Why Agile Marketing?
Often the connection between what a customer requires and an organization can offer wanes. For instance because an organization is slow to formulate and deliver new propositions or experiment. Or because marketing- and customer knowledge is highly fractured. On top of this a number of trend make the world of marketing increasingly complex:
- The dominance of large marketing agencies is waning, and organizations have a large palette of specialists to choose from.
- There is a rapidly increasing number of marketing technologies on offer, which results in a complicated application landscape (stack).
- New platforms, such as AR, VR, and voice create new ways to interact.
- Marketing- and creative talent is scarce and harder to tie down long term.
Below we share a number of concrete applications of the principles of the Agile Marketing manifesto in specific cases.
Agile Marketing Strategy
A traditional marketing plan with KPI’s set by a management team that the organization has to execute is usually not resilient enough to deal with rapid changes encountered along the way. Agile Marketing tackles this by employing a flexible strategy. You can do this by clearly defining marketing goals using a Definition of Success. A Definition of Success clearly states when a marketing goal has been attained or an experiment has been run successfully so you can change course along the way if required to do so. It is important that goals and their realization are transparent to everyone in the team so you can adapt and adjust as needed in close contact with your stakeholders. We use web based solutions by our partner Boardview to support this living Agile Marketing Strategy.
Marketing campaigns, in all shapes and sizes, profit from the application of agile principles, tools, and frameworks. We can shorten the cycle time, and deliver campaigns more effectively by organizing in clever ways. Some of the changes we use to achieve these goals are:
- Design and run campaigns in a more focused way. It is a great waste if you need to compile (part-time) teams of marketing professionals for every campaign. Instead design marketing that can work fully dedicated to design and run campaigns on specific days or during specific weeks (or ideally full-time). This allows them to work in a more focused way and you won’t have to go through team forming and storming phases every time. There is no need for a marketing manager to take the project manager role, we use the self-organizing capacities of the team.
- Instead of making detailed plans we work in short cycles. In large campaigns organizations invest a large amount of time in making plans that work out into minute detail what everyone will be doing at that time. This limits their opportunities to change course, adapt, and cooperate. By setting a fixed rhythm, which the teams use to meet, discuss and look ahead, marketing teams stay in the loop and are always able to distribute work in the most effective way for that point in time.
- Agile budgeting. Estimating and reserving campaign budgets often require a lot of time and energy. This is not always worth the investment. Sometimes this limits campaigns, just as they are starting to become effective. In other situations resources are wasted because of over-budgeting. The solution is to use pricing models that can be easily adapted without having to resort to exhausting negotiations, either internally or with suppliers. Beyond Budgeting is such a solution.
Running an Agile Marketing campaign requires organizations to change the way in which marketing teams are organized and the way they do planning and budgeting.
Agile Marketing Teams
Agile Marketing Teams are a special version of stable Agile teams suited to marketing organizations. They are cross-functional teams which do not distinguish between internal and external team-members. Agile Marketing Teams combine competencies such as creative, strategy, data and production in a single dedicated team that works together from day one. The team works in short cycles and validates and tests its results with internal and external customers. The team has several Agile frameworks such as Agile Portfolio Management, Scrum, and Kanban at its disposal.
Marketing agencies are uniquely positioned to work on their agility. They can use this to increase the autonomy and delivery speed of their teams and improve cooperation with customers and partners. Organize Agile has developed the principles below to create what we refer to as the ‘Agile Agency’:
- Strengthen cooperation with customers and suppliers
- Stabilize teams instead of fragmenting marketing professionals
- Replace Big Bang processes with short cycles
- Develop prototypes instead of documents and briefings
- Strengthen product ownership instead of doing internal checks
- Spread marketing competencies as far as possible
- Maximize transparency and information sharing