Given the significant changes in the healthcare landscape, marketers’ ways of working must evolve. Products are becoming less clinically differentiated, big data and artificial intelligence hold the promise of a customer insights renaissance and customers now expect seamless, real-time communication. In this new world of data proliferation and nonstop omnichannel intervention, a deeper, human connection is necessary to truly differentiate the customer experience.

Marketers will need to embrace new ways of working to remain relevant to customers and retain share. That means upskilling and cross-staffing marketing organizations, allowing for more operating flexibility and efficiency. Healthcare marketing organizations are addressing these challenges and succeeding in the changing healthcare landscape through agile marketing. Agile marketing teams are capable of:

  • Understanding and acting upon big data and AI outputs
  • Working dynamically across departments and with extended networks to respond to changing customer needs and market contexts in real time (for example, concept testing in days, not weeks)
  • Solving problems analytically and creatively, engendering authentic long-term connections between customers and brands

Ultimately, agile marketing transformations result in improved customer satisfaction, engagement and loyalty, yet many organizations fail to realize this potential. Before delving into the pitfalls undermining success, let’s define agile marketing and explain what an agile transformation looks like and how it differs from other forms of agile adoption.


What is agile marketing?


The traditional “4Ps” approach of product, price, promotion and place puts marketing organizations at a disadvantage. Today’s customer and competitive landscape requires agile marketing: ways of working that are adaptive and fluid to address complex challenges as they arise and respond to incoming insights to learn what works best to deliver customer value. Agile marketing is flexible, iterative, never done and always customer-focused.


 What is an agile transformation?


At ZS, we distinguish between two types of agile: big “A” Agile and little “a” agile.

  • Big “A” Agile instills flexibility into all facets of the marketing organization. It’s a cultural, procedural and structural shift. Though the transformation time frame is long, the rewards are substantial.
  • Little “a” agile instills agile approaches, tools or frameworks into a subset of the marketing organization. It’s a short-term change aimed at solving a temporary marketing problem. The majority of little “a” agile is represented by process or team formation changes (for example, the Kanban workflow management method and Scrum agile process framework).

Due to the firm-wide commitment required to execute an agile marketing transformation, marketing leaders must choose the agile solution best catered to their situation and capacity for change.


Becoming big “A” Agile


In ZS’s experience, agile transformations fail to meet their full potential for one of four reasons. Over the course of four upcoming blog posts, we’ll cover the pitfalls that often undermine agile transformation success. Each post will describe how healthcare marketers can avoid these pitfalls or minimize their impact to fully realize agile marketing’s potential.