What Is Agile Marketing?

Just as market research is undergoing an agile revolution, so has marketing realized the need to get faster, more targeted, and more responsive. The resulting rise of agile marketing has created a new breed of marketers who forgo hierarchy and bulky, massive campaigns in favor of collaboration and rapid iteration. The goal of agile marketing is to help marketers adapt to the accelerated pace of a dynamic market. It can be helpful to think of agile marketing as a form of sustainable marketing: a process-oriented approach that maintains constant momentum and pipeline while welcoming and planning for change.

Technology Made Us This Way

Agile market research and agile marketing share a lot of the same origins, which makes sense, since their functions are so closely related. Both are spurred by technological advancements that make consumer data more accessible and up-to-date: things like cookies (the digital kind), social media, and other online interactions. Neither industry was as quick to take advantage as advertising was, but both have since recognized how valuable such targeted data can be. Just as researchers need relevant and actionable consumer insights relevant to make informed decisions about product development, so do marketers need those insights to ensure the right content is shown to the right audience at the right time. So it seems that agile marketing needs agile research; but how can the two processes sync up?

Where Agile Marketing Meets Agile Research

Great marketing requires close alignment with not only sales and business development, but also with research. Market researchers help determine the target audience and market performance of your product or service, and marketing can use this data to develop campaigns that help ensure those benchmarks are successfully met.

Marketers already have some tools to accomplish this: market analytics helps otherwise overwhelming data sources like email lists and website visitors to validate marketing opportunities, actions, and challenges. But when the info about an audience leaves marketers wanting to know more, they should consider teaming up with market research to ask the questions that will provide the context to craft an effective, holistic marketing strategy. Here are just a few examples of opportunities to leverage all your interdepartmental might.

1. Content Marketing Assets. Developing assets for education and distribution is a never-ending challenge for marketers. Your research team may be sitting on some interesting findings that would make for a great case study, or even provide convincing data to support a marketing claim. Don’t hesitate to lean on research for some valuable insights that could make for authoritative and thought-leading material.

2. Creative and Copy. Testing your creative should already be a part of your advertising plan. But to make it more agile, be prepared to provide your research team with stimuli that are contextualized and as close to the way they will be published as possible. Be prepared to adapt if consumers don’t respond the way you hoped, and respond accordingly with insightful iterations.

3. Shopper and Product Marketing. Agile research can be especially useful at uncovering the way consumers shop. Qualitative research like mobile shop-alongs and shelf test assessment can provide in-the-moment feedback on crucial points of sale and retail locations, helping you to better understand what shopper marketing methods are working best.

Above all, agile marketing is iterative, capitalizing on short marketing experiments and frequent customer insights to react quickly and appropriately to evolving market conditions. Incorporating the advantages of agile market research will only help to maintain this continuous, rapid, and adaptive development. For an example of how small beverage brand Suja leveraged quantitative and qualitative research to unveil consumer preferences that informed agile marketing decisions on a tight deadline, check out the case study below.

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