5 Ways to Use Marketing Automation for More Agile Marketing

You’ve probably heard about “waterfall” marketing, which involves setting long-term goals and carefully planning steps to accomplish them. But what about “agile” marketing, its more efficient yet much more obscure cousin?

The term “agile” comes from the software world, and refers to managing cumbersome processes in a streamlined and efficient way — and when you think about it, marketing really isn’t all that different. The average marketer typically has reactive and proactive campaigns running on a daily basis, not to mention the growing number of marketing channels that they’re expected to engage on. An agile approach to marketing is exactly what’s needed to keep all of these disparate programs in line.

Agile marketing is characterized by an adaptive, fast-paced, trial and error approach to campaigns. Mathew Sweezey, Marketing Evangelist at Pardot, recommends taking an agile approach to a number of your marketing programs, specifically: drip nurturing, paid search, webinars, social campaigns, email marketing, and content marketing (you can learn more about specific agile marketing campaigns in Mathew’s webinar here).

Keep in mind that taking a more agile approach to your marketing strategy doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel. Let’s take a look at a few ways that marketing automation can factor into agile marketing to make your life easier:

1. A/B test your landing pages to constantly improve.

The idea behind agile marketing? “Better not best.” Instead of shooting for perfect one time, adjust your campaigns incrementally by measuring and optimizing based on your results. This is true for landing pages in the same way that it’s true for your overall campaigns. Use any testing capabilities you have at your disposal, like A/B testing, to try different combinations of variables that might improve your performance. In Mathew’s words, “Execute. Evaluate. Repeat.”

2. Set up weekly reports that you can receive via email.

Instead of waiting until the end of the month or quarter to pull your campaign numbers, an agile approach dictates that you measure your results on a more frequent basis. That way, if there’s a spike or a drop in your numbers, you can investigate immediately instead of reacting to results at the last minute. Monitor performance regularly to keep campaigns running smoothly.

3. React to real-time alerts.

Agile marketing is defined by its “strike while the iron is hot” mentality, and this applies to sales and marketing alike. With marketing automation, sales reps don’t have to rely on a schedule (or their marketing team) to reach out to prospects. Real-time alerts let them know when prospects are interacting with marketing content on their site, giving them the intel they need to reach out in a meaningful way.

4. Create an agile drip.

Instead of building out entire lead nurturing programs from start to finish (a tactic characteristic of the “waterfall” approach to marketing), build out drip programs three emails at a time. Before creating email number four, look at your drip reports to see what worked and what didn’t. This will give you a foundation to work from for your next three emails, and so on and so on.

5. Report on stages of the sales cycle.

Agile reporting requires an understanding of the stages of the sales cycle, so that you can view your lead flow incrementally as leads progress through the sales funnel (you should be sensing a pattern here!). By reporting on each stage of the sales cycle, you can see where leads are stalling, where there might be holes, and where leads are moving much more rapidly. Use this information to continually optimize your sales funnel and increase speed through the pipe.

Want more information on agile marketing? Take a look at Sweezey’s full webinar, “Keep Calm and Agile On.”

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