3 practical ways to be more agile

We posted recently about the need to increase your ‘Adaptability Quotient’ (AQ) to make your brand and business stronger. Research we are running right now confirms that being more agile is the number one challenge for big brands seeking to fight back against smaller, faster ‘insurgent’ brand.

Now, there is lot written about ‘agile teams’ and how big businesses should implement them. But most of this is complex and requires major organisation-wide change. Here we suggest a few simple things you as a marketer can started on today do to boost your AQ.

Guest post by Anne Charbonneau, Managing Partner based in Amsterdam.

1 . BECOME A FAST-LEARNING TEAM – RUN EXPERIMENTS!

You probably have a bucket of 15 to 20 un-used ideas that were generated in previous team sessions to create your marketing plan or generate new product ideas. Now is the time to review them with a new eye, because in there are probably five or so ideas that could qualify as potential ‘experiments’.

What are good candidates for experiments (‘test & learn’ to use the popular term)?

We suggest you look for HULI’S: HIGH UNCERTAINTY/ LOW INVESTMENT ideas with potential to deliver your growth strategy.

These are things you think could work brilliantly, but they have High Uncertainty. The idea of a full-on classic launch gives you a cold sweat …

…. maybe you lack evidence. Maybe no one has tried it before. You night fear the team lacks skills. Or perhaps you think stakeholders won’t approve.

The ideas should also be ones where you can quickly generate learning with relatively Low Investment.

2. CREATE AN EXPERIMENT PIPELINE. 

Sort and prioritise the ideas to create an Experiment Pipeline. This will allow you to have 3 or 4 HULI ideas ‘cooking’ at any time: new initiatives or new ways to implement strategy. Your ‘Experiment Dashboard’ could look something like this:

To note, exactly like my kids’ science essays, you should have a clear hypothesis about what the expected outcome to help you assess the results.

An example for a diet food brand could look like this:

  • Experiment: Run Mobile ‘Fitness clinic’ in 2 big cities, for free health check and promo/coupons
  • Hypothesis: People don’t know they can get a fitness check at their doctor, but if we come to them, they will be more likely to get a check and think about improving their lifestyle. We expect coupons to reach high redemption.

Reviews should be learning-focused, with tools and tips on how to do this  here  and here. To note, learning is maximized when an experiment is neither a total success not a total flop.

3. GET INVOLVED IN A TRULY AGILE BUSINESS

To become a more agile marketer, I recommend you get involved in a small, truly agile business. On my side, I work on marketing and business development for VROG, an entrepreneurial parkour and trampoline business based in Amsterdam.

Things will move at a much faster pace than you experience working on a large consumer brand. And this will help you boost your AQ and encourage you to experiment in your day job: experimenting fast with product and services, trying out more tactical target groups, identifying fans and feeding them relevant content, re-learning how to receive and use direct customer feedback or dropping things fast when they don’t work.

In conclusion, success today is less about first-mover advantage and more about fast-learner advantage, we suggest. So why not get started on building an experiment pipeline for your brand before the summer? And maybe get talking to a local entrepreneur, such as the owner of that nice new neighbourhood coffee shop, about how you can help them. Do this and your Adaptability Quotient will quickly start to improve!

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