Willie Mays exhibited wonderous agility when he turned and sprinted straight to the center field wall to catch a deep fly ball with his back to the plate. And although he didn’t invent it, soccer star Pele, scored with his bicycle kick, a foolhardy tactic if lesser mortals had attempted it to score a goal. They were both incredible athletes who relied on years of training, practice, and knowledge of the game to delight fans and win the game.
Digital marketers must do much the same in the Experience Economy. They draw upon their years of experience, knowledge of marketing, and customer data to win customers over. And they have just moments to decide how to make the right play. Nowadays, customers are bombarded with messaging from a multitude of sources, and if you don’t intrigue and interest them immediately, their attention will be captured elsewhere. Therefore, marketers have only a micro-moment to make the right impression.
And what helps you do that?
Agility means the ability to move and think easily and quickly. Salespeople have told me that agility is the ability to react to customer emotion or new information in the moment. This skill is even more imperative as customers drive their own unique buying journeys nowadays. They expect marketers to meet them on the channel of their choice with consistent, relevant messaging that strikes the right chord. How do you stand out from the competition and all the noise? You develop a more agile mindset.
The old ways of selling and serving markets don’t apply, not when you have only a micro-moment to stand out from a sea of marketing messages. This doesn’t only apply to B2C, either. B2B customers also expect a B2C-like experience that similarly draws upon emotion.
Agility allows you to keep up with change and then adjust or pivot when the need arises, based on what your metrics say. The key is empathy–putting yourself in your customers’ shoes to know how you can help them. Smart marketers learn that if they can address their customers’ needs in ways that meet their expectations with speed, then their brands will have earned their customers’ business going forward.
Therefore, for marketing teams, agility has to form the fundamental characteristic of organizational behavior and thought. Flexibility is the twin of agility and the two have grown into adulthood. How can marketing teams build more agility into their organization so that they can more easily pivot and tweak campaigns?
It takes four key steps:
Marketers never stop learning. The data always has something new to teach them, but the bedrock of their knowledge comes from their training. Teams should know how to properly use their tools, understand the data before them, campaign metrics, and how the team works together.
The right processes are those that produce the most efficient results. They are thoughtfully designed around achieving the end goal with minimal friction and empirical proof that the efficiencies gained are measurable. Everyone on a marketing team gets onboard with a process that outlines how an idea is turned into content and put onto a channel during a campaign. And if something isn’t working or can be done better, the process can be refined and revised.
While agility can be built over time with practice, hiring people with open minds and ability to flex under pressure goes a long way to being prepared. They’ll be able to react in inventive ways when things aren’t right. Too rigid thinking doesn’t play well in unforeseen situations.
Confidence is a critical element of being agile. Knowing you have the requirements to succeed and believing your initiative will be positively recognized are key triggers for action. But part of “having what’s required” comes from strong leaders who create the environment for people to be properly equipped. Leaders play a critical role in instilling confidence in marketing teams and empowering them to be well-informed so they can be decisive when planning, analyzing and running campaigns.
If you could think of one skill or trait that sets marketers and CX professionals in general for success—what would it be? ? Intelligence? Communications?
I argue that the key skill would be agility. The way forward might seem daunting when you have only micro-moments to engage customers, but you can turn it around by being able to quickly respond to events as they unfold.
Do customers respond better to one version of email content over another? One design over another? Do they respond better to statistics? Do they like blogs, webinars, or how-to videos? Test, pay attention to campaign results, and optimize. Their behaviors will tell you how to change course and plan better for the next time, and your agility will help you put those plans into action.
Winning customers over in micro-moments takes both emotion and empathy. You use them to tell the story of how your brand can help. Find out more with “Emotion and Empathy: The Storytelling Keys to Content Marketing.”