The future of work has been completely reshaped as a result of the pandemic. Both employers and employees have been awakened to the advantages of virtual and home working, but this has also thrown up its own challenges including ‘the great resignation’. But for marketing agencies, adopting an agile approach is one of the ways they can manage some of the workforce challenges caused by this seismic shift.
Agile marketing is no longer a niche methodology for marketing organisations. Our own 2021 annual survey found that over 50% of marketers are adopting agile marketing to respond faster and build resilience. More and more organisations are adopting agile marketing principles, and the gap between those that do and those that don’t is going to get bigger as a result. Marketing organisations who adopt agile are better placed to adapt to changing circumstances, whether that be external factors influencing a campaign, or internal factors impacting the running of your business.
The great resignation
Agile practices will be needed to handle the talent shift many industries are currently going through, including marketing. Internationally, a staggering 41% of the global workforce was considering leaving their employer in 2021, according to the 2021 Work Trend Index by Microsoft.
In the UK, the number of job vacancies rose to a record high of 1,102,00 between July to September 2021 according to Accenture Fjord Trends 2022. In particular, agile marketing expertise are scarce because it is still a relatively new concept for marketers.
It may be considered smarter to build this agile capability internally, so organisations can benefit from cross functional and capability-based teams, whilst building a growth mindset culture with their teams. Marketers need a productive and empowering environment that encourages development and entices them to join or stay in your organisation. Investing in agile marketing training and embedding new ways of working can make you a destination employer making recruitment and retention that much easier.
As we begin to learn to live with Covid-19, it is clear that hybrid working is here to stay as the benefits are obvious and favourable for both employers and employees. While working from home has its work-life balance advantages, some employees also miss bonding with colleagues and access to mentors, especially those in their early careers. Agile marketing helps marketing teams adapt to this new normal both in terms of processes and in the implementation of new tools. Agile working practices help to break down barriers between employees and traditional ways of working, enabling teams to work at their best and most efficient. These agile working practices accelerated by hybrid working will attract new generations of top talent.
Change is a constant. Agile marketing doesn’t just mean that you can respond and adapt quickly to change, but it gives you new ways of working that equip you to handle business transformation of all kinds.
Agile marketing principles encourage marketers to only plan to a level sufficient to ensure effective prioritisation and execution so that they can quickly adapt to anticipated change. Other principles include organising in small, cross-functional teams where possible and learning through data and experiments rather than relying on opinion or past experience, all designed to enable marketers to respond and adapt to new developments and constant change.
Agile marketing can also help with staff retention as it helps create empowered individuals and teams, and empowered individuals are less likely to quit. The fifth principle of agile marketing according to the agile marketing manifesto is ‘build marketing programmes around motivated individuals and trust them to get the job done’. As teams mature in their application of agile marketing, they become more confident and empowered to make decisions autonomously.
Dan Meek, CEO at global leadership consultancy, LIW, follows this rule with both his internal team and clients, “we encourage our leadership clients to adopt agile principles to help create the right conditions for their teams and their business to succeed.”
Agile isn’t the future, it’s now
Currently the marketing industry is being heavily impacted by these significant changes to how people are working. But by adopting agile marketing principles, organisations can set themselves up to manage and adapt to ongoing and different types of change, whatever that change may be.
Jim Ewel, Founder of the Agile Marketing Manifesto summarises:
“We’re currently experiencing a period of intense change and disruption which some marketing organisations may struggle to survive. But organisations that embrace agile marketing methods are the ones who are most likely to succeed now and, in the future, as they will be more efficient, more customer focused and able to adapt to whatever challenges they may be faced with.”