At first glance, Agility and Digital Marketing seem to be two different concepts, with no particular connection to each other. Agility is correlated with the software engineering processes behind the development of a digital product. Marketing is correlated with enlarging community awareness of that product. It looks like they’re completely different domains and ideas.
However, the reality nowadays is that Agile Marketing is the most efficient form of Digital Marketing.
What is Agile Marketing?
According to the Agile Marketing community, Agile Marketing is a new approach that takes its inspiration from the Agile Software Development movement. Its main goals are “to improve the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change the Marketing function.”
This objective includes running faster Marketing campaigns, establishing Marketing strategies that are based on data rather than suppositions, improving communication inside the Marketing team, and focusing all Marketing staff on achieving the same goals. Applying Agility inside the Marketing team has significant consequences.
What are the benefits of Agile Marketing?
There are excellent reasons for applying Agile principles to Marketing activities. You not only get more efficient Marketing activity and better Marketing results, but also sharply increased skills, motivation, and collaboration in your teams.
Based on a Moz analysis, “the Marketing teams that are using Agile methodology accomplish 30% to 40% more tasks than teams using traditional methods.”
The most important advantages of Agile Marketing can be discussed under two headings:
- Deploying a Marketing campaign iteratively
- Developing the habit of analyzing the results of Marketing campaigns
- Running Marketing experiments based on quantifiable results
- Justifying strategic Marketing choices based on data, not feelings
- Being flexible and able to change the Marketing strategy if needed and the results call for it
- Learning from failures, adapting and customizing strategies for different types of personas
- Increasing competences of individuals on the team, by encouraging and supporting them to improve their current skills and gain new ones
- Better organization of and visibility over the Marketing activities
- Increasing team autonomy, cooperation, communication, and team spirit to achieve a measurable and precise sprint goal
All these changes taking place in a Marketing team that decides to become Agile consistently have good results on the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), even if, initially, it can be difficult to change people’s habits, perceptions and in the end, mindsets.
How to implement Agile Scrum in a Marketing team
The most important steps in implementation include:
- Define your essential Agile Scrum Marketing parameters, including the Sprint duration, the Sprint backlog (the team’s backlog built on the well prioritized Marketing tickets, grouped per Epics linked to the Marketing campaigns) and Sprint goal to be achieved by the Marketing team during one sprint (the most important Marketing deliverable for a sprint). The Marketing team will start the new sprint focusing on the sprint goal, to have enough time to accomplish it.
- Embrace the Agile Scrum events:
- Planning – Decide the priorities for a short time-boxed period called a Sprint (typically, could be one, two or four weeks)
- Daily standups – For full visibility over the activities decided to undertake in the sprint – each Marketing channel provides information about the current activity and the blockages in different areas as detailed in sprint backlog tickets
- Refinement / Grooming – Analyze the activities to synchronize with the entire Marketing team and prepare the tickets to be undertaken in the next sprint
- Review – With stakeholders, analyze the work carried out during one Sprint, along with the KPIs and OKRs and, based on this analysis, define new Marketing experiments on Social, Mailing, Paid, SEO campaigns
- Retro – A meeting with the Marketing team to analyze what went right or wrong during the last sprint, and the improvement actions to be taken during the next Sprint to increase efficiency
- Introduce the Scrum roles to ensure compliance with the principles of Agile Scrum and project efficiency. Specifically: Scrum Master (to make sure that Agile Scrum principles are correctly applied within the Marketing team) and Product Owner (a single Product Owner for the entire Marketing team or multiple Product Owners for different Marketing campaigns – although possible, we don’t recommend the latter – responsible for maximizing the value produced by the team, establishing priorities and the sprint backlog, and also creating and sharing the product vision with the team).
- Establish the team’s Velocity – Determine the amount of work that the team will be able to deliver in one Sprint. Start with what you think is plausible, but adapt every sprint, looking at the velocity of previous sprints. This information will help give the team an idea about how many Marketing campaigns can be performed during one Sprint.
- Define “Ready” – which indicates when a specific ticket can be taken into the sprint backlog (for example, the development ticket of a new landing page depends on the content and status of design tickets), and “Done” – which indicates when a certain ticket/task is considered as completed, or Done.
- Apply and promote the Scrum Agile values (Commitment, Focus, Openness, Respect, Courage) inside the Marketing team. Remember, agile is not a process, it is a mindset that entails adherence to a set of values.
If you need a refresher on what all these terms refer to, try taking a look at the Scrum Guide.
How difficult is it to implement Agility in a Marketing department?
The adaptation period for Agile principles varies from one team to another, and sometimes, for each team member. However, applying the Agile methodology efficiently in a Marketing team typically requires 3 to 4 months.
Keep in mind though that once you experience Agile, it might be tough to go back to the ‘old’ Marketing methods.
The first step in embracing Agile as a Marketing team is to be very confident in its efficiency and also to have enough patience in waiting to see the initial results.
On the other hand, through its nature, Digital Marketing is a flexible, adaptive activity which depends on the obtained results. Agility could become its second nature.
Why is traditional Marketing not Agile?
In traditional Marketing (Print / TV / Radio Marketing campaigns), strategy is predefined and very rigid because of the high amount of rework and costs that would be involved in changing. As a result, it is difficult to change it or run unforeseen experiments during implementation.
As well, results are only measured after the Marketing campaign ends. In this context, it is hard to implement Agility in traditional Marketing projects, since they are closer to the waterfall approach.
- An Agile Marketing team is well-organized, more competitive and efficient, with greater job satisfaction and a more experimental attitude.
- Agile Marketing allows you to get more bang for your Marketing buck, helping you to ‘punch above your weight’ by focusing spending on activities that bring measurable results.
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