The Challenges of Agile Marketing On A Budget

Marketing on a budget is seriously difficult.  Apart from no money, you also probably have no time and no help.  So how does a broke, busy and one-person army do all of the necessary collaboration, testing and campaign pivots needed to grow their business through agile marketing? Let's find out.

They find clever ways to compensate - Funny, but true.  Agile marketers on a budget don't have money to give out all the time, but they may have other ways to compensate people and vendors they need help from. For example, an agile marketer I know was a scratch golfer in a previous life.  They've constantly exchanged golf lessons to get favors - be it help from a software house on building an app, access to a facility for a launch party and several other things they needed to move their marketing campaigns forward.  Sure, not all of us are amazing athletes, but we all have skills, knowledge or things other people will find valuable that we can use to get help where we need it.  Money always helps getting things done quickly, but it's not the only thing people want.

They form the right partnerships - Making your marketing team lean and agile is hard to do. Being agile means being flexible and having the means to add, modify and change aspects of your marketing campaigns on the fly.  Say your campaign involves building a new website to promote a special event and driving traffic to the site using inbound marketing tactics.  In that scenario, just to build out the campaign, the agile marketer needs to rely on designers, web developers, content creators and perhaps a HubSpot or Marketo expert.  Not to mention a therapist once they go broke!  In this case every change/revision to the campaign is going to result in more costs to the agile marketer.  See the problem? They can't tweak based on what they see because every tweak results in more money.  Their support (contractors, third-parties etc) obviously work on fixed requirements in a traditional style.  Every deviation from the initial 'project scope' results in a change order and a new invoice.

To combat this, an agile marketer can partner with marketing support organizations whose primary job is to serve as the back-end team for the agile marketer.  The marketing support organization gives the agile marketer access to various skills at their finger-tips on demand - designers, developers, marketing automation experts and other technical resources that the agile marketer uses whenever needed.  Instead of the agile marketer hiring skill-based staff, they hire the support organization on retainer for a fixed set of hours each month.  Then, the marketer can pull in whatever skills they need depending on the nature of the campaigns they're running.  This gives the agile marketer the means to be flexible while staying lean.

They compromise - There's an old and constantly regurgitated LinkedIn meme that says people buying services can get 2 of the following 3 qualities - good, fast or cheap.  Good and cheap won't be fast, fast and good won't be cheap or fast and cheap won't be good.  Since they can't afford Nike's marketing team agile marketers on a budget make these kinds of compromises every day.  They probably don't hold themselves to one approach when selecting service providers.  They do factor in just how much tolerance they have for quality, speed and cost when putting campaigns together though.

From what we notice most agile marketers on a budget choose the quickest and cheapest way to get things done and then devote more of their time collaborating with third parties to bring the quality up to an appropriate level.   Like an agile developer, the agile marketer's main concern is getting a proof of concept out into the market to test, evaluate results and then change based on any feedback.  In an environment with short lead-times for campaigns to get started, implemented and evaluated the need to be 'live' trumps the need to be 'perfect.'  For sure, when getting a tattoo you probably pay more to be 'good and fast' (you don't want a typo there after all), but if you're running a marketing campaign on a budget and trying to be agile you'll definitely need to compromise a little.

More and more marketing teams at large corporations have already taken steps to become more agile.  However, the marketing done by small in-house teams or marketing agencies have compensation, staff and other issues to overcome that large businesses don't have to worry about.  If they get creative in how they get things done, partner with the right organizations and make the right compromises then adapting an agile marketing approach will be less complicated.  This eBook outlines how your small marketing department can go agile and the type of people the agile marketing department needs to have.

About the Author:

Sajeel Qureshi is the Vice President of Operations at
 Computan. Computan helps short-handed marketing departments and marketing agencies get more agile by providing them affordable and reliable back-end support. He has a degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University, and an MBA from Eastern Illinois University