It’s that time of year again. That time when marketers look at what they’ve accomplished this year and think, should we be doing things differently?
Well, one new approach which some are taking is agile marketing. (For those unfamiliar with topic, you can read up on it here).
And agile marketing certainly fits the bill of a new and different approach. With its own terms, habits, and outcomes, agile could potentially completely change how you and your company manages its marketing.
But the problem with agile marketing is that while it sounds good in theory, it’s difficult to get good information about how well agile works in practice, for marketing departments specifically.
To shed some ‘real world’ light on the topic, Econsultancy recently invited a number of senior client-side marketers to discuss Agile Marketing at our recent Digital Cream Sydney. At a table led by agile marketing expert Mariella Villa, senior marketing leader at ANZ, a few key points emerged which will help you on your way to making an informed decision about agile marketing for your team.
Before we start, we’d like to let readers in South-East Asia know about an upcoming training course, Content Marketing for Web, Mobile and Social Media in Singapore on November 13th. For more information and to book your spot, click here.
Here are the key points from the discussion.
1) Agile works for marketing
Many attendees on the day had heard of agile, but typically associated it with software development or other large-scale project management.
Those who had been part of agile marketing teams, however, assured participants that agile does indeed work for marketing.
Agile’s approach for helping teams deliver continuous value to business combines very well with marketing’s overall goals, namely engaging customers and managing ongoing customer relationships.
And while it takes some time to get used to it, few who have been on agile teams indicated that they willingly went back to their old project management methods.
2) But you have to do it 100%
Many people unfamiliar with agile were curious about how to start. Was it possible for just a few people to be agile? Or are there agile principles which any team could adopt to improve performance?
The answer from agile veterans was no. In order for agile to work, particularly when starting out, it is necessary to implement all of agile’s principles across the whole team. “Don’t cherry pick,” advised one attendee.
Additionally, once you decide to try out agile, it’s necessary to do it for at least three months. Reason being that agile, at first, is not so fun. It can be confusing and add time and complexity to previously quick and simple tasks.
Once underway, though, those who were familiar with agile said that adopting its principles had a major impact on performance and brought tremendous satisfaction to those who put in the effort to get it going.
3) Agile brings more benefits that you might anticipate
One marketer revealed that her team had been using agile for marketing for more than two years and named some of the benefits they had enjoyed. Projects took less time to get started, accountability increased, and, most importantly they were able get their work out to customers much quicker.
But besides the well-known benefits, she said that agile also improved team engagement so that everyone felt ownership of the team’s successes. Individual performance still mattered, but now everyone felt like they were contributing to a common goal.
Additionally, she noted, team members feel tremendous satisfaction at getting through a sprint, a feeling which is rarely encountered when marketing is run in a fire-fighting fashion.
4) Cool it on the agile language
For those who were starting to research or implement agile, the agile veterans had one more piece of advice – don’t use agile language with people outside of the team.
Agile comes with a number of its own special terms – sprint, squad, scrum, etc. – and those who haven’t been exposed to them are made to feel like outsiders when people ‘talk agile’.
Also, another noted, using agile terminology may make you sound like you’re in the ‘cult of agile’ which, again, is off-putting to those who are unfamiliar with the practice.
Instead, reserve your agile talk for your team and speak to stakeholders using term that makes sense to them: teams, objectives, and deadlines.
A word of thanks
Econsultancy would like to thank all of the marketers who participated on the day and especially our Agile Marketing table leader, Mariella Villa, senior marketing leader at ANZ.
We hope to see you all at future Sydney Econsultancy events!