Audiences in the social media age are fickle. If you've ever managed a marketing campaign aiming at an internet audience, you know just how quickly today's hot trending topic can become yesterday's news. Meanwhile your marketers and designers are struggling to be creative despite deadlines and all the different channels they have to monitor for trends and manage for brand conversations.

It makes sense then that in a recent survey of 800 marketers, when asked about their top work challenges, 37.2% of respondents said their top challenge is: "Delivering innovative campaigns that stand out in the market." The second biggest challenge? "Moving fast enough to keep up with market changes and competitors."

The sheer volume of work plus tight deadlines demand that workflows be as streamlined as ever in a marketing organization. When any delay happens between creative brief and production, then approvals and launch times are affected. Still, less than one-third of overall marketers surveyed are “Very Satisfied” with how their teams manage work.

But if you only look at teams that identify themselves as heavy users of Agile marketing methods, then 62.9% say they are “Very Satisfied” with their team's work management.

It's clear that Agile makes a difference — even in creative projects.

The Main Benefits of Agile
The Main Benefits of Agile - from Agile Marketing Survey

Agile allows marketers to maintain their velocity of work despite changing tastes or ad hoc campaigns that may appear without warning. Agile's practices allow creative teams to focus on collaboration and rapid iteration, allowing them to overcome their top two challenges and deliver award-winning work.

Agile Marketers Need Integrated Technology to Move Faster

Marketing and creative teams typically wrangle a large stack of tools for their daily work. In MarTech alone, there are now 5,381 solutions available to the typical marketer. So on a daily basis, they will handle everything from spreadsheets, email, and messaging apps like Slack or Skype, all the way to creative tools such as Adobe Creative Cloud, proofing tools, and asset management solutions.

This means that throughout the day, they need to search through multiple sources to find the information they need — due dates, feedback, next steps. Talk about inefficient multitasking. Switching tabs as well as switching contexts adds frustration to the entire process and slows down the pace of work. In effect, all that searching for information condemns creatives to doing admin work instead of the creative work they signed up for.

A huge step forward for a team wanting to become an Agile organization is to integrate existing tools into one another so that your team has a "single source of the truth." As Spencer Kehe, senior producer at film production house ONLYCH1LD recently told us:

Taking confusion around technology out of the equation for creatives is very important. You need to protect their time and effort for creating compelling and impactful work.

If they can use integrated tools that give them back an hour or two each day to work on design, writing, and generating big ideas, then not only are you speeding up the pace at which they get things done, you're also allowing them to do work they love, thereby increasing employee engagement and ultimately help with retention.

Agile Marketers Need to Respond Quickly to Stand Out

Agile Marketers Need to Respond Quickly to Stand Out

Perhaps the biggest way that Agile can help marketing teams create stand-out campaigns is by giving them the flexibility to throw plans out the window when necessary. Will your campaign be affected by an unexpected trend or a change in the market ? Then it's time to iterate. This flexibility allows marketing teams to respond to opportunities as they arise and also helps them move on from plans that may have become outdated in just a few months.

Why this works is because Agile methods encourage teams to work in shorter sprints, and partly because the technology that enables Agile also allows more efficient resource management — in a way that’s conducive to sudden pivots. And because Agile teams are data-driven, marketers can use analytics to identify opportunities as they happen, and fast-moving creative teams can experiment and execute.

Using machine learning and analytics to test messaging and visuals for impact, virality, and conversions (clicks through to a website), creatives can quickly see what works and what doesn’t. Once they’ve found the most successful combinations, marketers can better tailor their campaigns and scale results. And the end result is work that stands out from the competition.

But Agile isn’t Always Enough

To say Agile alone is enough to help marketers create better campaigns, is of course, wishful thinking. The practice still requires top-notch creative minds and above that, creative direction that can sculpt a persuasive message out of raw ideas. Standing out from the crowd also requires fearless leadership that is bold enough to take chances and catch the attention of fickle audiences.

But more so than ever, marketers must be lightning fast in creating and delivering targeted messages to meet consumers where they are. And Agile can be a crucial component to making this a reality.

Read More: The Effect of Agile on Marketing Teams

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