A recent survey reported by Forbes found that 63% of marketing leaders indicate agility as a high priority, but only 40% rate themselves as agile.

So, what is agile marketing? Marketer Gizmo describe it as “a tactical marketing approach in which marketing teams collectively identify high value projects on which to focus their collective efforts,” often using “sprints,” or short periods of intensive work. Businesses deploying these tactics enjoy improved rates of business performance, employee satisfaction and adaptability – all contributing to sustainable growth.

Here’s a run down of my favourite examples of agile social media marketing. Take note!

Oreo’s Superbowl response

When a blackout shut off some of the football stadium lights for half an hour during the 2013 Superbowl, Oreo jumped at the opportunity to get in on the buzz blowing up on social media. Their tweet received over 15,000 retweets and millions of impressions. Compared to the millions of dollars forked out by brands for a coveted advertising spot, Oreo received a significant share of the Superbowl’s audience for a fraction of the cost, in time as well as money.

Lesson: Flexibility is key; consider having a team on standby.

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Photo by Oreo Cookies

Responses to London’s #TubeStrike

This summer, social media blew up in the face of strikes on the London Underground. Brands that hopped on to the buzz included Renault and their fleet of free cars, Fitness First with free use of their facilities using an Oyster card, and Strada’s free coffees. My favourite, though, has got to be Innocent Drinks’ use of humour in the face of an otherwise frustrating situation. They’ve nailed the tongue-in-cheek, off-beat playfulness that has helped accelerate brands on social media.

Lesson: Keep it fun.

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Photo by Innocent Drinks

Ben & Jerry’s respond to marriage equality

When the UK government were in talks to legalise same-sex marriage in March 2014, Ben & Jerry’s teamed up with charity Stonewall to launch their ‘Apple-y Ever After’ limited edition ice cream alongside a campaign urging consumers to write to their MPs expressing their stance on marriage equality. Of course, once legalised, brands ‘came out’ the wood work to celebrate the landmark (whilst also accelerating their own presence.)

Lesson: Plan. Have a recipe or partnership up your sleeve.

Photo by Ben & Jerry’s

As Youtse Sung from Econsultancy points out, agile marketing is not riding off a surge of tweets, but “responding to data, trends or customer behaviour in a way that is both fast and smart.” Responding to market disruptions and cultural moments does not mean making it up as you go along.

I’ll leave you with a thought from one of my favourite authors, Herman Melville. He once said “it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” Fear of failure isn’t productive, but neither is not learning from failure. Agile marketing can be fun, so fail fast, but Iearn fast too.

Featured photo by Oscar Rethwill Flickr/CC BY 2.0