What is Agile Marketing?

First, let’s discuss what agile marketing is not.

You’re not running an agile marketing department:

  • if you have more marketing priorities than you have resources to achieve the desired outcomes. 
  • if you’re unable to deliver valuable results with your marketing campaigns. 
  • if you lack an overarching marketing strategy
  • if there are no owners of projects and outcomes
  • if you change your priorities midweek regularly, you’re not agile. 

Agile is a term that comes from the software development world, describing a methodology for identifying work to be done, tasking it and seeing that the work gets accomplished. 

It’s pretty simple. 

But like, how does that happen? 

Applying agile methodology to marketing is relatively new nomenclature even though the strategy has existed for many years. 

I feel like agile marketing is kind of like the new word to use. It’s getting thrown around in the lexicon. But it’s not necessarily new. It’s just an approach to your marketing department. 

 

Focus and energy is finite.

In order to avoid diluted efforts, ensure that your team’s energy is focussed in order to reach milestones and goals.

Agile Marketing Energy Diagram

Most organizations are on the left here, which is they’ve got talent, they’ve got resources, but they’re doing too many things. 

And as a result, they’ve got a scattered focus. And they don’t deliver the results that they need. 

What we’re going to talk about is on the right hand side of this, which is having focused energy, and focusing-in enough to get to the result that is important to you. 

How can I apply Agile Marketing to my business?

To apply Agile Marketing to your business, you need to implement these traits:

Trait #1: Tasks are assigned and completed within sprints.

A sprint is a set interval for work to be completed within

Sprint’s should be the same length like one week, two week, three week or four weeks long, and they shouldn’t change after they start. 

You may have a de facto sprint length in your organization when you say things like “I want this work done by Friday.” That might be how you typically task inside of your organization. Or you might say “let’s deliver this project by the end of the month”. 

Your sprint length maybe every week or every month or some variation thereof. The problem is that they’re not codified in length and as a result, the team can’t plan their deliverables in a certain time. 

Sprint lengths and objectives shouldn’t change after they start.

This can be particularly hard for entrepreneurs, to have their team stay the course on tasks for a 2-week period or longer. The entrepreneur may want to change direction due to a change in the market, or a gut feeling. 

To have the highest potential for success (and to reduce the time lost in context switching), team sprint outcomes should not change after they start.

Trait #2: Daily Scrums are hosted

A “scrum” or “SCRUM” is a term that comes from rugby, describing a huddle. In agile methodology, a SCRUM is a stand-up meeting no more than 15 minutes in length, where the team shares:

  • What did you do yesterday?
  • What are you doing today?
  • Are you stuck or blocked on anything?

These stand-up meetings started as literal stand-ups, where developers would stand up from their desk and do a quick check-in with each other. 

The SCRUM accomplishes 3 important things:

  1. The individual must be prepared to discuss what they’re doing today and must defend the tasks they intend to do as being of priority
  2. Any blockers can get unblocked with a “hey, can I get you for 2 mins… I’m stuck on XYZ”
  3. The manager knows the team’s status and can ensure the priorities are being communially executed

There exists automated SCRUM software for Slack, which can prompt a remote team to check-in with the 3 SCRUM questions at the same time.

Trait #3: Marketing Strategy dictates the quarterly outcomes

Most businesses fail to plan quarterly outcomes, and specifically, marketing departments rarely have measurable outcomes for each quarter. 

The question that must be answered is “What outcomes must we have by the end of the quarter in order to be on track for our growth goals?”

And these need to be simple. A smart quarterly outcome should be a single sentence, or a single quantifiable metric.

Poor marketing quarterly outcomes:

  • Increase leads
  • Send the newsletter
  • Attend the big trade shows

Measurable marketing quarterly outcomes:

  • Drive 1500 new leads by the end of the quarter
  • Send 3 newsletters with a minimum 16% open rate
  • Collect 150 new leads at the big trade show.
Trait #4: Everyone has their own outcomes

Not only should the marketing department have measurable outcomes for the quarter, so should each individual. When an individual knows which outcomes they’re responsible for, they have a sense of confidence and completion when the outcomes are met. 

This also allows for easier management of marketing team members. It can be very cut-and-dry during quarterly marketing reviews: Did the team member achieve their quarterly outcomes on-time? 

Trait #5: KPIs or OKRs are tightly tracked

The majority of these quarterly outcomes should be measured with key performance indicators or OKRs.

By having a dashboard that the marketing team and management can review on a weekly basis, the marketing team knows if they’re on track for their goal. 

Never again will you have to worry about a team member expending significant effort without having their eye on the outcome needed for business growth!

Number of new leads, sales, the ROI or ROAS by channel, and the completion rate of sprint and quarterly outcomes are great KPIs to start tracking.

Trait #6: Weekly all-hands markeitng meetings

To get the focus needed to drive the quarterly outcomes, there must be weekly meetings to dive into the individual tasks and KPIs. This is a more in-depth meeting than the morning SCRUMs. An efficient weekly all-hands marketing meeting should last 45-75 minutes. 

There are two types of weekly marketing meetings (assuming a 2-week sprint length)

Sprint Planning – During this meeting type, the team identifies the tasks that need to be completed in the next 2 weeks. The sprint is planned, the team is tasked, and everyone knows what is expected of them for the next two weeks.

Sprint Review – One week after the Sprint Planning meeting, the team will get back together and review their status half-way through the 2-week sprint. This is where management ensures the team is on track to deliver the sprint outcomes and provide support. These meetings may be shorter than Sprint Planning, unless there are blockers that require more discussion.

It is the marketing leader’s job to keep everyone focused on the KPIs, outcomes and big picture. Where necessary, dive into details, but generally keep everyone focused on the big picture. 

 

Video: A quick guide to agile marketing from our friends at moz.com

What advantages does Agile Marketing provide?

Agile marketing methodology provides a number of benefits for small and large organizations. 

Predictable outcomes

Perhaps the most valuable outcome of agile marketing is the ability to deploy campaigns and outcomes predictably. Without agile marketing, it’s difficult to plan the team’s time. 

With agile marketing, the team learns what they can accomplish during a sprint and work adently towards those outcomes. 

Team cohesion

The nature of agile marketing is to provide adequate meetings, without being excessive. 

A daily 15-minute SCRUM and a weekly all-hands marketing meeting are often enough meetings for a team. The rest of their time can be spent wrenching on the problem, building the campaign, or optimizing and testing. 

Confidence in leadership and team members

When a team member knows exactly what’s required of them, and how they fit into the big picture of the marketing outcomes, they feel confident. They know when they’ve done a great job. This individual confidence leads to greater satisfaction by the team members and a happier overall team.

How is Agile Marketing being used today?

Agile marketing is being used at Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups. Agile marketing is a methodology that allows companies to more predictably deliver marketing campaigns and marketing results. 

Organizations that run daily SCRUMs, weekly all-hands marketing meetings, focusing on the quarterly and sprint outcomes are using traits of agile marketing. 

If you’d like to have a marketing leader step into your company and build an agile marketing team, reach out about our fractional chief marketing officer service. Our fractional CMOs are certified marketing strategists and leaders, who can turn any marketing team into an efficient, effective and fun marketing team.

Book your marketing clarity call at https://cmox.co/audit to find out how we can help your company achieve greater results in less time. 

If you are interested in bringing in a marketing strategy consultant to your business, contact us at CMOx today to arrange your strategy call. 

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