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What Does Agile Marketing Mean for PR?

agile marketing and PR

The term “agile” likely isn’t new to you, especially if you work at a tech company that relies on agile software development. Agile marketing is, as a HuffPost article defines it, “a measure of the speed at which marketing gets done and a philosophy about ‘how’ marketing gets done.” (For a much more complicated but colorful definition of agile methodology, this clip from HBO’s Silicon Valley, a BLASTmedia favorite, is worth a watch.)

From Software Development to Agile Marketing

Applying agile methodology to various business processes — including marketing — is fairly simple. As the name suggests, agile marketing encourages nimbleness through testing ideas and iterating based on results.

Agile methodology is based on the following four-step process:

  1. Sprint Planning – Sprint planning involves reviewing priorities and deciding on the most important items that the marketing team must accomplish during a specified period of time. A sprint could last for one week, two weeks or one month, depending on your goals.
  2. Sprint and Scrums – “Scrum” is a term adopted from rugby, and refers to players linking arms while advancing toward the opposing team. Within a marketing team, scrum involves clearly defined roles on a project and constantly testing and iterating based on results of those tests. Scrums are essentially mini-sprints within the sprint.
  3. Sprint Review – During the review, the team presents the items they have accomplished to key stakeholders in the organization
  4. Sprint Retrospective – As the name suggests, the sprint retrospective meeting is intended to be a time of reflection on the previous sprint, where team members discuss what they should stop, start and continue doing.

From the sprint retrospective, the process begins again with sprint planning. For complex projects, there are additional steps in the agile framework, but the four steps above is agile at the most basic level.  

Is Agile PR a “Thing?”

Like I mentioned earlier, agile marketing was born from agile software development. A methodology that can transcend two departments with very different functions is impressive, and with PR being an extension of marketing, it’s not unreasonable to assume that agile marketing can translate to agile PR as well. This is especially true of the media relations aspect of PR.

Media relations in and of itself requires nimbleness, as we constantly adapt to the ever-changing media landscape and breaking news of the day. Thus, the “sprint and scrum” stage of agile is where PR professionals can hone their craft. PR teams often get pigeonholed into following campaign plans to the letter while other timely opportunities go unpursued. The agile methodology seeks to cure this single-minded approach while providing teams healthy parameters to operate within. Agile removes the blinders to give PR pros the flexibility to innovate in their media outreach while working toward a common goal.

The Bottom Line

The agile methodology takes practice to master, but all the case studies point to improved streamlined processes and better results for teams operating within it. While agile is still fairly new to marketing — and even newer to PR — studying the framework is a good first step toward learning the art of nimbleness in pitching, planning and reporting.

For more tips of the trade for B2B PR professionals, check out our blog on terms every B2B PR pro should know!

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About Kate Jaramillo

Kate is an account manager who has always loved angles. When she found that geometry didn't satisfy her creative needs, she went for PR instead. When she's not pitching, Kate enjoys reading Wall Street Journal book reviews and scuba diving. But not at the same time.

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