Expert commentator | Smart Insights | Fri, 14 Oct 2016 14:00:00 +0000

Agile and real-time marketing campaigns needs planning for if your going to get it right

There’s one thing that’s certain on the internet: things move fast. And those early bird online marketers, so to speak, get the worm (meaning the traffic). Staying ahead of the game is very important when it comes to standing out from the sea of content and advertising available to modern consumers.

To capture the attention of target audiences, companies need to employ a good agile marketing strategy. Agile marketing exploits topics that are trending on the internet and social media to remain relevant at any given time. Basically, agile marketing means that a company or a brand quickly produces small amounts of content tailored to whatever topic that has the public captivated at the moment.

Agile marketing is timely, flexible, and attention grabbing. Companies absolutely must invest in developing an agile brand to quickly adapt to changing market trends and remain flexible no matter what. Brands that are not agile in this manner quickly fade into obscurity.

Though agile marketing depends on topics that interest people at a given time, just any popular topic is not suitable for adopting into your campaign. Let’s look at several topics that will help your company truly benefit from agile marketing to stay competitive in a fast changing environment:

1.    Be Ready, but Don’t Make Assumptions

Agile marketers must always be alert and ready to produce content as the next big story drops. It requires such a level of alertness that sometimes marketers feel like they need to predict the future. Some successful agile marketing campaigns do show an uncanny ability to be timely; it really makes people wonder if seers are being employed.

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For example, Oreo cookies created a very lovely ad for the signature cookie with fillings in all the colors of the rainbow. The ad oh-so surprisingly coincided with the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalizing of same sex marriage. The ad was a hit on social media and received unprecedented amounts of likes and shares. In another example, a British pastry company ran a front page ad on The Sun right above a breaking news story about the Prime Minister imposing a “pasty tax.â€pasty tax

So, how can your brand jump on the bandwagon at just the right time, and not a moment before or after? Your marketing team will need to come up with a plan. However, this plan should be very open to any last-minute changes. Agile marketing tactics do not respond well to timetables.

The agile marketing team should have members who are always monitoring the news and social media for the next big story and trending topics. Instead of planning ideas, write down the goals you need to express with each advertisement. Goals are relevant regardless of the topic.

2.    Produce Many Small Articles

It’s very difficult to predict the next big story that’s about to drop even if your company employs the most sophisticated research tools. If your campaign is waiting to produce extensive ads or content aimed at a particular breaking news story, your brand will most likely miss the mark.

Rather, the best chance for your brand to hit the target lies on small content and quick ads produced in short bursts, or cycles. With regular online marketing, brands usually spend too much time and resources on a single strategy. With agile marketing, the strategy is simple: produce as much content as possible and hope one takes off.

The advantage in this strategy is that you don’t spend many resources on an ad that might fail. Also, when you produce a lot of content or ads, chances of at least one going viral are high.

3.    Topics that are Already Popular Don’t Matter

Do not confuse trending topics with topics that are already popular. Trending topics are items that are just grabbing the attention of the public. There are generally more searches and buzz around such topics. Popular topics have an already established follower base. Agile marketing tactics won’t work with this crowd.

The idea of agile marketing is to get on the train just as it’s about the leave the station. Your brand can grab the initial attention rather easily before big names overtake the advertising space. You need to be ready to produce content for things that are becoming popular. As mentioned, these topics are hard, or even impossible, to predict in advance. A perfect example is the cornucopia of adverts quickly deployed after Protein World’s extremely controversial ad drew national attention.

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But, you can bet on certain upcoming events, like the release of a summer blockbuster or a celebrity wedding, to generate public interest as the date approaches. For such topics, you can plan and have content ready just as the topics being trending.

A good example of such marketing is the London 2012 Olympics games. British businesses knew the date years in advance, but only began to advertise as soon as the public interest piqued close to the date of the opening ceremony.

4.    Prepare Some Content in Advance

You shouldn’t allow your ads to get lost in comments sections of popular trending topics. Sometimes it’s difficult to come up with content right off the bat. So it helps to have at least some content prepared in advance.

Aim to produce timely content for events that you already know will be trending in the future. The Super Bowl, big elections, an upcoming visit from a notable dignitary, and so on are examples. Also, you can always pre-produce content based on the user feedback your company receives on social media and by email. Old Spice’s “I’m on a horse†video ad is a golden example of agile marketing based on user feedback done right.

5.    Think Twice Before Posting

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and post really stupid ads to capitalize on trending topics. So, don’t rush to produce agile content and ads.

For example, in 2014, DiGiorno Pizza decided to capitalize on a trending hashtag at the time that read #WhyIStayed.

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DiGiorno posted this under the hashtag: “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.†The hashtag, of course, was about domestic violence. DiGiorno’s tweet certainly attracted attention, but not in the way the company hoped. Later, the pizza maker apologized, stating the company had not actually checked out what the hashtag was about.

Do not end up like DiGiorno. Despite popular belief, not any publicity is good publicity, especially for companies. It’s always important to think deeply about how the general public might perceive your agile content and ads.

6.    Evaluate Successes

As with all types of marketing, it’s important to evaluate each agile technique you employ to know what works and what doesn’t. Experts recommend companies to adopt the Scrum methodology to make agile marketing more effective.

Scrum principles tell marketers to plan, implement, review, and evaluate an agile sprint in retrospective. The agile marketing team should regularly meet to complete these steps. Evaluation in this way is important in not wasting time and money when using agile techniques in real time.

7.    Don’t Keep All Your Eggs in One Basket

Agile marketing is not an all-in-one marketing strategy. Agile marketing techniques should only be part of a larger and more comprehensive marketing strategy for your brand to benefit.

You can use agile marketing to grab attention using timely trends. But you do need a long-term strategy focusing on developing extensive and well researched ads, tailored for your target audience and returning customers. Agile marketing does not allow for good planning. However, good planning is necessary for a marketing strategy to succeed.

It’s recommended that only 10 percent of your marketing time should be dedicated towards agile tactics. About 20 percent should be automatically generated using data gathered. The majority, the remaining 70 percent of your marketing campaign, should be well planned, data based, and created with a clear set of goals in mind. Your campaign will only succeed if all three are adopted well.

Aim to make your agile marketing campaign malleable, but with a clear set of goals. Be ready to make an impression on short notice. But take care to not make the wrong impression. Last but not least, constantly evaluate strategies and goals to make sure the campaign is headed in the right direction.