5 Ways Agile Supports Marketing Success
By Pam Ashby | 30 November 2018
An Agile Marketing supports the success of busy marketng departments. This became an indisputable truth when I got together with the Consortium's Jenny Bailey and Radtac's Head of Marketing and PR Sabina Stoiciy in a webinar to explore Agile Marketing and test out how well agile processes and business agility thinking matched up to the demands of marketing.
The digital age has brought us more and more opportunities to market our organisations. It’s all ‘essential’, quick to put in place, and offers instant publicity and potential for organisational growth. Before you know where you are, costs are building up and you’ve lost sight of how effectively you’re moving towards your goals amidst the complexity of planning and implementation.
Marketing plans are the glue that connects the strategy with the implementation, and the vision with the reality. But, if your team looks as if it’s only just keeping up with the pace, then the ongoing precision and control that an agile approach offers can help.
Jenny, Sabina and I were all agreed that Agile marketing is first and foremost a mindset. It’s an approach and perspective that persistently draws us back to the principles that underpin everything we do as marketers:
1. Prioritising quality over features and scope
Everything your marketing department releases into the world represents the quality of your brand. It’s important to take the time needed to catch the inevitable errors and confirm brand positioning before publication. Don’t forget to retrospectively review performance – not judging, but with a growth mindset that’s searching for indicators of how to improve next time. In the webinar, we reflected that 'could do better' was something to be feared in school reports, and yet that should now be the tenet we live by as we look to improve and grow.
2. Identifying the value for the business
Getting publicity isn’t enough in today’s business world. We need to get much closer to our customers, to satisfy needs they don't yet know they have. We can look at value from a ‘minimum viable product' perspective. In other words, testing quality ideas in the marketplace with the least investment of resources. Pinpoint what ‘value’ means through constant referral back to the strategy and objectives.
3. Collaborating for best results
Collaboration is at the core of agile approaches, strengthening stakeholder engagement and business benefits. Involve the right people at the right time, and you’ll end up with a deeper understanding of the perspectives of your audience – including internal and external customers. Beware though, there are a couple of pitfalls here:
- Never confuse an internal stakeholder with a target audience or customer. Some of the most effective marketing ideas need not be ‘liked’ by an internal audience. Collaboration is your chance to build an understanding of your prospective customers and how they think.
- It’s critical to involve ‘the right people’ with the most current knowledge relevant to the task. Collaboration should not become a time consuming overhead.
4. Think smaller to see results sooner
Marketing needs to show results – new contacts, more engagement, fresh opportunities to do more business. It’s great to ‘think big’, but not if it leads to delay. The world won’t wait for you to put your biggest ideas into action – it’s moving on and changing all the time. An agile approach encourages us to iterate, to pick off the ‘low hanging fruit’ first and test new ideas in their most basic form first. It’s efficient and builds up invaluable feedback from which to move forward and improve.
5. Ensuring governance and control
Amidst the flow of creativity, and the pressure of keeping up with deadlines, it’s too easy to lose control. The agile marketer will deftly balance solid foundation reporting with the ongoing measurement of KPIs. Extensive reports are too often ‘filed’, but key points on a single page of A4 are great for constantly drawing teams back to the critical issues. All progress towards goals should be celebrated, reflected, and built on. Increment by increment.
In the webinar, we talked about agile briefing, the relationship between marketing and sales departments, ways to make sure customer-value is our primary driver. Sabina shared valuable experience around the specific practices used at Radtac and how agile techniques are working for them. If you missed our discussion and would like to find out more the full recording and slides are now published here
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