Insights 25 September 2020

How Agile Helps Improve Marketing Efficiency and Gain a Competitive Edge in the Covid-19 Era

Applying the “Agile” is a concept to enhance marketing efficiency and to offer faster products and services by creating a small marketing campaign or assessing customer demand data based on a real-time, ongoing basis. Agile marketing will boost sales and offer products that better serve customer demand. Four steps of using Agile to ensure successful marketing amid the Covid-19 pandemic are including 1) defining clear goals and creating guidelines based on the mutual understanding of all stakeholders, 2) building an Agile Squad, 3) starting with a small marketing campaign, and 4) regularly measuring and evaluating results to identify new business opportunities.

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In order to achieve a competitive advantage by offering on-point products and services, modern marketers must adjust marketing strategies to stay current with rapid changes in spending habits and behaviors of Thai consumers after the Covid-19. To this end, Agile principles can be adopted to drive marketing flexibility and efficiency in the new normal.

Agile is a process of accelerating agility in communication operations among team members for better understanding and decision-making authority decentralization. Agile development de-emphasizes long-term planning in favor of short-term adaptiveness (“sprint” planning) which helps businesses cope with day-to-day changes and unexpected issues or defects more swiftly through brainstorming with numerous ideas. The Agile process enables all related parties to revise and improve products and services concurrently, creating a well-thought system. This helps strengthen core business values, better satisfy consumer needs, and minimize errors especially through close collaboration and clear communications.

In the context of marketing, Agile creates a marketing campaign flexibility where products can be quickly adjusted to satisfy consumer needs based on data analysis and customized marketing strategies. The faster the campaign is launched, the quicker the consumer response is achieved. This response is a key input for developing more appropriate campaigns for customers in a timely manner, which leads to new business opportunities and real-time problem solving.

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In practice, Agile marketing has been globally accepted by various organizations. According to the 2019 “State of Agile” survey report conducted by Digital.ai (a notable United States management solution provider) with more than 1,000 respondents from executives and business advisors across diverse industry sectors worldwide, 60% of the organizations adopting Agile principles were able to launch marketing campaigns faster and 26% experienced campaign cost reduction.

Four basic steps for implementing Agile to build up marketing flexibility and efficiency during the Covid-19 era are as follows: 

1. Defining the objectives: With every party achieving mutual understanding, this step involves setting up targets, preliminary work guidelines, a working team and a marketing campaign framework for developing marketing patterns and putting ideas into action.

2. Building an “Agile Marketing Squad”: This team is distinct from other teams within an organization. There will be around 8 members with a variety of functions and skills who assist in decision-making and coordination. This team is responsible for creating and testing new campaigns as well as applying success factors for heightening future campaign results.

3. Starting with a small marketing campaign: This will allow timely adjustments, especially when results are likely to deviate from targets. Each small campaign usually requires a small budget and takes no more than 2 weeks to finish, yet it has to be implemented constantly to see the result in the long run. At first, businesses may choose a specific customer segment as a pilot project for the campaign.

4. Measuring and evaluating results. Based on data collected from marketing campaigns, businesses will learn which campaign types are most suitable and offer the best results to ensure better efficiency in future campaign development. In addition, measuring and evaluating campaign results will assist businesses in perceiving new business opportunities for advancing growth.

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Tips for doing Agile marketing to gain even greater success: Businesses ought to consider 3 principles.

1. Learning by doing. Sometimes ideas are not supposed to be perfect for implementation. The experience resulting from the campaign can help shape a sharper development plan.

2. Encouraging coordination and sharing data across functions. The Public Relations, the Operations, and the Sales functions should communicate and centralize information in data pool so that the Marketing function can access comprehensive information about actual customer behaviors. This allows businesses to design campaigns better aligned with customer needs.

3. Paying attention to actual results rather than projections. Instead of solely relying on projections, businesses should design marketing campaigns to purposely solve current pain points of customers and serve their actual needs. At times, when projections are ready, they may be too late to keep up with changing consumer behaviors. 

In conclusion, amid fast-changing business environment and consumer behavior, Agile approach is a better solution for replacing traditional marketing ways as a mean to survive and strive for steady growth. Businesses will become flexible and ready to quickly embrace evolving consumer trends and stay ahead of rivals in the markets.