Agile Marketing in Perpetual Beta
Or… How Marketing can help you deal with the constant change within your business.
Agile Marketing in Perpetual Beta is quite a grandiose title for this blog post and it is worth a few points if we are playing business bingo. In plain English, I’m talking about how marketing can help you to deal with constant change within your business.
Why am I writing about this? Well, our marketing automation software Websand, helps users to identify opportunities and identify problem areas for their business based on the customer data that they collect. It’s a platform that supports Agile Marketing.
Change is all around us. It is the one thing that you can absolutely rely on. Every day we (hopefully) all learn a little bit more, either through daily experience or through active learning. It’s unavoidable.
In business, change is also constant. However, the awareness of change will is very different for different businesses.
Sometimes, changes are marked as events. For example the General Election – although it turns out that people were afraid of change that day.
Today is a day of ‘marked change’, it’s ‘Survival Sunday’ and as a fan/supporter or cursed follower of Newcastle United, the events of today will result in a change of some sort – perhaps positive perhaps negative. We will find out today.
How did that happen? It’s usually as a result of small incremental change. The ‘overnight success’ that appears from no-where, has usually reality been slowly building an audience over a long period of time.
What is Perpetual Beta
The official definition (Wikipedia) of Perpetual Beta is, “the keeping of software or a system at the beta development stage for an extended or indefinite period of time. It is often used by developers when they continue to release new features that might not be fully tested.”
I prefer to think of Perpetual Beta as a statement to explain constant change. Perpetual in the fact that change is constant ‘every day is a new day :)’. Beta as in how we tackle the opportunities or solve the problems that each new day brings.
I’m in the middle of reading ‘Flash Boys’ by Michael Lewis – it tells the story of high frequency traders and it’s a great but extreme example of dealing with change.
Every morning the business news tells of the ‘market reaction’ to certain news on a specific business or changes in a published economic indicator. News of these changes will be released over the course of a regular day. However, if you work in high frequency trading, change was measured in milliseconds – that is faster than it takes you to blink. Milliseconds, as that was the rate of change within the online trading markets. If you were one millisecond slow you couldn’t trade effectively and could lose millions even billions of dollars.
It is an extreme example, but it shows the importance of understanding the indicators of change within a certain business. In high frequency trading, the actual trade is irrelevant. It is the speed of trade that is important. If you are faster than the competition you are winning, if you are slower you are dead.
What is Agile
One of our clients is an Agile Practioner. Fred Pernet is one of the best in the business, and it was a pleasure to help him run a workshop at Thinking Digital earlier this week. If you search the term ‘Agile’ you will find lots of long winded explanations, I think of it as a meeting your objective though continuous improvement, and that means having the flexibility to deal with change. After all nothing every goes exactly as you planned.
Value, Flow, Quality
Fred’s workshop focused on three principles; Value, Flow, Quality
Value: Create value by delivering to your customers early and often
Flow: Optimising delivery to be as effective as possible with minimal work in progress
Quality: Ensure quality through fast customer feedback
Marketing is about communicating your business offering to create a profitable outcome. However the days of simple marketing campaigns to support brand awareness and future sales are long gone. It’s much more complex than that.
In addition to the traditional functions of campaigns, PR, advertising and events, the scope of marketing now includes websites, app development, SEO, email marketing, and social media management. Its more ‘code driven’ than ever and it’s a fact that marketing now spend more on IT than IT departments.
Agile marketing is about creating a process of continuous improvement of your marketing activity. Using uses data driven marketing to get a clear understanding of how the audience is engaging with the marketing messages your business is sending out. And getting a clear understanding of how this engagement results in a profitable outcome for the business.
The term customer journey is being increasingly used. It is used to describe a series of actions that a business wants a customer or prospect to follow to a specific outcome.
The journey is made up of ‘customer touch points’, these are interactions between a business and the audience at a specific point.
The journey point could be specified by multitude of things; the first sign up, a purchase date, a reaction to a questionnaire, a visit to a specific webpage, a lack of activity, a customer lifetime value point being reached, and so on.
The chart below outlines a typical ‘sales’ nurture process linking to a customer retention / engagement process. Driven by a coherent strategy, but activated by the behaviour of the individual customer.
In this example, the business strategy for the ‘customer journey’ is fixed, however each business/audience interaction will occur at depending upon the behaviour of the customer/prospect with the business.
Customer journeys are easy to create in principle, but need specific marketing tools to manage the ‘marketing flow’.
Allowing you to create strategic marketing (if-this=then-that) recipes based on interaction between your customers/prospects and your business.
Using marketing automation all the manual requirements of managing the customer journey are removed. Therefore, as customers hit each touch point in the customer journey, the relevant marketing message or action is then issued to ‘relevant’ customer.
Most importantly, the outcomes from each interaction are measurable, and can be easily changed.
Creating Agile Marketing
Marketing Automation allows you to create a process of ‘Agile Marketing’, continually improving your marketing through creating a process of Value, Flow and Quality.
Create value by delivering to your customers with relevance.
Optimising delivery of your marketing communications – The relevant message at the relevant time to stimulate the desired outcome.
Ensure quality of your marketing by measuring feedback of the effectiveness of each message in terms of ‘message outcome’.
Dealing with Perpetual Beta
In real terms, you have a regular rate of change within your business. Identifying the rate of change within your business can unlock a huge potential for growth. That could mean linking product lifecycles to customer buying behaviour or adding surprise and delight based on customer lifetime value.
Adopting Agile Marketing will help you to manage change and deal with ‘perpetual beta’
If you’d like to discuss Agile Marketing further, or introduce Marketing Automation into your business, get in touch and we’ll help you build your plan and become an agile marketer with as little pain as possible.