“Branding” and “data” are two words that shouldn’t be in the same sentence. Based on traditional marketing notions, the two are like oil and water. The problem, though, lies in that one particular word – traditional. Traditional is comfortable. Traditional is fine. Traditional is cozy. And that’s the problem – traditional is stationary. The world around us is changing every second. Comfort is great, but it doesn’t push us forward.
So what keeps society moving? Innovation, obviously, but for the sake of this context, innovation is a bit of a buzzword. It’s an answer, but it’s not the answer. It all starts with agility. Agility, simply put, is the ability to move quickly and easily. It’s not some secret word that only the most successful entrepreneurs understand. It’s the not-so-secret trick to embracing success. We know by now that speed is everything. If a company can’t deliver quickly, someone else will. That original company is officially a statistic regarding failed small businesses. Technology has fundamentally changed how people interact with brands, which has forced marketers to scramble and rediscover the basics of reaching audiences. No more are the days of creating and deploying a campaign. Originally, we saw six core steps in the process.
- Ads Negotiated
- Ads Rescheduled
- Reporting In Motion
Depending on the channel utilized, the feedback loop could easily take up to six months. The process continues on a set path, and even with various changes, it steams ahead on that path. Ultimately, once deployed, the team behind the campaign has to wait and see if it’s successful. Based on this business model, careers could be built or destroyed with the snapping of fingers.
Nowadays, there are far too many channels for this to be a relevant strategy. There’s no way a digital marketing campaign can be distilled down to six steps, or ten steps, or fifty steps – branding is an entirely different game. It’s a new world, frankly, and marketers are struggling to keep up with the speed at which technology moves. How does this new world work? A company is deploying a campaign through a direct channel. They’re looking at four key aspects of their campaign.
These four tools in the digital marketing arsenal are similar in some regards to traditional strategies, but the key change is speed. Each step can be implemented virtually immediately, particularly feedback. This is where “agile” becomes the word of the day – agility is crucial if a marketer wants to stay current with unprecedented speed. The process of creating and launching a marketing campaign can take days instead of months. Data can immediately be gathered and analyzed, and the intelligence gleaned from it can immediately be applied to the campaign.
There’s a world of difference between then and now. The possibilities today are staggering; marketers and brand managers can quickly and easily test various hypotheses and theories until they figure out what clicks. The variables that used to stump marketers are now clear as day. Message, creative copy, audience, call to action, landing pages – the list goes on. We have the tools to measure what works and what doesn’t. There’s no excuse for marketers and brand managers to ignore the tools at their disposal.
Agile branding is a collaborative, incremental, and iterative process created to optimize the effectiveness of communication between each part of the marketing ecosystem. Collaboration is key here – a campaign can land on the desks of dozens of people before being seen by an audience. Strategy has to be communicated to the design team, at which point it’s assigned to the ads management team, the reporting team, and multiple other teams that must execute with rapid agility. Strategize. Create. Execute. Learn. Repeat process.