12 Tools to put in your Agile Marketing Toolbox

We are beginning to hear more of the term “agile marketing,” and we believe there are some powerful ideas within—but who has time to reinvent how they do their marketing? So we’ve broken down agile marketing practices into smaller parts that can be added in stages. Here are 12 concepts we think should be part of every marketer’s repertoire...not all at once, but added one at a time.


1. Customer development manifesto

Steve Blank’s Customer Development Manifesto explains the best ways a business can create a customer base. This first step, especially for startups, is vital.



2. Customer development process

The customer development and the product development processes should be linked. Develop with your end user in mind, and test messages, features, price and more to determine what goes in your product and what you can leave out. These processes should influence each other.


3. Pivots (Changes in the Plan)

Measure as you go. If something’s not working, make a pivot—Pivot = change in product or business. Never be afraid to make changes as you discover what your customer really wants to buy...or exactly who your customer is. Improving things that didn’t work quite right at first is not failure! Failing to make changes before you run out of customers and revenue is! (see below for more about failing)


4. Customer journey

A customer’s journey starts long before they buy something from a business. If you meet them at the early stages of their journey and provide useful content and resources along their way, you have a better chance to actually be considered when they are ready to purchase. http://torque.digital/2015/05/26/the-customer-journey-from-the-customer’s-perspective


5. Minimum Viable Product

Create something that can be complete, though imperfect. Invest your limited time and resources by getting these ‘rough drafts’ in the hands of potential customers to get their feedback, and make changes to lessen the chance of heading in the wrong direction.  



6. No marketing plan survives first contact with customers

You have a great idea. It’s great...in theory. But when you put it into practice, you will inevitably find snags or holes—but that’s good, because now you have the opportunity to make your marketing system better. Embrace trial and error.  


7. Marketing plan Vs Searching for the Marketing Model

There are plans and then there are models. Plans are static and can’t anticipate all the variables and changes in the market. They are written with the limited knowledge held at the beginning. Developing and following a marketing model is how you get your company really smart about what customers want, now and in the future. Models are frameworks that let users adjust to unpredicted conditions. They keep us resilient. The US constitution is a model. So is business model generation. http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/downloads/businessmodelgeneration...


8. Fall in love with failure

You may agree with this in concept. Or maybe not. Either way, it’s one of the most valuable qualities a business owner can develop. But it’s never easy. Another way to think: many little failures as part of a big plan add up to success. Giant all-or-nothing failures are just colossal failures.


9. Track burn rate and test cycles

Always measure as you go, but be sure to measure the right things. For example, established companies can focus on creating efficiencies. Startup and growth businesses, however, need to put everything they can afford into developing their customers...and the right products for them.  



10. Iterative, small, fast tests

Test, test, test. Instead of one big test, do little ones as you go so you can change things along the way. Remember this is only a test and you are trying to fail...until you have the proof needed to succeed.


11. Bullets Vs Cannonballs

A term coined by the marketing expert Jim Collins, "shooting bullets" helps you line up the right shot before firing your full-on cannonball. He found this to be the practice of successful companies everywhere.



12. Buy-in

Customer development is a unique process and requires all departments of your company to buy-in and collaborate. This is very different stuff!



12 Actionable steps for the buzzword. Be brave. Assume nothing. Go forth and be agile!