Analysis paralysis: It’s a catchy word combination and a real issue that affects marketers the world over. In most organizations, marketers are deliberators and analysts. We mull over problems, analyze plans from all angles, and consider every possible outcome before we implement a campaign. We break down a campaign into multiple components and theorize about how each should perform and how much every minute or click will cost, all while analyzing results we don’t yet have, only to end up scrapping our plan and starting over. It can be a lengthy and painful process.
And, in these fast-moving times, it’s killing us. Consider the enormous amount of information that moves around the Internet in just one day, according to a recent article from The Social Skinny:
- Enough information is consumed to fill 168 million DVDs.
- 294 billion emails are sent.
- 2 million blog posts are written (enough posts to fill TIME magazine for 770 million years).
- 532 million statuses are updated.
- 250 million photos are uploaded.
- 864,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.
- More than 35 million apps are downloaded.
It’s easy to see that if you’re not actively marketing all the time, you’re letting the parade pass you by. To take advantage of ever-present, ever-changing opportunities, your team needs to be more flexible and responsive to both fluctuating customer and market needs. To get there, you’ll need to set in motion a workable model that works out the kinks as you go.
I know, I know. The very idea strikes fear into the hearts of most of us. I used to be right there with you, but there is a better way. It’s agile.
Agile, the Antithesis of Analysis Paralysis
The developer community, faced with similar challenges, figured out a new way to overcome laborious project planning and ensuing lengthy development cycles a decade or so ago. Today, developers and marketers alike are reaping the benefits of agile methods that advocate sprints over marathon launches. For marketers, this approach addresses many traditional pitfalls while introducing new challenges.
For instance, while agile marketing emphasizes speed and iterative improvement, a more traditional approach focuses on lengthy planning cycles intended to deliver the perfect campaign from the start. The old-school, process-heavy, analysis-reliant methods that marketers cut their teeth on have their place—providing a fundamental framework for marketing—but today they can no longer have our time. With the ubiquity of the internet and the ease and speed in which we can gather and disseminate information, the pace of business has exploded. Marketers today need to move faster than the competition and must do more with less. By implementing an agile methodology, marketing can create more focused activity, take advantage of rapidly changing market conditions, get quicker feedback on successes (and failures), and achieve incremental successes based on that feedback.
Yet, marketers should take a “look before you leap” approach before jumping into agile. Depending on the size of your organization and your current marketing methods, there are a variety of challenges to consider, such as team structure and the ability to adopt and adapt to new processes. Some of these challenges are simple to overcome up front, while others may take more effort throughout the transition. Addressing possible issues at the outset alleviates frustration and increases the likelihood of success for both the organization and individual team members.
To keep you on the right path, consider the following “hot spots” to watch out for when introducing agile marketing into your organization.