Agile Mar­ket­ing is a grow­ing trend for 2017, but how do B2B mar­keters imple­ment it? Worka­to’s VP of Growth, Bhaskar Roy, details how busi­ness­es can embrace Agile Mar­ket­ing through automa­tion, and achieve the increased lev­el of col­lab­o­ra­tion between depart­ments that is required for busi­ness growth.

Agile Mar­ket­ing isn’t a new con­cept. Mod­eled off of the Agile Soft­ware Devel­op­ment method, the term has been cir­cu­lat­ing for a few years, and it means more col­lab­o­ra­tion between depart­ments, using data to mon­i­tor a cam­paign’s effec­tive­ness, and using those insights to deter­mine what is or isn’t work­ing. This may seem obvi­ous for many B2B mar­keters — and it should — mar­ket­ing should be agile by nature. The only real road­block to Agile Mar­ket­ing is effec­tive­ly imple­ment­ing it.

Roadblocks for Implementing B2B Agile Marketing

In a sur­vey by Apri­mo, three out of four respon­dents said the “agili­ty of Mar­ket­ing Oper­a­tions” was a mar­ket­ing chal­lenge and yet, accord­ing to Forbes, 2017 just might be the year Agile Mar­ket­ing goes main­stream. Ed Breault, VP of mar­ket­ing and indus­try solu­tions for Apri­mo, says the biggest ene­my of agile mar­ket­ing is, “Lega­cy: lega­cy sys­tems, lega­cy men­tal­i­ty, lega­cy process.” This is exact­ly why, if Forbes’ pre­dic­tion is going to come true, automa­tion will like­ly play a big part in it.

Most B2B mar­keters have already moved to the cloud, using SaaS apps like Mar­ke­to, Sales­force, MailChimp, Inter­com, Sur­vey­Mon­key, Eventbrite, etc. doing away with Breault’s first ene­my: lega­cy sys­tems. The next chal­lenges are lega­cy men­tal­i­ty and process, and for those already using cloud apps, that means man­u­al data trans­fer is the cul­prit.

Take the process of lead nur­tur­ing for exam­ple. The most impor­tant ele­ment is ensur­ing you make mean­ing­ful con­tact with the lead every step of the way, as this has the largest impact on the con­ver­sion rate from lead to pay­ing cus­tomer. But it can be chal­leng­ing to fol­low-up in the method­i­cal, data-dri­ven way that Agile Mar­ket­ing requires because of the many man­u­al steps:

  • Leads stored in dis­parate cloud apps must be trans­ferred into a cen­tral repos­i­to­ry via man­u­al data entry
  • Man­u­al data entry wastes time that could be used for high­er lev­el activ­i­ties
  • Man­u­al data entry increas­es the chances of errors and dupli­ca­tion and also allows for lim­i­ta­tions in human mem­o­ry ie. for­get­ting to fol­low up with new leads
  • To access nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion about leads, some­one must go into an app and man­u­al­ly lead cleanse and triage data, cre­at­ing yet anoth­er block in the lead fun­nel

It’s clear that not hav­ing this data in a cen­tral place hin­ders a mar­keter’s abil­i­ty to make data-dri­ven deci­sions, but man­u­al­ly mov­ing the data cre­ates a new set of prob­lems. Every activ­i­ty per­formed by the lead, like view­ing a Webi­nar, down­load­ing an eBook, must also be record­ed and scored to get a clear idea of how the nur­tur­ing is work­ing. Man­u­al­ly tag­ging and scor­ing based on the activ­i­ty by the per­son is prone to errors and does not scale.

Here’s where automa­tion comes in. By inte­grat­ing the dif­fer­ent cloud apps used by a com­pa­ny, data can auto­mat­i­cal­ly flow into a cen­tral place with­out an admin wast­ing time or wor­ry­ing about cre­at­ing bad data. Fur­ther­more, every action tak­en by the lead can be auto­mat­i­cal­ly record­ed and scored, and work­flows can be built so that when a lead reach­es a cer­tain score thresh­old, the appro­pri­ate sales­per­son is auto­mat­i­cal­ly noti­fied.

Bringing Agile Marketing to the Masses

When automat­ing work­flows by inte­grat­ing cloud apps, the same rules apply — lega­cy inte­gra­tion plat­forms are the ene­my of agile mar­ket­ing. They are not flex­i­ble, don’t work with all mar­ket­ing apps, and are built with the notion that inte­gra­tions and work­flows don’t change.

A core com­po­nent of Agile Mar­ket­ing is that mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties will be iter­a­tive in nature and work­flows will shift based on what’s work­ing and what is not. Per­haps a com­pa­ny is gath­er­ing leads from sev­er­al sources, like Unbounce, Eventbrite etc., and cre­ates inte­gra­tions to get them into Sales­force. Anoth­er automa­tion also moves new event atten­dees from Eventbrite into the cor­re­spond­ing MailChimp cam­paign. As com­pa­nies run var­i­ous mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, like webi­na­rs using GoToWe­bi­nar, ebook down­load cam­paigns on Face­book, or retar­get­ing ads based on pre­vi­ous inter­ac­tions — exist­ing mar­ket­ing automa­tion will not only change but will require the con­stant addi­tion of new ones that can eas­i­ly be test­ed. Lega­cy inte­gra­tion plat­forms can­not han­dle these changes because a cus­tom code is time-inten­sive to cre­ate and it does not scale quick­ly.

At its core, Agile Mar­ket­ing means the days of cre­at­ing a long-term mar­ket­ing plan and stick­ing to it are gone — B2B mar­keters should be test­ing cam­paigns and adjust­ing them on a reg­u­lar basis. For this to be pos­si­ble, busi­ness­es need to con­sid­er imple­ment­ing an agile inte­gra­tion plat­form to help achieve their mar­ket­ing goals. With automa­tion, the tran­si­tion to Agile Mar­ket­ing is easy, auto­mat­i­cal­ly increas­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion between depart­ments and allow­ing for mod­i­fi­ca­tions as the strat­e­gy shifts.