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With the introduction of a wide variety of new marketing channels and tools, such as social media, website metrics, SEO, and smartphones, marketing can now be divided into two camps: traditional marketing... and agile marketing.

The latter prioritizes the needs of the customer and focuses on rapid response to customers and current trends.

Here are five reasons you should consider adopting the strategies of agile marketing.

1. A Focus on Customers

Though it's important to have a clear idea of your company's vision and your products, agile marketing has challenged marketing teams to work harder at developing customer profiles in order to effectively reach them.

Troy Larson of Mindjet suggests that agile marketers have learned to effectively focus on customers: "Agile marketers have updated this internally facing philosophy primarily by adopting Robert Lauterborn's Four C's marketing model. In this model, Price is replaced by cost, Promotions is replaced by communication, Place is replaced by convince, and Product is replaced by consumer. As you can see, with this philosophy, focus is shifted away from the producer to the consumer."

2. Simplifying Your Hierarchy and Working Together

Companies have typically been divided into a variety of departments that are separate from one another; agile marketing, however, levels company hierarchy and bridges compartmental divides. The social media team needs to know what's going on with the print advertising team and the product development bunch.

Jumping on consumer trends and providing quick responses is important; therefore the more interconnected a company is internally, the greater its advantage in agile marketing.

Jonathan Coleman of SEOMoz explains just how far you can go with this approach: "What we do is we take all those institutional silos and we just reduce them to rubble, and we form this sort of cross-functional team, where content design, code, inbound marketing, data or analytics, project management, we all sit together, all in the same place, work together on the same thing at the same time."

3. Tracking Your Leads

Agile marketing is responsive to trends, certainly, but it should also result in a steady stream of new leads for your company. If your leads are beginning to dip, Mike Volpe of HubSpot suggests this: "Try to come up with additional marketing offers, create more content on your blog, step up your social media engagement, and, generally, increase the inbound marketing you do."

Although agile marketing isn't as concerned about long-term goals as traditional marketing, you'll still need to set goals and track your data throughout each week to make sure your strategies are resulting in your hitting your targets.

4. Evaluating Data for Agile Marketing

With website analytics, Facebook page reports, and tools such as Hootsuite providing metrics for social media shares, marketing teams now have a wide variety of ways to keep track of their marketing efforts. You no longer have to wonder about the effectiveness of an ad if you can track the click-throughs to your landing page or the activity of e-newsletter readers.

Scott Brinker at Search Engine Land writes about the importance of "using testing and data to drive decisions in marketing—in contrast to opinions and conventionally held beliefs that so often prove to be misplaced. Certainly conversion optimization is rooted in this philosophy. But, increasingly, all the different facets of marketing provide opportunities for testing ideas and using data to weigh the outcomes."

5. Taking Risks, Learning to Fail

When Pinterest came out, the agile marketing team at HubSpot started to experiment with it right away without knowing whether it would succeed. As it turned out, Pinterest took off and HubSpot was ready to offer helpful tips.

Corey Eridon of HubSpot explains that "wins happen for agile marketers all the time because they are used to learning quickly and aren't afraid of failure—because working on a day-to-day basis to achieve your larger goals helps you bounce back from your flops in record time, with minimal resources squandered during the pursuit."

Success as an agile marketer is directly tied to your ability to experiment, adapt, and learn from your failures.

* * *

Marketing presents challenges that range from designing websites that cut down on shopping cart abandonment to reaching customers by having to cut through the noise of the Internet.

By learning to focus on the needs of customers and responding to those needs quickly, agile marketing teams are positioned to succeed at a time when the speed of Marketing's response can mean the difference between a sale and a yawn.

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image of Lior Levin

Lior Levin is marketing adviser at producteev, a provider of task management solutions. He is also adviser at Arizona-based CSS company, which offers psd to xhtml conversion.