The promise of technology for business is its ability to make big resources available for everyone. It’s an equalizer. The personal applications have changed entertainment, personal networking, finance, job hunting, and many other parts of our lives. In business, we look to technology accelerators in ecommerce, cloud services, software that is developed through broad crowdsourcing, and other systems that allow us to do more with less time and money.
But there are additional ways that small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) and nonprofits can accelerate their business growth. The companies that build the technology we rely upon for growth use processes that are different than traditional business. They operate using a flexible, adaptive process, called “agile.” This process which started as a better way to develop technology has moved into the mainstream of management strategy and is impacting business operations of all kinds. Some large businesses have completely reorganized under agile principles.
Agile management is accelerating business growth.
Companies like Barclays, Cerner (international health care technology), C.H.Robinson (Fortune 500 logistics), Ericsson, Microsoft, Spotify, as well as tens of thousands of other organizations all use agile approaches in their management. Agile management may be the “best kept management secret on the planet,” according to Forbes.
“The agile approach is accelerating profitable growth,” and influences many large company values, principles, and practices. Small and medium sized businesses can stay ahead of the curve, and they continue to fuel their growth by using agile practices.
Agile provides big benefits for business growth including better teamwork, consistent focus on what’s most important, and the ability to get more work completed in a shorter amount of time. It increases transparency and helps control costs. Agile is vital in the development of new products and services, and has been leveraged heavily by the start-up community. It’s important because new services and businesses have to make rapid adjustments--to eliminate all the options that don’t perform well, and to find the ones that will help reach business goals.
One immediate area where SMBs can implement agile is in their marketing.
The flexibility that agile has brought to business growth is a natural for marketing. Effective marketing requires flexibility and constant adaptation, which is where agile works best. Here are several reasons why agile marketing is the best approach for business growth:
- Using agile approaches for marketing improves the day-to-day marketing operations. Marketers and the businesses they support know exactly how much effort to place in a specific area, and that work is transparent to the decision makers.
- You gain customer responses to creative work, content, and the the different communication channels.
- The results cycle is shorter with agile, and results are measured more frequently.
- Change and improvement is baked in as a normal part of the process. You won’t be stuck with marketing that isn’t working, and you will have marketers beside you in the evaluation and planning process.
David Mills is the CMO for Story Collaborative and helps lead the Story team based agile approach to marketing.