The desire for ‘marketing agility’ is a term that will be all too familiar to any marketer confronted with the fast-changing digital media landscape. Being able to master the operational management of digital marketing systems is one of the biggest challenges they face.
In an ideal world, marketers would have a dashboard that allows them to easily and effectively manipulate large swathes of data so that they know which channels are delivering that all important sale or conversion in real-time. However, a survey of businesses and agencies by Econsultancy, carried out earlier this year, found that although brands have a desire to be more agile in their marketing, they are yet to adopt the technologies and strategies that will allow them to be so.
Businesses consider an improved customer experience to be the main benefit of real-time agile marketing and improved conversion rates and customer retention were also cited in the survey as key benefits. But, only around half of the company respondents actually use real-time analytics in digital channels (web, email, display and search), while only 45% use it for real-time personal responses on social networks.
In the case of mobile and collecting mobile app data, the ability to be ‘agile’ in real-time is vital. Between 2011 and 2013, Google’s YouTube share of mobile traffic increased from 6% to 40% and Facebook’s mobile monthly active users have more than doubled from 432 to 945 million. Adopting an agile mobile marketing strategy will lead to a more responsive, customer-focused approach, necessary to survive in the mobile era.
For mobile marketing to succeed, brand marketers no longer have the luxury of spending months working on a single campaign or project and must instead, innovate and respond quickly to evolving customer needs. This means setting campaigns live quickly, then iterating based on analytics and user feedback to reduce the likelihood of errors and waste. To do this, brand marketers need to take more of an interest in the software, architecture and processes handled by business technology teams. They have a lot to learn from technology providers.
For example, currently, any marketer using a tag management system that requires a software development kit (SDK) for mobile app tagging is being hampered. Why? Because this is a programme package that developers have traditionally used to tie-in third party technology to their apps but it is not geared up for the fast paced world of mobile marketing strategies. These days, pre-defined marketing plans are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, which is why the ‘agile’ buzzword, normally associated with software development, has been so eagerly adopted - because it’s mobile software that holds the key.
Without an evolution in mobile software, marketers continue to be reliant on developers using SDKs. For the marketer, this means that the developer needs to have their tagging strategy set in stone days, weeks and sometimes months in advance, since implementing the SDK takes time and changes are difficult to implement. Any changes that are made further down the road require the app to be recompiled and re-submitted to the app store. Users then need to update the app, which all takes time. Not exactly the most agile route to consumer for any marketer I’m sure you’d agree.
The problem is in the SDK. As it’s hard-coded with the marketing technology, swapping analytics or other tools means starting over with the SDK and app store submission process. For marketers to be truly agile, they need to be able to change mobile tags on the fly. This happens, only when brand marketers have the confidence to employ an agile mentality and embrace the technologies which enable them to do so.
Now more than ever, the marketer needs to know how the developer process works and what technology solutions exist to make their professional lives easier and more agile. The velocity of mobile change will only increase and the best agile marketers will become highly involved in orchestrating the business technology agenda.