Monday, September 5, 2016

Is your healthcare marketing agile? Do you even know what that means?

Agile Marketing is a corporate buzzword being thrown around a lot lately.  But unless you’re familiar with the Agile Software Development process which Agile Marketing is adapted from, is much more than what some may think means doing something fast and shifting tactical marketing on a dime.

At its heart, Agile Marketing is a tactical marketing approach in which teams identify and focus their collective efforts on high-value projects, complete those projects cooperatively, measure the impact, and then continuously and incrementally improve the results over time.

Hardly a short tactical strike as some may think.

So what are the hallmarks of an Agile Marketing organization?
1.       Responding to change instead of following a plan.
2.       Rapid tactical iterations over big loud campaigns.
3.       Testing and data over opinion and conventions.
4.       Many small experiments over a few large bets.
5.        A focus on individuals and interactions, not target markets.
6.       Collaboration over silos and hierarchy.

I would maintain that in a healthcare vendor B2B environment, where technological developments, new entrants, and shifting market dynamics are creating future uncertainty, is a great place for Agile Marketing.

For the healthcare provider side of B2C, it would work as well, but would require too much organizational, attitudinal and cultural change in hospitals and health systems.  Those big bang campaigns for hospitals and health systems make the board, docs, and management feel good but have little impact on the market. 

Agile marketing and even what some are terming Agile Social Media is sustainable marketing that requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline.  It also requires a very high degree of integration between the business, marketing, sales, and development.

Marketing programs are delivered from every couple of weeks to a couple of months with a bias towards the shorter cycles. Successful Agile Marketing also requires the organization to learn though PDCA or OODA feedback loops. Failure is acceptable as long as one does not make the same marketing mistake twice.

The moral of the story here is that Agile Marketing is not as simple as some may think it is, or that they have a clear understanding of the concept.

Unless marketing is organized into focused teams with collaborative input from other critical areas of the business, focusing on the individuals and interactions, it’s not Agile Marketing.

Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified.


For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

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