art being the growth of content and social over the ‘old world’ reliance on disruptive distrusted paid media. Science being the increasing automation and personalisation of all aspects of the customer experience.

This search has taken me on an interesting journey with the likes of Kotler’s Marketing 3.0 certainly offering a good read but sadly not the summary I was looking for.

So I decided to have a stab myself, providing a starting point for others to refine and build on.

Since then, Econsultancy rode into town with the brilliant Modern Marketing Manifesto. If this had been released a little earlier I almost certainly wouldn’t have tried to tackle this myself.

However I’m quite glad I did because I think I’ve arrived at a concise and formulaic representation of this manifesto with a couple of twists.

The first twist addresses the prevalent and neo-classical view that our decision making process is a rational one.

Between Kahneman winning the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work in this area and the subsequent brilliance of Dan Ariely and co; in order to satisfy other behavioural economics geeks any future marketing model needs to allow for our irrational heuristic based behaviour.

Also, as someone who was very taken with Mark Earls’ herd theory, painting us as nothing more than super social and super bright apes that primarily learn through imitation, it felt remiss not to make advocacy marketing a core part of any model.

After all, the ultimate goal in this new world is to be a remarkable company reliant on advocates and value proposition, not spin. What Seth Godin would call a purple cow.

Finally, as a big fan of agile development, preferring Forrester’s description of agile commerce to the more widely used omni-channel, agile also had to play a prominent role addressing the increasingly complex mobile multi-screen environment.

An approach to commerce that enables businesses to optimise their people, processes, and technology to serve customers across all touch-points.

This brings me to the definition and proposed Agile Marketing Model. An approach that uses creativity and craft to first build engagement, followed by the application of science and technology to automate, optimise and personalise all aspects of the customer experience.

Taking inspiration from user centred agile development, agile marketing is customer focused, responsive, collaborative, and employs a continuous cycle of test and learn to optimise performance. 

Ideally deployed by multi-discipline teams working closely together, primarily comprising of content, social, design, tech and insight people; empowered with the right tools and encouraged to experiment and innovate.

The goal of the Agile Marketing Model is to improve advocacy, relevance, and adaptability of the marketing function by using creative and technological capabilities to their fullest.

Agile Marketing Model

(Social + Content + Advocacy) + (Behavioural Economics + Automation + Personalisation)

Agile Marketing Model 

The Art…

  • Social: Building owned and earned communities that are incentivised to participate in all areas of the business whilst capturing social data to further improve customer experience.
  • Content: Creating content and experiences that either improve the customer experience or help build deeper connections by being intrinsically interesting and sharable.
  • Advocacy: Designing all aspects of the business to encourage customer advocacy and sharing, empowering your customers to be your biggest marketing vehicle.

The Science…

  • Behavioural Economics: Applying and testing behavioural economic theory to better understand and predict the likely actions customers may take during their decision making process.
  • Automation: Using data, algorithms, and technology to automate marketing and customer communications with real time bidding on paid media.
  • Personalisation: Using customer data to improve relevance across all aspects of the customer experience including products, promotions, adverts, content, service, and UX.

So there you have it, incomplete and awaiting the input of others, but the best definition I could muster to encapsulate the many faces of modern marketing.