Giant steps are what you take
Walkin' on the moon
I hope my leg don't break
Walkin' on the moon
We could walk forever
Walking on the moon
We could be together
Walking on, walking on the moon
Now that this tune is stuck in your head, you’re probably thinking, “What the heck does a Police song from 1979 have to do with agile marketing?” We all know the genius of Sting, but was he really 35 years ahead of the curve for agile?
Picture the “giant steps you take” as the wavy agile progress line in the chart. Each peak represents another bound as the moon’s one-sixth gravity effortlessly accelerates you toward increased customer engagement and response. These large advances in marketing effectiveness are easy to make when empowered by the iterative and adaptive approach of agile marketing. One small step can be amplified into a giant leap. But how do you know which small step will succeed and which will be a misstep (i.e. “I hope my leg don’t break walking on the moon”)?
The answer: the customer feedback loop of the agile process. Taking the time to listen to customers and act on their feedback is the most significant—yet most difficult—part of any agile engagement.
Let’s look at a real-world example. Imagine that your company experiences a positive—but unexpected—viral event that creates an explosion of traffic to your website. This event is short-lived (maybe 48 hours) but it’s an amazing opportunity to engage with a new audience.
Because the event is unexpected, many companies don’t make any changes to their site, simply letting the viral activity run through a standard experience. In other companies, the reaction is a 12-to-24-hour turn-around fire drill where approved updated content is only released after missing the initial spike of fresh visitors. Either way, you have a one-shot approach to get it right, and you missed it.
Giant steps are possible if your organization leverages an agile marketing approach where advanced processes allow constant review of page activity and empower team members to make incremental, real-time alterations.
Picture this: your team intercepts the spike in traffic within minutes of the viral activity. They quickly alter your homepage or microsite experience to align with the traffic drivers and capture the attention of visitors. As traffic continues increasing, you can leverage this unique opportunity to aggressively test different messages, offers or images using your A/B model. This allows your team to gather an incredible amount of customer feedback in a very short time. Plus, given the alternative of doing nothing, this is a low-risk situation
If real-time changes don’t seem like something you can immediately accomplish, slow down the timeline to a week or month while applying the same feedback. Organizations that encourage innovation and listen to their customers are at the core of agile marketing. Using customer discovery instead of static prediction helps further that focus and offers a competitive advantage in developing content and messaging that effectively targets your key personas.
The use of “we” in Sting’s lyrics suggests the endless possibilities of agile. As a manager, team leader or executive, it’s important to empower your teams to try things fearlessly, give them space to be creative and put their early ideas to work in controlled environments, all while staying within bounds of the sprint cycles, budget or other constraints.
The true key to agile marketing is to give your team the freedom to occasionally break a leg while they gather meaningful information in an effort to improve results. Finally, if you listen to your customers, you can be sure that you’ll take giant steps next time you’re walking on the moon.
Steve Gilbert is a digital and agile marketing addict who enjoys sailing and coaching hockey in his spare time. For more insight into these and other topics you can follow Steve @stevegilbert4 or on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-gilbert.