Embracing Imperfection: Agile Marketing in a Dynamic World

Change is the only constant in the fast-paced world of business and media. And driving all this change are consumers. They are dynamic, flighty, disloyal, and have a short attention span. As marketers, we must strive for relevance at every turn and keep up with digital marketing trends or risk being left in the wake.


As the media landscape continues to evolve, one thing is becoming clear: perfection is not attainable. It is only an obstacle to effectively keeping up with ever-changing market trends. Our previous process focused on creative perfection. After our clients perfected and presented their briefs to us, we would deep-dive into our clients’ audience to find the perfect insights. We presented the perfect presentation and would then research and refine our ideas over and over and over again. And while this resulted in something we, and our clients, were proud of, this process could take up to 18 months. By the time the “perfect” idea we created made its way to market, it was already outdated. 

Agencies still need to be fabulously creative with their work. They need to strive for the best. But they also need to be fabulously creative in the way they work. Smart, agile and flexible are the prerequisites for success in today’s world. 

If not perfection, then what?

At Barefoot, we’ve found that the pursuit of perfection can stifle innovation, hinder agility and put us at risk of falling behind. Instead, we practice a different approach: make it, test it, break it and re-make it again. Rather than avoid imperfection, we take an agile approach and embrace it. After all, perfect is the enemy of good, and with marketing industry trends rapidly shifting, agility will always triumph over perfection.

Here are a few principles we follow to embrace agility:

  1. Ask for simple briefs: Briefs should not be a dump bin of everything you know and think the consumer might want to hear about. They should focus on the one thing you want to say — the one thing that will get a consumer’s attention. And if possible, this “one thing” needs to be wrapped in a narrative; what Simon Sinek would call the “why” of the brand. 
  2. Don’t get lost in targeting: Define your ideal target audience clearly and concisely. While we all want a broad consumer base, focusing on individuals who share our brand values and philosophy is vital. Trust comes from a feeling of shared values and emotions that the consumer can buy into.
  3. Kick-off creatively: Begin with high-energy, interactive brainstorming sessions — the first ideas that come are usually the best. These sessions should be short, sharp, dynamic and invigorating. Encourage your client to join early on in the process and take pride in demonstrating your creative thinking, regardless of how unrefined it may be.
  4. Test ideas quickly: The digital world is perfect for testing ideas in real-time. Multiple iterations of a concept can be explored, allowing us to refine language, characters and taglines. We can quickly understand what’s working and refine our strategy within days.
  5. We’re not afraid to break it: The days when an agency would doggedly hang on to an idea they felt passionate about are long gone. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. Period. No one wins creativity awards for work that doesn’t sell a product. If it’s not working, we determine why and change it.
  6. We create a team of experts to make it happen: As with everything in life, this is all about people. Building a smart, small, flexible, action-oriented team, driven by a project manager that galvanizes and pushes the process forward, is the key to success. We meet every day — yes every day — for a minimum of 30 minutes. And, most importantly, the client is part of our team.
  7. Be brave: If you want to make it happen, you can.

These principles don’t guarantee perfection, and that’s the point. Creating effective, relevant content for your consumer is less about perfection and more about this kind of strategic and creative adaptability.

Reaping the rewards

At Barefoot, we’ve embraced the idea that the enemy of good is perfection, allowing us to be more proactive and responsive in our work. When our client, Elanco, loved our initial idea for their new Seresto flea and tick collar campaign, we worked out how to get it to market within six months rather than the typical 18 months. We made quick decisions, avoided endless debates about minor details, and got the campaign live by May 2023 instead of the expected May 2024 date. And we’re now watching the stats and evolving the campaign to optimize it and fit market conditions as they change. 


This shows that when you stop striving for unattainable perfection and instead focus on agility, you can stay ahead of the game in a dynamic industry. 

And who wouldn’t want to receive an email like this from their client? 


After successfully launching their new IMC, the messages from our client overflowed with pride and gratitude for our talented and tenacious team. They described our accomplishment as “massive,” underscoring its profound significance, and praised the team’s collective efforts, labeling our approach as remarkable and a testament to the power of focused effort and smart, strategic thinking. 


The world of marketing doesn’t pause for perfection. It doesn’t wait for us to polish every aspect of our strategies to a gleaming shine. Instead, it rewards those who can recognize that perfection is the enemy of good — who understand that agility and a willingness to take calculated risks produce better results than perfection ever could.

Chris Blazye

Group Director, Strategic Planning

Chris has spent the last 30 years working as a Brand Strategist in the communication industry, following the completion of his PhD in 1990.

He has worked in a variety of businesses from large blue chip agencies (D’Arcy, Leo Burnett, McCann Erickson) to creative hotshops (GGT, ARNOLD, TBWA) on a wide range of business from automotive (Mercedes Benz and Nissan) and beverages (Holsten Lager, John Smiths Bitter, Finlandia Vodka) to COI (Blood Donation) and FMCG (Kellogg, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, P&G and Unilever). 


After leaving TBWA as Planning Director in 2000 Chris owned his own advertising agency (Malcolm Moore Deakin Blazye) and then spent three years at McCann Erickson. Chris joined Nitro in March 2006 to work on Coca Cola and Unilever. 


Chris spent two years working at MindShare as the Global Head of Communications Planning for Team Unilever and from 2009 ran BlazyePearce a brand and communications consultancy, working on a range of business from Coca-Cola and Frobisher’s Fruit Juice to Imperial Brands and Elanco Animal Health. Chris joined Barefoot in 2023.