“The days of the big-bang campaign are gone. We don’t have time to spend months baking ideas and putting a big bang into market.”--Kim Wells, Chief Marketing and Digital Officer, Scottrade.
Today’s marketplace demands iteration, experimentation, and embracing failure as a path to growth. Agile marketers recognize the importance of taking calculated risks and learning from them. That’s why, together, "iterative and experimental" is another set of seven agile marketing principles identified by CMG Partners’ upcoming CMO’s Agenda, an annual study founded on insights from more than 40 lead marketers that are exploring and embracing the agile advantage.
Iteration drives quick and intentional improvement; experimentation nurtures innovation. Shorter time frames enable marketers to launch, improve, or try something new every few weeks. Good data (see part 2 of this series), a few small bets, and a tolerance for failure create an environment in which initiatives are revised on the go as conditions and requirements evolve (see part 1) and experiments lead to game-changing initiatives. It’s not about perfect--it’s about good enough.
What Agile Marketers Do Differently
Agile marketing organizations gain a competitive advantage by following three simple rules:
1. Commit to learning: Trying new things and chronicling what works and doesn’t build institutional knowledge that leads to smarter operations and better results. Use data and transparency to share learnings about successes and failures.
2. Encourage failure: Employees understand that it’s OK to take risks and learn as long as they don’t make the same mistake twice. In some company cultures, it’s expected that a percent of budget will go to wild experiments. Failure is often where the best learning occurs.
3. Nail it, then scale it: New ideas are tested through small, low-risk rollouts and trials before taking them to a larger scale. These smaller bets yield information that creates more successful projects and avoids major fails.
Agile organizations innovate incrementally, replacing the major step-change with small iterations and tiny experiments. They don’t wait for perfect. By getting to market faster, they learn what’s effective and what’s not, and they have ample opportunities to iterate and increase relevance.
Why You Should Care
Data-driven iterations and experiments build competitive advantage with breakthrough ideas. Agility is valuable if you’re dealing with unpredictable markets or projects that benefit from small improvements rather than huge initiatives. And the test-and-learn mind-set is especially appealing to marketers already relying on testing and hypotheses because the big ideas that push profits come from small adaptations and bold experiments.
Next week we will explore the "clear and transparent " principle.
Request your early copy of the Agenda today.
Read previous article, “Agile Marketing Principles, Part 2: Data-Driven.”