In today’s digital-first marketing environment, the need for more quality creative, in shorter timelines, and with less cost is an expectation. Here’s how agile management practices can you change your creative process to meet this need.

The need for more creative, in shorter timelines, and with more variety were among the top three challenges creative professionals faced last year. Agile management practices allow creative teams to better respond to these challenges. But exactly how do agile management practices help creative teams perform better? Let’s look at four components of agile management that can benefit creative processes.


Rapid Iterations

Agile Management Practices That Are Changing the Creative Process — Rapid Iterations

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One of the core principles of agile management is the idea of favoring rapid iterations over big campaigns. Traditional creative processes emphasize planning large complicated campaigns. They may be weeks in length, or even burst-focused. What’s more, often they rely on agencies to develop creative and execute the campaign. This work focuses more on strategy and creative and less on campaign performance.

Agile creative processes emphasize accepting that creative might need to change quickly after learning if it worked. Using two-week creative sprints is a great way to systematize iteration. After launching creative, it’s important that marketers analyze, document, and apply learnings and test new messaging in rapid iteration.


Testing and Data Use.

Agile Management Practices That Are Changing the Creative Process — Testing and Data Use

Image via Vintage Tone.

The idea of making creative decisions based off of data and not only the eye-test is an unfamiliar one to many creatives. Creative processes often mean that the highest-paid person has the loudest and most followed voice in campaign decisions. However, with agile creative, test results and data play a more important role. We don’t suggest ignoring senior management, but data and test results should get equal importance.

Placing importance on testing and data use is a big cultural change for a lot of creatives. As a result, getting buy-in and enthusiasm for it takes some work. We take this agile approach at Shutterstock. And, there are times when our best performing creative include concepts that we didn’t anticipate working well. This leads to adapting and iterating the design based on response data.


Creative for Multiple Audiences

Agile Management Practices That Are Changing the Creative Process — Creative for Multiple Audiences

Image via Stephan Bidouze.

A major marketing trend over the past few years is micro-audiences or micro-segmentation. This trend is something marketers frequently talk about, but many companies hesitate to implement it due to execution challenges.

A major part of the challenge comes from creating messaging and creative relevant to multiple audiences while also managing campaigns that can target these audiences. The agile approach embraces this idea. It uses rapid iteration and testing of components to create messaging and visuals for these audiences. When marketers can match highly relevant visuals with highly focused targeting, the return on their efforts improves.


Response to Change

Agile Management Practices That Are Changing the Creative Process — Response to Change

Image via JoeZ.

Marketing departments construct masterplans with the best of intentions. However, those masterplans can be difficult to follow with precision. Business priorities change throughout the year and, as a support department, creative needs to react to those changes instead of digging in and saying it’s out of scope.

Build a framework for 365 evergreen programs to form the basis for plans. Then, add standard campaign planning on top of it. Plans must allow room for flexibility and the ability to continually evolve and change, while also providing a way to iterate and improve campaign-based programs.


The agile approach isn’t just conjecture. It’s a real model that truly can change the way different marketing functions operate and improve their efficiency and effectiveness. For creative teams, agile management helps foster the right philosophy, structure, and processes to be successful in today’s evolving digital landscape.

Top Image via Puyolito.


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