Marketing with an Agile Mindset

“In order to learn fast, we need to fail fast.” We have heard it time and time again that the key to success is being okay with failure. Walt Disney was rejected for a loan 300 times before being given the money to start building Disney World. Forbes once labeled Steve Jobs’ (at the time) new business venture a ”failure” for making “fundamentally wrong decisions that could well doom the venture”. The lesson behind failure is that it teaches you what worked and what didn’t, and this is highly valuable information.

This knowledge of what worked and what didn’t is the key to success when following the ‘Agile Process’. Agile was created initially for software developers in response to the room for improvement found in the ‘Waterfall Process’. The issue found with the waterfall process is that it requires a step to be fully completed before beginning the next step. This was simply inefficient for developing software, so the Agile process was adopted as a more productive method.

Many of the principals of Agile can be adopted by people in different areas of expertise as a way of thinking, which is most relevant to us, as marketers.

As mentioned previously, Agile is a process well familiar with the concept of failure.  In fact, it embraces failure. A lesson using the concept of making pottery is commonly used when explaining the Agile mindset to someone who is unfamiliar:

Two separate groups of art students are given a task- the first group (Group 1) is required to create as many works of pottery as possible, while the other (Group 2) is required to make one work of pottery that is the absolute best they can create. Group 1 produces as many pieces of pottery as possible as fast as they can, while Group 2 very carefully creates a single piece of pottery with slow and mindful movements. Which class completed the best work?

Group #1 completed the best work as they let themselves experience trial and error! They quickly found what worked, what didn’t, and improved their next piece.

So, how can you adopt the Agile process to improve your marketing? Embrace failure, don’t settle for stagnant results, and learn from what went wrong. If you recently implemented a new marketing plan and things aren’t going as planned, don’t give up. Pause your efforts, analyze what is going wrong, and adjust accordingly.

A great way to analyze results is through analytics. Whether you use a professional application or simply the basic analytics included on each social platform, you can typically find what is going well in your social plan and what needs improving.

Using the Agile process in marketing relies on the belief that Agile marketing is neither a sprint nor a marathon. Agile marketing is a commitment to practicing the Agile mindset every day because this consistency will in time, yield significant and lasting results.

These days, companies are becoming increasingly competitive and being innovative is a large piece of succeeding in this competition. Using the Agile way of thinking will give you a leg up against your competitors and help propel your business forward in every discipline. Remember this basic premise to successfully use the Agile way of thinking: fail faster to succeed faster