July 19, 2012 - FILED UNDER Agile Business
What Agile Marketing Means for PR
Adopting agile marketing is a lot like throwing rocks into a pond: it makes a huge splash but the rock also creates far reaching ripples that end up effecting things outside the initial scope. The same can be said about agile marketing, sure there’s the intended change but other departments outside marketing are affected. Today, I wanted to look at some of these ripples and see how the world of agile marketing is altering these departments.
A few weeks ago I came across an interesting article from PR Newswire discussing the impact agile marketing has on PR. This got me thinking. We hear so much about the adoption of agile philosophies in marketing, what about the other departments that work closely with Marketing. How are they affected?
A good example of this is PR. PR interacts with marketing daily. So when there’s a push in marketing to become more agile, how does it affect the PR department?
When thinking of agile marketing and its effect on PR, it’s helpful to think more in terms of agile engagement. Agile engagement is not that different from agile marketing. The goal of agile engagement is to break down “the communications process into smaller, more manageable pieces.” Both processes stress the idea of increasing transparency and creating feedback loops, so that team members are more aware of what is going on and are constantly checking to see how they are performing.
The process of simplifying the communication process into smaller, more manageable bits increases team transparency. This helps managers understand where their team is succeeding and where it could use some work. It also helps to focus PR teams and stresses connecting, and more importantly listening, to their audience. By focusing on what’s being talked about and which subjects are shaping conversations online, PR teams are better suited to craft custom content that will be more appealing.
According to PR Newswire, “This differs from the traditional approach of planned campaigns and crisis communications. Under an agile strategy, the PR team is not only plugged into marketing campaigns, but also develops the ability to adjust messaging quickly to head off negative events and to capitalize upon fast-moving opportunities.”
Developing an agile framework for PR will take some time and effort. It means that “the communications department will need to re-wire processes and build some new muscles.” For example, PR teams will need to be tightly integrated with the faster moving marketing and social media departments. This will give them the ability to adjust messaging and audience targeting faster which helps teams deliver a more catered message that should resonate with their customers. Becoming more agile also means increasing the commitment to real-time information and empowering employees to make game-time decisions. It means change and possible team realignment not only in PR, but also elsewhere in the organization.
Despite the challenges, it may well be worth it. Brands that switch to a more agile philosophy develop a more flexible approach, giving communicators the ability to quickly craft high-quality, targeted content ultimately maximizing return on brand equity and communication investments.