We recently wrote a post featuring 14 of the most popular marketing buzzwords. Although “agile” didn’t make the list, you’ve probably still heard it tossed around frequently in the technology and business industries. It wasn’t long before the term “agile” started creeping into the realm of marketing, too. But what does it mean for marketers, and how can it help to save both your budget and your sanity?

In his webinar, “Agile Marketing: Save Your Sanity,” Pardot senior sales executive Mathew Sweezey discusses of agile marketing and how it differs from a more traditional “waterfall” approach. Where waterfall marketing involves setting long-term goals and carefully planning steps towards accomplishing them, agile marketing is characterized by an adaptive, fast-paced, trial and error approach to campaigns. And in an ever-changing marketing world with multiple campaigns and channels to maintain, agile marketing isn’t just a good idea — it’s a necessity.

Check out the following four tenets of agile marketing that Sweezey discusses in his presentation:

Flexibility.  The agility of your marketing relies on the abilities of the people behind it, so it’s important to make sure you have the right people in place. A few important traits to look for in a person: Are they flexible and open to change? Can they execute plans quickly? Meet deadlines? Are they self-starting, with a desire to constantly re-evaluate and improve their approach? This adaptive and innovative mindframe is crucial to the success of agile marketing.

Short-term goals. In waterfall marketing, goals tend to be long-term and generalized, perhaps starting with a vague idea of where you want to be in a year and then breaking that timeframe into shorter deadlines. Agile marketing, on the other hand, requires a focus on meeting short-term goals and accomplishing tasks with deadlines of weeks, days, or even hours. These short-term goals can help you stay in-tune with the industry and keep pace with today’s ever-evolving marketing world.

Quick execution. The more quickly you can accomplish tasks, the more relevant and timely your marketing can be. Look for trends and opportunities, and don’t be afraid to experiment with smaller projects. Often, this requires a “better not best” mentality. In waterfall marketing, there’s a tendency to establish and “perfect” a plan before executing. But what if, months and half of your marketing budget later, you discover that the plan wasn’t so perfect after all? If you can execute a project quickly, your marketing initiatives will be timely and relevant, and you’ll be able to quickly test them and spot ways to improve.

Review and change. One of the most important aspects of agile marketing is being able to catch problems early, so be prepared to constantly re-evaluate your efforts based on results, often adjusting and occasionally scrapping initiatives altogether. After all, failure in the short term is acceptable, but failure in the long-term is not. It’s easy to get caught up in new trends, but unless you’re continually testing the effectiveness of a specific campaign, you could be wasting substantial resources on an initiative that just isn’t producing results for your company.

For more on the benefits and specific tactics of agile marketing, be sure to check out the full recording of “Agile Marketing: Save Your Sanity” on our blog.

Molly Hoffmeister

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  1. Crazy idea! Agile marketing is the the key to success - September 12, 2012

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