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Customer Experience Must Be at the Heart of Your Agile Marketing

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Recent data indicates consumers are annoyed and uncomfortable when brands follow them around the Internet. Moreover, nearly a third of consumers report receiving offers via email, display ads, social networks, and on mobile devices that are irrelevant to their interests. In other cases, customer activity leads to a barrage of deals and emails that make customers feel like they're being stalked by semi-relevant offers.

Brands might argue that real-time personalized brand experiences are "the new black," but a recent study revealed that 69% of customers are uncomfortable with advertisers knowing what websites they have visited, and 55% of people are put off buying products or services if they see the same ad multiple times.

So, how do you market relevant products and deals to prospective or repeat customers without annoying them?

Adopting a culture of agile marketing allows marketing campaigns and ad strategies to be rapidly adjusted based on real-time data and empowers companies to learn what their customers want, when they want it.

Brands need to implement agile marketing techniques with the customer experience at the center of their strategies.

Turning Failure Into Opportunity With Agile

The concept of failure or errors in marketing is not something companies usually celebrate. Now, however, with today's agile software community adopting a "fail fast" mentality, the idea of rapid testing and iteration is critical to innovation.

Inside the "fail fast" idea is the idea that the ability to immediately identify and eliminate flawed parts of the process and shift towards a better model in real time is critical to the success of a project.

A culture of agile marketing must allow for the freedom of experimentation, risk-taking, and even failure. Moreover, if you couple agile marketing techniques with a desire to provide unique and innovative brand experiences to customers, a balance of relevant marketing and unobtrusive, personal offers can be established.

The concept of continuous data collection, analysis, and modified process sounding daunting, but 80% of businesses have said that adopting an agile approach has helped them deliver a better, more relevant end product, and nearly 87% of agile businesses make more money. Those results are worth the effort.

Agile Personalization: Predicting the Next Move Without Being Creepy

A whopping 100% of marketers ranked initiatives that can predict customers' "next move" as extremely important, according to a 2015 Lytics Marketing Research report.

For instance, what if after customers purchased a pair of hiking boots on REI's website, it directed them to a download of local trail maps app for planning their next hiking trip? The company is not gaining an additional purchase but is showing it understands customers' needs and is willing to meet them even if doesn't mean money in pocket right that second.

A customer that feels valued beyond his or her wallet is a customer more likely to respond to your next message or offer.

Even if the trail maps aren't being downloaded, having an agile marketing set-up turns failure into opportunity. Maybe the data shows that the people buying this particular hiking boot aren't actually hikers but people looking for hardy, yet comfortable boots for the winter (perhaps the purchases are clustered around the fall/winter season), so you try something else. Now when people buy this pair of boots, instead of a download for a free trail map, they are encouraged to enter a photo-sharing contest, with a 20% discount code just for participation. If the second option resonates more with customers, you have gathered valuable intelligence that will help you predict how to map future campaigns to what your customers actually value.

Understanding Agile Partnerships

US CEOs were noted as being more open to partnerships than their peers, widening their use of alliances to secure new technology and speed up innovation, according to a recent PwC 2015 CEO survey.

Learning to harness partnerships for audience exposure, unique content offerings, and creative collaboration can be a huge advantage in today's competitive marketing environment.

For example, startup ride-sharing company Carsurfing noticed a strong correlation between users on its platform and an interest in Burning Man music festival. Its team dropped everything and focused on creating a Facebook page to help connect people looking for rides. In mere weeks, the small alpha platform booked 800 rides and enjoyed the PR benefits from publications like Mashable regarding thinking outside the box.

Identifying these types of overlaps reveals countless new ways to connect with your customers and build a stronger brand. Why wouldn't make-up giant Sephora offer a how-to makeup video for evening events to a RueLaLa customer who just bought a beautiful cocktail dress? Why wouldn't Peapod maternity wear help expecting mothers find local prenatal yoga classes?

When you start to explore the world around your brand, you start to unveil opportunities to better serve your customer.

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Paul Mandeville is chief product officer of QuickPivot, a cloud-based real-time cross-channel marketing platform powering lifecycle marketing programs.

LinkedIn: Paul Mandeville

Twitter: @paulmandeville

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  • by Zach Rogers Tue Sep 15, 2015 via web

    Thanks for the enlightening article, Paul! Just curious, what study found 69% of customers are uncomfortable with advertisers knowing their online whereabouts? Won't say I'm surprised, but would like to read more on the study's design.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Tue Sep 15, 2015 via web

    Hi, Zach. This seems to be source of those findings:

  • by Zach Rogers Tue Sep 15, 2015 via web

    Awesome, thank you, Vahe!! Great info

  • by Andrea Fryrear Wed Sep 16, 2015 via web

    Enjoyed the article, Paul. I'm just wondering if there's a particular agile methodology that you think facilitates these goals of managing failure, personalization, and partnerships? I'm a fan of all those goals, and I certainly think an agile mindset helps marketers move toward them, I just think it's vital to remind people that agile marketing isn't just about being flexible or changing our minds a lot. It's about a strategic, systematic approach to how we run our teams and our departments; we've got to deliberately lay the groundwork or we won't be able to reap the benefits.

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