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.