Chances are you’ve heard of Agile, the software development framework that is increasingly ubiquitous in the tech world. But it is no longer just the purview of R+D teams. Agile principles are also helping marketing teams move faster and get results. For enterprise teams, deploying Agile principles can make marketing teams more flexible and responsive to customer needs.
So let’s start from the top.
What is Agile marketing?
Agile marketing takes the principles and values of Agile software development as its inspiration. This led to the creation of the Agile Marketing Manifesto, which provides a list of seven values that define the Agile marketing approach:
- Validated learning over opinions and conventions
- Customer-focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy
- Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big Bang campaigns
- The process of customer discovery over static prediction
- Flexible vs. rigid planning
- Responding to change over following a plan
- Many small experiments over a few large bets
The entire point of the Agile marketing approach is simply to do better work at less cost. That might sound like an obvious goal of any marketing team, but in practice building a marketing strategy that adheres to those seven principles can actually mean a truly massive shift for many marketing orgs.
How can Agile marketing help my team?
The very first thing you need to understand is that Agile marketing means working on the projects that will most benefit your customers. Agile marketing strategies are built on data: instead of focusing on what you’ve always done, Agile marketing teams leverage insights into their customers to prioritize projects, then constantly iterate on those initiatives by continuous testing, which in turn brings in more customer insights.
To truly embrace an Agile mindset, you also need to eliminate elements that aren’t working on your team. That means information silos and complex, unnecessary systems of governance will become a thing of the past. Agile marketing teams are able to scale quickly because they are efficient and focused on the marketing activities that have the most impact.
How do I know if my team is ready to implement an Agile marketing framework?
The two biggest things you need to assess on your marketing team to implement the Agile marketing framework are the two bs: bandwidth and buy-in. Work with your team to understand and estimate their capacity to take on new work and what they are already committed to, then work with each team member to prioritize projects and build in buffers for last-minute needs and emergencies.
To tackle the prioritization process, it is absolutely essential to get buy-in from the whole team. The Agile marketing framework requires every member of a marketing team’s alignment or the whole thing can fall apart.
To get your team in the right mindset, bring everyone together early to help plan and put the right processes in place to make the transition to the Agile framework. This is a great way to start the kind of open communication that is so key to success in Agile implementation.
How does the Agile marketing framework work in practice?
Every marketing team is different, of course, but there is a general Agile workflow that is standard called the scrum. The general elements of a scrum include a leader or project manager, a team consisting of members from the different key stakeholders and marketing disciplines, sprints, and daily meetings.
Sprints are predefined time periods (usually 1-2 weeks, but can be whatever is most effective for your team) that your team will use to plan out the work being done. Bigger projects obviously can take longer than a single sprint, but the work should be chunked out so it is manageable across each individual sprint.
The daily meetings (often called stand-up meetings) are quick check-ins where teams can identify blockers or bottlenecks and report on progress. At the end of each sprint, teams can meet for a more in-depth review of projects, what worked and what didn’t, and how to iterate for the next sprint.