Agile Marketing and How It Applies to Content Creation & Optimization

Jessica Baum, Director of Marketing, Product and Channel

 

Why is Agile permeating through organizations? Agile principles gained roots in IT by providing organizations a more adaptive planning process. When applied correctly, it encourages early delivery, with swift and flexible response to change. Development teams across all size organizations see success from adopting this evolutionary development style, that focuses on iterations and continuous improvement. 

We now see this methodology being borrowed from IT and working its way into the marketing function. Featuring its own benefit stack, Agile Marketing pivots from traditional methods to a more iterative experience. The change it brings to processes can truly transform the output of highly adaptive messaging that can increase campaign performance.

Agile principles shine particularly bright in content marketing because consumer intelligence, economic shifts, market trends, immerging technologies and competitive positions change with increasing speed. Traditional marketing practices can slow down the process of meeting consumer demands, staying relevant and exceeding competitors’ strategies.

‘A systematic way to create exceptional experiences’

“B2B marketing can’t be generic and boring anymore if we want to have an impact,” says Andrea Fryrear, president and lead trainer at AgileSherpas, who informs us in their 1st Annual State of Agile Marketing Report that efficiency and productivity of Agile has been adopted by 37% of marketers surveyed in 2018. Moreover, (sixty-one percent say they’re planning to use Agile in the next year.)

The adoption of Agile enables marketers to actively collaborate on ways to better connect with their audiences, and deliver new value and communications that nurture lasting relationships. Agile exercises indulge marketers in the work that often gets lost as they fight for budget, struggle to keep up with the content crunch, and balance campaign performance against stiff proformas. 

The Agile Effect On Content Creation

The Agile technique of defining user stories has found wide adoption among marketers — 51% of respondents to the “1st Annual State of Agile Marketing Report” leverage user stories as an Agile best practice. The one-sentence summaries of work, aid content teams by focusing on the audience with statements like:

As a health care insurance IT director, I would like an eBook to explain how a vendor’s document management solutions will integrate with my tech stack and ensure security across user devices.

Fryrear says marketers don’t need to stick to a set format for their user stories. In fact, adding detail can help them track progress in content creation. The Who might include more than a title — some characteristics for the IT director may be “cost-center manager, under-valued professionals with enterprise-wide responsibility.” Similarly, the What may expand with some challenges like “protection from ransomware and hacking, monitoring of BYOD hardware security provisions.” And Why may grow to “security depends on vendor innovation and stability.”

Wordier stories give marketing teams more items to check off as steps toward content success and help ensure creators stay on message no matter what asset types they execute.

Content Optimization Institutionalized

Frequent releases, the second most popular Agile method, adopted by 47% of marketers, supports continuous improvement of content marketing by asset and campaign. Initial research and iteration run through in-market experiments to produce greater output. The results, newly identified personas and additional research contribute to revisions and reissues. Like a game of telephone, the end campaign may hardly resemble the beginning, but that’s the idea.

Fryrear referred to this in her 2018 B2BMX presentation as getting big without going big, thus without failing big. Instead risk remains low as content takes optimal shape, enabling fast growth after successful testing of small but smart strategies.

The benefits of Agile marketing as identified by AgileSherpa research include:

  • Ability to change gears quickly in response to feedback – 54.8%
  • Better visibility to project status – 51.6%
  • Higher quality of work – 46.8%
  • Quicker identification of problems and roadblocks – 40.5%
Let’s Get Agile

Calls for transparency, communication and accountability echo across the enterprise. Agile techniques including user stories and frequent releases deliver results by exposing processes in more detail compared to traditional marketing practices. Furthermore, iterative releases enable targeted, focused feedback to small outputs rather than mega campaigns.

In review, it may be time to reflect the pace of change across your industry in response to shifting demands through fast-adapting content marketing. Reach out to Content4Demand to get started on your Agile trajectory.