IPA director general Paul Bainsfair
IPA director general Paul Bainsfair
A view from Paul Bainsfair

Outthinking the competition is one of the hallmarks of successful marketing

IPA director general Paul Bainsfair on Agile marketing's close parallels with the Blitzkrieg tactics of WW2

As my old friend Dave Trott says, "Marketing is a zero sum game. If you are to win, your competitor has to lose." Being agile in your thinking and action is increasingly critical if one is to gain a competitive advantage.

Technology is the key driver of this trend but in truth good marketing people and advertising agencies have never underestimated the importance of agility.

Topical advertising has always been one of the smart ways of being quick off the mark. Finding an unexpected connection between a brand and something or someone in the news can create fame and favorability for that brand. The emergence of the silicon-valley behemoths has further underlined the value of speed in marketing.

To my mind agility in marketing has close parallels with the Blitzkrieg tactics of the German army in WW2.

From the daily Google doodle to retargeted online ads we are constantly made aware of how hard brands are working to get our attention. Real time data is providing marketing people with shed loads of information. Those that act on this feedback are likely to stay one, if not several jumps ahead. I’m not sure I quite agree with the Google saying that data beats opinion but it certainly narrows the odds in your favour.

To my mind agility in marketing has close parallels with the Blitzkrieg tactics of the German army in WW2. The German historian Frieser summarised the Blitzkrieg as simply the result of German commanders blending the latest technology in the most beneficial way with the traditional military principles and "[employing] the right units in the right place at the right time"

That sounds pretty close to what’s going on now in the battle for the consumer’s mind. Clients and their agencies are no longer trying to plan all their activities in advance. Instead they are prepared to operate in a much more flexible and agile manner to achieve their goals. There is widespread acceptance that marketing today means that trying new innovative ways of engaging their consumers is not a nice to have but an essential component of their marketing armoury.

The ever important need for agility is a key strand of IPA President Ian Priest’s agenda. Our next Adaptathon which takes place on 7-8th May is geared to helping agencies and clients share some important learnings and to better appreciate how becoming more agile as an organisation can lead to better commercial creativity.

We’ll have sessions on ‘Agile Measurement’, ‘Agile Media’ and ‘Agile Creativity’. All promise to be packed with brilliant examples from many of our leading advertising and marketing practitioners. I am really looking forward to it and I hope to see you there.

Join us for our next groundbreaking adaptathon taking place on 7-8th May 2014. Tickets are available for AdaptLabs individually or in a package:

AdaptLab1: Measurement

7th May 8.30-11.30 am

Baking in social and the frameworks for measuring it right from the start with #IPASocialWorks.

AdaptLab2: Media

7th May 3-5pm

Preparing for programmatic trading lessons from the city and trading desks.

AdaptLab3: Creative

8th May 8.30-1pm

Creating real time agility through structuring, budgeting and organising for brand rather than product conversations.