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Evolving Marketing Ecosystems Require Adaptive Principles

The digital world is evolving so fast that it’s tough to know where to focus marketing resources. Some marketers surf trends, throwing all their weight behind new platforms or popular technologies. Others invest in large, fixed-cost projects so at least their expenses will be predictable but trends come to an end, and large projects don’t allow for the kind of flexibility needed to address rapidly changing consumer expectations.

In the scramble to keep pace or change direction, ROI takes a hit, quality suffers, and customer loyalty starts to drop.

The (R)evolutionary Marketing Ecosystem

What’s needed is an approach to creating, maintaining, and growing your digital ecosystem—one that helps you prioritize, develop, and optimize marketing efforts based on value both inside your organization and among your customers. At GLG, we call this new approach iterative engineering. At the root, what sets iterative engineering apart is that the components of the ecosystem (apps, social, web, CMS) are based not on inflexible requirements, but on adaptive principles.

Taking cues from lean manufacturing and development, this approach may not be common for marketing infrastructures, but it’s actually really intuitive. When behavior, expectations, and technology are in constant flux, it just doesn’t make sense to lock yourself into a fixed feature set when building, say, a mobile app. It does however, make sense to establish general guidelines that the app can be measured by, like share-ability or security.

The Advantages of a Principled Approach

Because of this principled approach, iterative engineering involves a radical rethinking of how digital assets are developed and deployed throughout the ecosystem. To use the above example, shareability may be attained in a number of ways, but some are more resource intensive than others. Thanks to the flexibility of using guiding principles and an iterative process versus exhaustive and rigid requirements, the following advantages become clear:

1. Prioritization is easy, because the decision can be made based on a comparison of the value to be gained to the resources required.
2. Success can be measured along the way, leading to new opportunities to optimize and shift resources where they are having the biggest impact.

Whereas the traditional approach to marketing infrastructure relies on complex, costly up-front costs, iterative engineering involves simplicity, flexibility, optimization, and iterative growth. Marketers benefit from the ability to shift focus, change gears, and build on success. Their customers benefit because the principles guiding each step of the process are rooted in maintaining value despite the quickly changing landscape of their own expectations and needs.