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January 03, 2022

Traditional Marketing Plans vs. Agile Marketing: Which Works Better?

By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist

Agile software development is a popular methodology that prioritizes high-value features, frequent releases, and continual improvement over long development periods and full-scale releases. This methodology allows developers to quickly push their product to market, get feedback, and make adjustments based on data collected about each release.

Other industries have caught on to the benefits of agile development and implemented their own version of it, including marketers. Businesses find that it makes their teams more productive and better aligns their marketing with their organization’s overall goals. Agile marketing helps companies move quickly and focus on projects with the highest returns.

Comparing traditional and agile marketing

Traditional and agile marketing have foundational differences in how teams plan, execute, and evaluate work.

Agile marketing moves quickly and makes intelligent, incremental changes based on past successes and failures. Where traditional marketing plans require months of work up-front, agile marketers deliver early and often. Agile teams prioritize high-value projects they can complete in one- or two-week sprints, using their time more effectively and generating a higher ROI.

Agile marketing is also data-driven. Every piece of content, paid ad, and social media post does double duty as market research, and data collected about them is used to plan the next sprint. Traditional teams don’t see the results of their work on a campaign until after they launch it.

Finally, agile marketing teams break down the siloes and hierarchies of a traditional team and use collaboration to their advantage. Agile teams have regular meetings, and every member contributes to each project using their unique skillset. This level of collaboration goes hand-in-hand with agility; instead of focusing on individual long-term projects, team members are all working together to achieve the goals they set together at the beginning of each sprint.

A few examples of agile marketing in practice are:

  • Optimizing landing pages with calls to action and clear points of conversion in favor of redesigning an entire website.
  • Writing and publishing one or two blog posts a week instead of spending weeks working on a large ebook in a silo with no feedback.
  • Reorganizing website architecture and updating content to capitalize on high-authority pages instead of launching a campaign to rank on a brand new set of keywords.

Traditional vs. agile: which one is better?

Marketing teams that believe their traditional marketing process is successful might not see an agile approach as necessary or beneficial. However, agile marketing has clear benefits for marketing teams and businesses.

If your team is struggling to get the results you’re looking for with your marketing activities, an agile marketing strategy can empower you to take control of your process and results. When market forces or customer needs change, agile marketing allows you to change direction and focus on content that converts. Surveys have shown that agile marketing makes your marketing efforts and your team members more efficient and effective:

  • 98% of organizations say they have experienced success with an agile marketing project. 
  • 53% of agile marketing teams say they have experienced increased effectiveness. 
  • 50% have experienced increased efficiency. 
  • 86% also say their strategy is better aligned with their organization’s overall vision. 
  • 75% say they are satisfied with how their team works, compared to only 58% of traditional marketers and 38% of ad hoc marketers.

The benefits of transitioning to an agile marketing strategy outweigh the challenges of adopting a new methodology. Marketers should always strive to be customer-focused, evaluate their campaigns’ success, and fine-tune their approach. Agile marketing empowers teams to accomplish these goals in a structured, measurable way that creates more successful and efficient marketing campaigns.

McKinsey, Agile marketing: A step-by-step guide November 2016

B2B Marketing Alliance, Agile marketing: what is it and how can it benefit your B2B brand? July 2021

Agile Sherpas, Agile Ascending: 3rd Annual State of Agile Marketing Report 2020

Agile Sherpas, Agile Acceleration: 4th Annual State of Agile Marketing Report 2021

Atlassian, How to create an agile marketing team 2021

Atlassian, What is Agile Marketing: From Buzzword to Best-in-Class Way of Working 2021

Agile Marketing, What Is Agile Marketing? 2014