By: Shane Sale. Global Agile Consultant at CvE
Our experienced Digital Marketing Transformation Consultants share their secrets.
The growing popularity of Agile Marketing in the past few years has resulted in a lot of marketers trying to “hack” growth. Brands have seen and heard their fellow Marketers increase their revenue, lead gen efficiency, customer satisfaction, and even employee satisfaction through Agile methods, and want to.
But to build long-term, customer-centric success, your process and approach needs to be much more than just piecing together a series of hacks and hoping for the best. Setting up the right process for your Agile marketing team will ultimately help you become not just a one-day hacker, but a proven and successful growth master. Like many software companies who use Agile practices to build products, marketers can implement an Agile approach for their growth process, and ultimately spend less to achieve their overall goals.
Below are four key questions any marketer should address before going Agile.
1. Do You Have Buy-In at The Right Level?
All internal stakeholders need to be on the same page when it comes to an Agile Marketing Manifesto. Ultimately, Agile strategies require groups from throughout the entire business to work together in unison.
Make sure everyone, from your executives to your marketing teams understand what Agile marketing means and what the benefits are. You need to get buy-in at the highest levels of your organisation and not just your marketing leader. It should include as many members of executive leadership as possible like Divisional leads, CSO etc.
One way to accomplish that goal is to create regular check-ins with all the relevant stakeholders so they become active participants in the process. They may even become part of that advocacy team that spreads the word about your successes within the business.
2. Do You Have a Clear Goal and Purpose for Using Agile Marketing?
In order to drive measurable success, you must be certain about what it is exactly you are trying to accomplish. At the highest level, you might be looking to improve your overall digital marketing processes, or smaller pieces of these processes, such as content marketing or social media. However, high-level goals are not enough, so you will need to take some time to define where you need to improve your marketing strategy as well as how the marketing team going Agile will accomplish that.
An Agile Marketing goal could be any number of things:
- Faster time-to-market for new marketing campaigns
- More successful product launches
- Improved creative processes in both quality and timing
- Customer retention – keeping customers engaged, happy, and spending
- Increasing loyalty and driving repeat purchases
- Achiever a higher ranking in the global with strong brand name
Quantify your goals as much as you can. Attaching a specific timeline/time-box and relevant KPIs, like a percentage reduction in time to market or resource spend, can help you evaluate your Agile marketing success – and sell the process to your entire organisation once you reach these goals.
3. Have You Adopted the Right Attitude for Agile Marketing?
It might sound cliché, but attitude is a significant part of the Agile philosophy. Your department needs a strict, continuous improvement mindset, the ability to objectively reflect on what worked and what didn’t, and the understanding that failure is part of the process.
Every past campaign, project, or experiment is an opportunity to learn. Even if a sprint failed, using a strategic,” test and learn” philosophy will help you share your success and failings to the wider business so they can capitalise on what the business has already learnt. Remember, nothing is perfect, and everything can be improved. Once that attitude settles in across your organisation, you’re halfway to being Agile.
Marketers on an Agile team think about their work differently. They exhibit respect, collaboration, improvement and learning cycles, pride in ownership, focus on delivering value, and the ability to adapt to change. Not only do you deliver great results, but employee satisfaction skyrockets because they can see the fruits of their labour in real-time. This mindset is necessary to cultivate high-performing teams, who in turn deliver amazing value for their customers.
4. Have You Built the Right Agile Marketing Team?
Agile, no matter the department, is a team effort. Building the right team around you will increase your chances for long term success. The ideal team consists of 6-10 members from each relevant area of your organisation.
An in-house Agile marketing team requires a robust marketing stack, which means it will likely benefit from both the generalists and specialists, depending on the projects. It is also likely to rely on multi-skilled members who can wear many hats. The challenge is to combine all the necessary skills for a truly self-reliant team that won’t need external support in both planning and execution.
The Agile Marketing team should include:
Scrum Master: A person to help the team meet its objectives, including coaching, being a servant leader within the team, helping break down impediments and creating a self-sufficient and autonomous environment.
Marketing Owner: Like the Product Owner role for Agile product development, the Marketing Owner connects the marketing team with stakeholders on other teams, such as sales or product. Their remit is to make sure projects are happening on time, and the team can work without interruptions.
Agile Marketing Director/Manager: In agile methodology, this role usually keeps their traditional, strategic role and are also more involved in what the team is doing, becoming a facilitator.
Support teams: are made up of experts in one field supporting certain areas or teams (their internal clients) within the organization. An example could be a content marketing team creating content for different teams within the marketing department (like SEO, lead generation, or retention) and other teams like sales.
Cross-functional team: can work on an entire campaign from start to finish, and so are perfect for Scrum. An example setup can be:
- A marketing strategist
- Graphic designer
- Content marketer
- SEO expert
- Web developer
- PPC expert
The Agile approach taken from software development is a great and powerful tool in the hands of every marketing leader. It allows you to build the process of growth and see true improvements, rather than taking a random approach and spending lots of money on things that may or may never work, and in return, will never allow you to truly optimise your potential business and customer growth. Going headfirst into Agile can be a scary prospect, especially when creating group wide changes. But, what is really important and underpins any successful Agile transformation and adoption, is to adapt the tenets of Agile to fit your own business and culture so that your Agile journey can live and breathe as part of your DNA.
The key to success is doing your research. Find out which Agile marketing methodologies make the most sense for your company. Different brands and marketplaces will respond better to different Agile marketing processes. Your task, at the first stage, is to find out which one works best for your business.