An Agile take on marketing has the same objectives as Agile software development: meeting the customers’ needs quicker and better. The speed in action is a must in a world where your competition can shake up the market with a single Instagram story or YouTube video, receiving client responses within seconds from posting. It means you can no longer afford to plan, test and analyze your next move for weeks on end.
What are the challenges?
Given the above, the most strenuous part of adopting Agile Marketing is the switch from planning and respecting your company’s typical speed of moving to starting campaigns quickly and dropping or changing them just as fast. So, arguably, if you’re able to abandon the low processing speed, still prevalent in many large companies, then you have a good chance of making your marketing efforts Agile.
However, it’s rarely the decision of one department to change how quickly you make your decisions and moves. After all, no one department is ever cut off and independent from the rest of the firm. The marketing team has to rely upon others — to a point.
E.g., on the web dev team who designs the pages, the graphic designers working on their materials, the sales team relying on their ideas, or even the legal team looking over what exactly they’re putting out there, the wording they use, and so on. In short, if the marketing team is to be Agile, their codependent branches should be too — otherwise, marketing will always end up waiting for the rest.
A final challenge to mention is the size of the team. It’s no secret that Agile, whether for marketing or other processes, is easier to implement in smaller team sizes, as it strongly relies on direct communication and teamwork.
How can some of the difficulties be overcome?
A successful Agile adoption by the marketing team depends not only on the inclusion of neighboring departments in the switch but — moreover, on the people’s involvement and attitude. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: teams are made of people! It would be the marketing manager’s job to ensure the transformation has the approval and sponsorship among all team members. They should all be on board, or at least open to making the changes.
For the team to assess if their actions bring results and at what cost, it would be beneficial to use a progress tracking tool. That would take care of precisely weighing whether their campaign resulted in more sales or not. But it would be a mistake to stop the Agile transformation on the metrics tracing — which is a fairly common mistake. Although the process board will be your guide and aid, it should not be your only focus area in decision-making — marketing requires some level of sense of adventure and risk, which will not come from the Scrumban or Kanban marketing board alone.
How does an Agile Marketing process usually work?
First — together with the business owners — define your goals. Then take a look at the current metrics about the areas of your new goals, and on their basis, plan new paths to improvement, and test them before executing. After that, take the test actions in short iterations, looking at the results after each run, drawing conclusions, and — ideally — getting inspired with new ideas, introducing the continuous improvement element, which is vital to Agile workflow management.
What are the gains?
Using Agile for marketing lets the team take smaller steps, yet ones better suited to the market needs at the time. It also promotes team collaboration over taking and giving orders, which is highly valuable in a creative environment. By using shorter iterations, the team becomes free to make more tests and experiments rather than bet big on one campaign.
Sounds like something your marketing team could use? If you’re going to try it, we recommend taking a quick look at a Kanban Tool marketing board in this video.
The article was first posted on the Kanban Tool Blog.