Agile Marketing Research is an important development in the marketing research industry, creating tremendous buzz, controversy, and discussion. Often put forth as a solution to all of the drawbacks of traditional marketing research methods, Agile Marketing Research is modeled on Agile Software Development, an industry movement that started back in the 1980s. While still evolving, Agile Software development is identified by four main differences over traditional software development:
- Individuals and interactions take precedence over process and tools.
- Working software is more useful than documents about the software.
- Continuous customer or stakeholder collaboration is critical.
- Quick responses to change are the foundation for continuous development.
Like Agile Software Development, Agile Marketing Research shares these tenets and provides fast, less expensive, marketing research feedback. Because it is much quicker and less costly than traditional marketing research, Agile Marketing Research is especially valuable in those business situations requiring multiple sessions of research feedback for developing the optimal solution. Additionally, Agile Marketing Research tools are also being used in place of traditional marketing research just to respond to the increased pace of today’s business.
Agile Marketing Research is not a total replacement for traditional marketing research practices. However, leveraging the availability of new technologies, and new communications and sales channels combined with the proliferation of information and data, Agile Marketing Research techniques are particularly effective:
- When there is a need to address time-critical questions or respond to crises by producing insights quickly (often in only a few days) and more affordably than traditional marketing research techniques, while also achieving an acceptable and appropriate level of quality.
- When developing new product and marketing initiatives, to funnel and refine concepts and improve the likelihood of success by iterating on multiple concepts simultaneously, with larger samples than traditional methods, faster and for the same or less budget.
Additionally, Agile Marketing Research techniques are becoming more popular whenever marketers need a quick read on their consumer. For example, when sales fall short of projections. Or when a senior executive has a last-minute question. When concepts fail validation without an obvious reason. In other words, any time marketers are looking for information that can quickly and cost-effectively reduce anxiety, get them unstuck and moving forward again.
There is a huge opportunity for companies to improve decision-making with data. In fact, CMO magazine reports that marketers at the average Fortune 1000 company depend on data for only 11% of customer-related decisions. Part of the reason for this is a lack of resources, a problem which is superbly answered by Agile Marketing Research. And, again, while we won’t see all research problems solved with Agile Marketing Research, these new techniques certainly deserve consideration when traditional marketing research takes too long or costs too much.
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