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To Plan Or Not To Plan – Is That The Question?

plannning web

The basis of PR is to listen, plan and then engage. Every year we spend hours working through the list of events, exhibitions, planned product updates, magazine feature lists and the general company updates to make sure activity is scheduled into a carefully considered works programme and agreed by the client.

PR turned to content marketing with the advent of social media, where we had more channels to distribute news and company activity, more ways to make our voice heard.

And then the mobile revolution meant engagement could be constant and real time, constantly vying for customer attention on tablet and smart phone technology.

But something else also crept into the mix, and has become one of the most disruptive trends in the industry.

At the recent London Launch Live Tech event, it was suggested agile marketing makes up 29% of marketing, alongside customer experience (22%), content creation (18%), multichannel (16%) and seamless collaboration (15%.)

Introducing Agile Marketing
The concept of agile marketing has grown from the need to try and deal with the new fluid marketing environment. It is largely driven by digital, and has been borrowed from the principles of agile software development.

It values “responding to change over following a plan; rapid iterations over Big-Band campaigns; testing and data over opinions and conventions; Numerous small experiments over a few large bets; individuals and interactions over target markets and collaboration over silos and hierarchy.” (

The aim is to be responsive and adaptive; to be flexible and embrace change. And as social media starts to regulate how quickly we respond to posts and ensures we are increasingly ‘always on and always connected’, agile marketing is likely to become more popular.

Barriers to Agile Marketing
The biggest objectives at the moment is the culture change, the mindset of many who prefer the comfortable plan of knowing when something is happening, and having the time to think through the processes before implementation.

The second area, the element of being afraid to fail on a public scale or be seen to take risks, is an equally significant barrier to the implementation of agile marketing.

So should we all be ripping up the plans and going with the flow?
Social media is the agile marketer’s dream. A real-time playing field full of digital savvy users ready to comment on and share any particularly innovative, clever, entertaining or attention grabbing piece of content.

But should it replace traditional planned PR activity? No. The econsultancy suggests thinking 70:20:10 “70% of your marketing is the planned ‘marketing as usual’ activity. 20% of your marketing should be programmatic and the rest should be purely agile and responsive.”

Of course, this does depend on the resource available to you and the type of trade, alongside the audience you are reaching – but if nothing else, it is a reason to enable mobile notifications on your social media platforms so you can react instantly to any updates, which involve you and / or your company.

Really, agile marketing is responding to an event, news story or company update instantly, in real time and using latest technologies and an abundance of creativity. In this respect, it’s just like traditional PR (sharing information or highlighting an association with an relevant update) on a much (much!) quicker scale, and should be adapted and integrated into (un)planned daily marketing activity.

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