By Adriana Rocha
It’s not news that the scale of changes happening to marketing is unprecedented. It’s the new normal for the world in general. In this fast changing environment, the adoption of real-time marketing techniques can help marketing teams win in today’s always-on world, with its many new challenges:
- The increase of ever-shifting touch-points and channels to connect with consumers;
- Explosion of content — “content” being the majority of what marketing produces in the digital world and the biggest challenge to deliver more than just content, but meaningful customer experiences;
- Proliferation of devices. There’s the desktop, the smartphone, the tablet, the phablet. Yes, I said the “phablet.” And just wait until the Internet of Things goes mainstream. Imagine how people will use combinations of these devices at the same time!
- Fast growing technologies to help execute all these content and experience opportunities on all the new devices, in all these touch-points. But this “help” requires marketing to navigate through a complex array of technology solutions;
- Explosion of data – according to a recent estimate from Google, we’ve generated 90% of all data in the entire history of the world in just the past two years. 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day. And it’s only accelerating.
- The connected consumers – instead of passively absorbing perfectly designed marketing campaigns the connected consumer has taken control of his buyer’s journey. He’s connected with other prospects and customers. They’ve found or become influencers, advocates, detractors. They question what brands say and demand answers, quickly. They heartlessly compare brands to competitors, judge, praise, chide, advice, all out in the public square. It’s 24/7, and can’t be turned off.
In this scenario, the true power for marketing teams is the ability to agilely adapt to what’s happening around them. Therefore, marketing needs relevant, actionable data and insights, faster than ever. And the question on the table is “Can Market Research meet these new marketing demands?” How?
Well, maybe Agile Market Research could be a response. I am not talking about a new technology or another buzzword for working faster, but the application of agile management principles in the context of Market Research:
“Agile management is an iterative and adaptive process where small, highly-collaborative teams work in a series of short cycles, incorporating rapid feedback, to deliver emergent solutions, emphasizing transparency among all stakeholders.”
Agile Market Research represents a different approach to manage market research. It takes its inspiration from agile development and values:
- Responding to change over following a plan
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Collaboration over silos and hierarchy
- Rapid iterations over long projects
- Numerous small experiments over a few large studies
Agile Market Research requires cross-functional team members – people who may have deep specialization or talent in a particular area but are also willing to pitch in on a wide variety of other tasks. In an agile team, no one says, “I’m just the analyst, so don’t bother me until you have the fieldwork done”. The whole team either succeeds together or fails together. Agile is a continuous loop of plan, build, inspect, adapt, repeat.”
Agile Researchers also follow a process, a process designed to increase alignment with the business aims of the client, to improve communication, both within and outside the market research team, and to increase the speed and responsiveness of research. This process is interactive, allowing for short studies and experiments, frequent feedback, and the ability to react to changing conditions.
Maybe a first step is to consider ways to make market research more adaptive to change in general. To change how we think about change. So that when the next new thing explodes — maybe next week — we’re better able to capitalize on it.
What do you think? Can Market Research be Agile?
What is Agile Marketing? http://www.agilemarketing.net/what-is-agile-marketing/
Agile marketing for a world of constant change http://chiefmartec.com/2013/03/agile-marketing-for-a-world-of-constant-change/