As a marketer, you've likely asked yourself or your team how you can best deliver value to your customers. Adopting an Agile marketing strategy might well be the best answer to that question.
Today's digital landscape requires marketers to adapt to constant changes and trends so they can offer the best customer experience, provide value, and ensure effective marketing campaigns. It's no longer enough to just sift through your B2B database and market the heck out of your existing contacts.
And that's where Agile marketing comes in.
What is Agile marketing?
Agile marketing was founded on the principles of the Agile software development methodology. At its simplest, Agile marketing focuses on organizational effectiveness to deliver value to the end customer.
In Agile marketing, the following are core values:
- Ability to respond to changes rather than strictly abiding by plans
- Emphasis on data-driven decisions instead of opinion- and convention-based decisions
- Rapid reactions rather than big-bang campaigns
- Smaller studies instead of a few large experiments
- Collaboration over hierarchy
Those core values drive growth and development, and provide the best value and experience to customers. Ultimately, Agile marketing improves the efficiency, predictability, transparency, and responsiveness to change of the marketing arm of an organization.
Take these five steps to implement Agile marketing
Agile techniques are becoming increasingly crucial to the success of marketing campaigns for many businesses. Here are the steps you need to consider when integrating and implementing Agile marketing into your organization.
1. Prep your team
Build your team of talented marketers, each of whom performs a specific function; make sure everyone works well together.
Before you implement the Agile methodology in your marketing function, also make sure everybody's on the team is on board. More important, ensure that each member of the team understands the goals and objectives of Agile marketing.
For Agile marketing to work, team members need to have a clear view of what they want to accomplish with their Agile initiatives, such as the specific customer journey they want to improve or the target market they want to acquire.
In short, set clear expectations, and prepare your team emotionally and mentally for the coming months of hard work and intense collaboration.
Also make sure the bosses fully support the switch to an Agile marketing strategy. Your team needs to set up the proper marketing tools, data analytics, and overall technological infrastructure before you even begin; you need Management's approval with all that. Those tools will help you capture data and respond to changes and trends.
2. Plan your sprint
Agile uses short campaigns, or bursts, called sprints, instead of long-term marketing strategies. Sprints differentiate Agile from traditional marketing. Results are measured in as short as two weeks or as long as six weeks, depending on the specific objectives of each sprint.
You need to carefully define your sprints and set precise timeframes for each.
During the planning session, the team needs to agree on the particular projects or sprints and divide the roles and responsibilities. Ensure that each member of the team has creative freedom to tackle the projects they choose.
Jim Ewel's sprint-planning agenda includes the following:
- Establishment of basic parameters
- Setting the scope and limitations
- Estimation of resources
- Sprint negotiation
- Assignment of responsibilities
- Written agreement on goals, projects, and roles
The sprint is the period during which team members work independently from their leaders, taking full responsibility for their work. Each member exercises creative freedom and can determine his or her own most productive workflow.
When you launch your sprints, use a Kanban board to outline your workflow. Create columns for backlog, to-do, work in progress, rejected, done, and the like. As you progress through each stage of the sprint, notify your team members and include relevant notes or remarks.
Some teams like to use a whiteboard, but productivity tools such as Asana, Trello, and Jira use Kanban board systems to help make collaboration much easier. With online productivity tools, team members can work remotely and upload the necessary files when handing off sprints to others on the team.
4. Scrum it up
Scrums, also known as standups, are the daily project management process for sprints, designed to increase alignment within the team and improve communication within the organization.
During a scrum meeting, the team discusses what they're working on, where they are in the process, and the roadblocks they've encountered.
Daily scrums break down sprints into smaller, more manageable pieces. That helps the team determine which workflows are more efficient so they can improve accordingly.
Scrum meetings should be very short and direct, lasting 15-20 minutes (which is why they're called "standups"). The meeting should not be considered a reporting session; rather, it's a way for the team to identify and overcome any challenges they're facing.
5. Hold a sprint review and retrospective
A sprint review and a sprint retrospective are two separate meetings in the Agile marketing methodology.
During the sprint review, the same people who carefully planned the sprints are brought together to review whether each sprint was completed and whether each reaped positive results. What goals were met, and which ones weren't addressed by the sprints? Those are some of the issues tackled during the sprint review.
A sprint retrospective, on the other hand, should be attended by the sprint planners and the members of the team who worked on the sprints. Instead of discussing individual sprints, the general process is discussed, to determine what went well and what needs improvement.
The results of both meetings are taken into consideration for the next sprint-planning session, to ensure a smoother process and workflow.
Test, analyze, and repeat
Those five outlined steps will make it easier for you to adopt an Agile marketing strategy, allowing your team to rapidly adjust to changing environments and collaborate more effectively. Sprints enable organizations to test processes and strategies on a smaller scale instead of going big right away and setting and trying to achieve unattainable goals.
Evaluate and analyze your results from smaller experiments, and make data-driven decisions to ensure future success—that's the main advantage of Agile marketing. Agile eliminates costly marketing campaigns that don't achieve their goals.
Because Agile marketing allows for shorter and smaller campaigns, you can get immediate results and improve your campaigns in a timely, ongoing manner. And with an Agile marketing strategy, businesses can focus on delivering the best value and experience to customers.