Not so long time ago company software was built using a rather austere process known as the waterfall model. The process was such that developers would first gather requirements, then design everything, then code, then beta test it, and finally release the program. Each step was a process and one cannot start the step two process before completing the step one first. So for an instance, the developer couldn't start design until all requirements were locked down.
The problem with this method was that by the time the final software was released, the requirements usually changed. With no room for adjustment in the entire process, you often ended up with redundant software. One can imagine, having such kind of approach in this internet age has disaster written all over it. So somewhere along in mid-90's people started re-engineering the software process to make it efficient, and faster. These new methodologies collectively became to known as agile software development which focused on these key principles.
So in the mid-90’s, people started re-engineering the software process to make it better, faster, and more responsive to course corrections. This led to new methodologies that collectively became known as agile software development, emphasizing principles such as:
- Breaking a massive project into small projects.
- Bringing everyone together to participate in the project lifecycle.
- Shorter cycles for projects.
- Showing instead of telling, Prototypes to illustrate and refine ideas.
- Frequent communication to check progress and brainstorm on roadblocks.
- Minimise bureaucracy and establish good metrics for idea evaluation.
So one may ask what is this have to do with marketing?
When you look at this in hindsight, in many ways, marketing is similar to software development. It includes planning of major initiatives, rigid hand-offs between the different stakeholders -researchers, strategists, creatives, media buyers, etc. The entire process is time-consuming and has little or no chance of midstream alteration.
Agile Marketing brings in a process to the marketing function in a way that can maximize the available resources, provide focus, and help marketers keep their sanity. Agile Marketing is an approach to marketing that takes its inspiration from Agile Development values. Basic goals of Agile Marketing is to improve the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change of the marketing function.
It's modern marketing in a nutshell.