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Why agile marketing is key to planning for an unpredictable future

Watch the full panel, 'Agile marketing is about focus, not speed,' in partnership with Neustar

Agile marketing has helped marketers navigate Covid-19, but it shouldn’t be limited to times of crisis. Marketers should prioritise it as the world emerges from lockdown, according to a digital panel by The Drum in partnership with Neustar, hosted by The Drum co-founder and editor-in-chief Gordon Young.

The panel identified how best to implement agile marketing and explored its benefits, from being able to track and adapt marketing budget to being able to successfully plan for the future.

“The pandemic has been a litmus test as to where your organisation is on the curve of analytics maturity,” said Neustar’s head of growth for marketing solutions (EMEA & APAC), Mark Gooding. “Because either you’ve been able to react quickly, or you haven’t.”

Customer-Centric Planning

The panel affirmed that scenario-planning was crucial to ensuring that agile marketing fulfills its potential.

“We were able to be very reactive when the crisis came,” said Vodafone Group’s global senior digital marketing manager, Sinem Soydar. “Because we had already tested scenarios. So, we looked at the best scenarios we had tested before and tried to optimise them [for use during the pandemic].”

She conceded that Vodafone had been surprised by Covid-related developments in some of its markets but said that forward-planning had helped it to navigate those challenges and create an agile marketing strategy to help it achieve its central KPI: new customer acquisition.

Soydar explained that Vodafone relied on combining planning with real-time data to ensure that it was marketing as effectively as it could. “We used our analytical experts to look at dashboards such as MTA (multi-touch attribution) so it was easier to map the right audience and time for the campaign,” she said.

Watch the full digital panel on-demand here.

Backed by data

Gooding agreed that having access to real-time data - and being able to analyse it - was crucial to agile marketing’s effectiveness.

“Agile marketing is defined by having the right data, the right stakeholders, agreed-on KPIs and a constant cadence of analysis which informs your plans,” he confirmed. “Sitting down and tracking marketing performance according to the plan and then being able to correct course and adjust in real time - that is something our clients are doing. It leads to better decisions and quicker response times.”

He added that marketing mix modelling allowed businesses to measure the base demand for their product or service, and to see how marketing activity affected that.

“You have to understand what is going to happen driven by the market or situation and then understand how marketing impacts incrementally on top of that. When you have that understanding then you can build those scenarios to predict what will happen week by week or month by month, and you can be truly agile,” he said.

Soydar agreed that agility was ultimately only possible when backed by data.

“Being agile is a team’s north star and it means having measurable KPIs - which means you need to measure everything against them - and be able to analyse that data,” she said. “You can’t be agile without visibility of data and if can’t come up with insights then you will be working on assumptions, which could lead you the wrong way.”

Gooding added that no matter how far their businesses were on the agile marketing curve, all marketers should prioritise establishing it.

“It’s been a crazy 2020 - and we’re only halfway through - but the companies that are agile today are positioning themselves well for success next year."

To learn more about why agile marketing is about focus, not speed, watch the full digital panel.

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