There is a great deal of excitement in our circles about agile email marketing, yet if you ask what it is all about you will get a number of different answers. Some suggest it is the solution to all our problems in campaign management but this is somewhat wide of the mark.
Agile originated, as so many confusing theories do, in the depths of IT. It answered a problem specific to programming. In the early stages the target, that of improving a programme, is daunting. If it is split into smaller tasks and these are tightly managed, then the process runs quicker, smoother and more progressively.
To summarise, the overall task is solved by individual teams addressing one problem at a time and each solution being installed immediately.
It’s application to other fields, notably bulk email marketing, might seem a leap of faith and it isn't a straight swap. However if the basics are followed the system can give a distinct advantage. If it suits your set-up then as a process it is well worth a try.
Do not be put off by terminology: scrums, sprints and other playful words which give the impression of juveniles in a pub. However, as a model, agile is a mature solution.
It is not for everyone. If your business is small, with few staff, then look elsewhere. If your management systems are tight with little or no fat, then there is little advantage to be gained. For those in medium/large companies with a decent sized campaign planning unit, then it probably will be of benefit.
You are planning a major campaign. You have lots of data from previous campaigns but still the processes will take weeks or maybe even months. The whole unit will be working towards the one target, with the single go live date.
Agile does it differently.
The idea is to identify individual tasks, perhaps to look at the images you use, to make them more relevant and to generate more responses. The lead-in time for this would be short and the improvement will be received immediately. That team, or another depending on availability, could then look at improvements to the 'Subject' line.
You have to accept that you will run with campaigns that are not perfect, nor are they ever likely to be as you are making small changes as you go along.
You can respond to new data instantly. Say, for instance, you discover that there is a spike in the demand for a certain product. Instead of a long(ish) campaign plan to exploit this, a small team could create an email marketing list of subscribers with common features to the purchasers and then modify a current campaign to exploit the information.
There is every chance, of course, that mistakes will be made if decisions are made on the fly so it is essential to monitor the results. A full campaign, working on historical data will, almost certainly, be out of date.
Agile email marketing systems are not the answer to everything of course. If they suit your company then they will give an advantage. Quick response to current data has got to be good.