Agile Marketing and Digital Intelligence

Why is it crucial for your Marketing success in 2022?



The most valuable competitive advantage for small and mid-size businesses resides in their ability to quickly adapt. Thus, Agile marketing is a practice often used by marketers who realize rapid, flexible responses provide them with a competitive edge.


Having used Agile marketing in our practice for more than a decade, we recently had the chance to discuss the importance of adding digital intelligence to this practice to avoid its obsolescence.


What is Agile marketing?

Agile marketing is a tactical marketing approach in which marketing teams collectively identify high-value projects on which to focus their efforts.

Agile Marketing takes its inspiration from Agile software development and has three key values/principles:

  1. Responding to change versus following a plan

  2. Rapid iterations not Big-Bang campaigns

  3. Constant testing and data over opinions and conventions

When implementing marketing campaigns that follow an Agile approach, :

  • Reassess your plan weekly.

  • Keep launching fast campaigns instead of long-term, high-priced campaigns. As an example, a Google Adwords or social media campaign would typically be scheduled for 3 to 5 days and be refined until ROI targets are satisfied.

  • Use data to confirm your assumptions.


Yet, even when using an Agile marketing approach many marketing teams struggle to adapt to current market complexity. One of the reasons is that it doesn’t take context into consideration. This is why we need to add Digital Intelligence into the mix.


What is Digital Intelligence?

If Agile marketing is about agility, digital intelligence is the opposite: it requires taking time to dive deeper to uncover unconscious behaviors and beliefs.


There are 5 types of context that need to be carefully identified and understood.

  1. State of Your Market

This context is well known to most businesses and it’s the easiest to identify and keep current. Knowing who your direct and indirect competitors are is important, because potential buyers are influenced by other companies and by their prior experience. Competitors can greatly affect their understanding of your product and impact their expectations and desires.


Who are your new competitors and how are they disrupting your industry?


  1. Society and Industry Values

The 1980’s embraced greed is good, buying stuff, showing off; encapsulated into one word: consumerism. In 2022, most in our society have aligned around values such as sustainability, equality, and inclusivity just to name a few. These will influence how consumers view your product or service.


When you look at your industry, what are the values that have emerged that can influence how your audience responds to your offering?


  1. Consumers’ Emotional State

Across all industries, we’re currently experiencing a high sense of distrust, stress, and anxiety. That means that potential buyers’ attention spans are very low and transparency, another societal value, has become important. All this should also directly influence what marketers put out there.


For example, a fertility agency will easily determine that, when people connect with the brand, they are very emotional. They can feel frustrated, fearful, or hopeful about the process and that should influence how marketers communicate.


We also have to remind ourselves that how people perceive a brand, the feelings they experience and the personal meaning they make, is what determines their behavior and decisions. One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is to assume that people are rational decision-makers readily convinced by facts and data. They are not. People are driven by their desires, perceptions, and feelings, and they use information as a tool to rationalize those feelings.


Looking at your industry, what emotions drive consumers when they interact with your brand?


  1. Brand Story

A story can be very powerful, but it can also limit your growth and adaptation to your customers’ evolving problems. Many brands have died because they were stuck in their story, unable to innovate and adapt.


Digitally intelligent brands must be like Amazon, going from a book reseller to a broad platform we all know or Netflix, evolving from an online DVD rental shop to become a filmmaker and distributor. Examples of organizations that failed to adapt to their context include companies like Radioshack and Blockbuster.


Is your brand story empowering or limiting your growth and adaptation of new ideas?


  1. Our Worldview

This is the most challenging context of all. Our worldview is part of our social identity, which is causing many problems both inside and outside of organizations.

Social identity describes the part of an individual's sense of self that comes from our association with a social group. One of our Fractional CMOs, Virginie Glaenzer, had a recent discussion organized by The Master Connection Series with host Steve Spiro on “Does your professional identity get in the way of your success?

We function using an individual worldview, which is a set of beliefs that create predictable models to make sense of the world we live in. Yet, when we get stuck and we take our identity too seriously (our title or responsibility), it causes friction and creates a couple of challenges.

First, as soon as we choose a story about who we think we are, or our team is, we've got a full-time job: our job is now to protect our new identity. We have to be on script when we make choices that make sense with who we are.

Second, a professional identity separates us based on our differences, instead of bringing everyone together by focusing on what we have in common. We all know the traditional conflict between Sales and Marketing, which is now often between Marketing and Engineering, or the level of discord between VPs and non-VPs.

How can you help your team stay open about their own social identity?


Final Thoughts

In addition to following the Agile marketing approach, entrepreneurs and businesses who want to adapt need to be acutely aware of their context: competitive landscape, society values, customer emotions, brand story and their own limited worldview.


When employees work in agile environments, they report a greater overall sense of satisfaction and pride in their work. They feel more empowered and have greater clarity about how their role impacts the business, and, as a result, they create a more collaborative work environment.


Want To Dive Deeper?

To dive deeper on Agile marketing, we recommend exploring the Scrum Framework and the Growth Hacking Practice.


The three most popular types of Agile marketing frameworks that marketers apply are Scrumban (a hybrid between Kanban and Scrum), Kanban, and Scrum.


Agile marketing also goes hand in hand with growth hacking (GH). GH is a scientific approach to marketing which optimizes a factor you think is correlated with growth.

GH is at the crossroads of Data-driven learning, product, and guerilla marketing, because it involves a diverse team composed of a marketer, a designer, an engineer, and a data analyst to allow diverse points of view to unleash creativity.


To expand your understanding of agile marketing, we recommend these articles:

Case Studies from the Marketing Insider group, Templates from Smartreet and Examples of Agile marketing from Knowledge Nile.

If you have questions, reach out to our team to explore how your team can adapt to their context and thrive.