Agile Marketing is Not Just a Buzzword for Public Libraries

Agile marketing is the latest buzzword among marketing professionals, but what does it really mean and can public libraries take advantage of some of its principles?

When the lights went out at the Super Bowl in January, Oreos advertising agency, 360i jumped into action. Within minutes, it had tweeted an image with a spot-on message: You can still dunk in the dark. The tweet was instantly popular, retweeted more than 15,000 times.

Its a good example of agile marketing. In todays faster-than-real-time pace, marketers need to be ready to take advantage of opportunities as they happen. Fortunately, this fast-paced environment is also more forgiving, and marketers have the luxury of experimenting without too many repercussions.

Agile marketing uses quick and efficient marketing techniques to reach more clients and address their needs promptly. According to, This process is iterative, allowing for short marketing experiments, frequent feedback, and the ability to react to changing market conditions.

How is this useful for public libraries?

Speed: The essence of agile marketing is speed, and public libraries can benefit greatly by using social media to respond within minutes to library user questions and communicating important library news swiftly.

Instant Feedback: Campaign ideas can be tested on a small scale first, before committing resources. Public library marketers can evaluate results and then decide which of several competing marketing strategies work best.

Economical:  The ability to test ideas without much investment means that agile marketing can also be cost effective. Librarians can invest heavily in ideas that work, rather than invest in big marketing campaigns that dont necessarily garner a lot of interest.

Opportunistic: Instead of evaluating and analyzing trends, agile marketing responds quickly to news or events happening in real-time.

In practice, agile marketing really means a willingness to be nimble, flexible and open-minded. It means that marketers should be willing to take small, calculated risks, test new ideas frequently (as often as every day!), and to fail and try again over and over.

However, marketers should never lose sight of the bigger picture. Whatever new experiments you try, be certain that they help you achieve the goals and objectives of your marketing plan and public library.


About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.