Key steps to create an agile marketing culture

Agile is a work methodology and mindset that was defined by a group of software engineers many decades ago. It is fundamentally based on a fluid approach supported by an iterative and incremental process. Its premise was built on 4 values and 12 principles that called for shifts in the way software was delivered. People and organisations were shifting mindsets towards self-organised teams that were fundamentally cross-functional in nature and highly collaborative.

Marketing functions in several organisations examined ways to take the essence of Agile and see how best to use it in marketing, to deliver creative content with improved speed, performance and productivity. It’s a challenging transformation for marketing teams given they manage multiple external partners like videography and animation experts, and graphic designers, while also being in charge of activities such as placing campaigns, and tracking content performance by partnering with various platforms, among other tasks.

Despite these, marketing professionals derived their own Agile Marketing Manifesto around a set of values namely -

  • Customer value and business outcomes over activity and output
  • Delivering value early and often instead of waiting for perfection
  • Learning through experiments and data over opinions and conventions
  • Cross-functional collaboration over siloes and hierarchies
  • Responding to change instead of following a static plan

The last one would appear familiar to people who are aware of or who practice the original Agile Manifesto . The manner of implementation of these values in marketing has varied across various organisations There are 4 key characteristics that are the hallmark of every successful agile marketing team that has implemented their agile marketing manifesto. These are:

  • Teamwork and collaboration where agile ways of working replace siloes. For a marketing team, the core needs to have cross functional representation from the beginning of any project. People in this team represent all functions needed to make marketing successful, such as copywriters, media experts, web developers, UX designers, marketing analysts, SEO experts and campaign strategists. This team in turn regularly collaborates with the business owners, sales and other IT teams to develop, deliver and monitor marketing campaigns.
  • Decision making driven with data from the get-go. Agile marketing teams ensure that they set up the right channels across points to collect data, collate insights and construct experiments to continuously improve performance of teams by pro-actively adjusting and measuring their efforts.
  • Quick and small releases through iterations. Marketing teams often have to balance their people across many projects. Tightly scoping projects into small, complete releases enables the ability to demonstrate complete work products in short periods of time while allowing for any changes to be accommodated. A typical marketing sprint lasts up to two weeks thereby allowing people on the team to move onto other projects once the current one is completed. This is in contrast to long duration, multi-month projects which tend to be inflexible to accommodate changes to plans.
  • Following the Agile Marketing Manifesto to ensure that changes reflect throughout the organisation and that teams keep on adapting to find better ways of working. These values underpin the agile practices that marketing teams adopt in terms of daily standups, progress or Kanban boards and sprints.

A marketing function can use these four basic steps to work towards creating an Agile Marketing Culture -

  • Start with the leadership team to inculcate the agile mindset by
    • Inviting a coach and expert on agile marketing to create awareness around the benefits and educate leadership on what and why of agile marketing.
    • Having leaders go through working sessions on values of agile marketing to imbibe the culture themselves and elicit how best and where to begin the agile marketing journey for the organisation.

  • Identify a team to begin the agile journey by
    • Communicating with the team clearly, the intent of wanting to shift towards a more agile way of working for marketing
    • Supporting the team on their learning and implementation journey with the help of experts and experimental projects

  • Encourage agile champions in marketing teams so that they act as evangelists around the shift towards using agile techniques.

  • Build supporting infrastructure and people to enable the shift by creating channels to share data and project progress on agile marketing initiatives

The benefits of creating an agile marketing culture include –

  • Delivering continuous value to customers by allowing for continuous engagement with customers during sprints and even after projects are delivered. By prioritising business outcomes and customer value, every interaction becomes all about delivering as much value as possible and keeping doors open for continuous improvement on campaigns.
  • Freedom to experiment and learn using data and insights is a habit in agile marketing. This allows for quickly using fresh information to design new campaigns, launch and monitor performance and understand what works and what doesn’t. Short sprint durations means that experiments can be quickly turned around.
  • Being data driven enables more sharing and transparency across functions to leverage insights that benefit the company at large.
  • Cross-functional alignment based on active collaboration means siloes are broken down leaving marketing teams to freely engage with other teams to discuss campaign performances, seek feedback and respond to market changes and disruptions much faster.

For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

Recent Posts