The Agile methodology applied to marketing

Date: 21/12/2021| Category: Agile|

The concept of Agile Marketing was born in 2012, drawing inspiration from the Agile Manifesto for Software Development. This new method was theorised as a strategic response to the new needs of the marketing world, operating in a context dominated by the decreasing customer attention span, which dropped to an average of 5 seconds. 

This awareness has led to the need for a response not only in the products but also in the way of working and in the structure of the teams themselves.

The 10 Principles of Agile Marketing

The birth of Agile Marketing was marked by the publication of a Manifesto consisting of 10 principles:

  1. Our top priority is to satisfy the customer through fast and continuous delivery of problem-solving marketing
  2. We foster and plan for change. We believe our ability to respond quickly to change is a source of competitive advantage
  3. Deliver frequent marketing programmes, with a deadline of a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference for shorter timeframes
  4. Good marketing requires close alignment with business, sales and development teams
  5. Build marketing programmes around motivated professionals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust their ability to deliver the work
  6. Learning is the primary way to measure progress, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop
  7. Sustainable marketing requires a steady pace and pipeline to maintain
  8. Don’t be afraid to fail, just don’t make the same mistake twice
  9. Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design increase agility
  10. Simplicity is key

Why an organisation needs Agile Marketing

There are several reasons why an organisation should implement the Agile methodology also in its marketing team. All the reasons why a Marketing team should implement an Agile structure converge in an environmental and social factor: we live and work in a VUCA environment (Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) where technology drives rapid and immediate changes. Only Agile teams can adapt and keep up with the pace imposed by our external environment. Especially in a marketing setting, it is necessary for teams to be able to respond well to any new approaches and sudden change.

This is easily demonstrated by taking the most difficult months of the past year as an example: some companies were able to respond in an Agile and creative way to sudden changes and emergencies, while others were criticised for their choice of communication.
Agile marketing is not just about avoiding communicating the wrong message at the wrong time, it’s about responding to change and understanding what, how and when to communicate.

The benefits of Agile Marketing

  • More motivated teams: according to research carried out by Forbes and CMG Partners, the introduction of an Agile system has been found to ensure that professionals feel more personally involved and are more inclined to use their full potential.
  • Increased quality, speed and adaptability: all organisations implementing the Agile methodology hope to achieve these three objectives. An Agile marketing team understands how to manage priorities and bases its work on them, so that it can focus and achieve its goals in the best possible way.
  • Strengthening the company culture: we have already talked in this article about how to change the company culture in an Agile way and how having a stronger working culture can bring improvements in many aspects of the organisation.
  • Increased business performance and customer satisfaction: two more of the main goals of organisations implementing Agile methodology. Without any doubts, the convergence of all the above benefits leads to increased results in terms of business performance and overall customer satisfaction.

How an Agile marketing team should be composed

In order for a Marketing team to be defined as Agile, three figures must necessarily be present:

  • Marketing owner (or product owner): this is the professional who is responsible for maximising the value of the product resulting from the work carried out by the Development Team or, in other words, maximising the business value for the project. He/she is responsible for defining the customer requirements and ensuring the business justification throughout the project. We can say that his role represents the voice of the Customer.
  • Scrum Master: is a professional who leads the adoption of the Scrum framework (making sure it is understood and implemented) and ensures that the Scrum Team follows Scrum theory, practices and rules. Interacts with Scrum Team members (Product Owner and Development Team) and the entire organisation in order to maximise the value created by the Scrum Team.
  • Marketing Team: professionals specialised in the world of marketing (obviously needed within a team).

These three professionals must be cross-functional, in other words they must be able to replace each other if needed and carry out all the objectives without problems.

There are also rules about the number of members that an Agile Marketing team should respect:

  • No less than 3 because there would be a lack of skills and it would not be possible to apply the Agile framework to the best of its ability.
  • No more than 9, as a team that is too large would make coordination difficult.

The first steps to make your Marketing Team Agile

Setting up a team to work in an agile way is not a change that can be made quickly and without precautions, but must be gradually done and under guidance. There are, of course, improvements that can be implemented in order to start the road towards adopting the Agile method:

  • Prioritisation: prioritising is fundamental to working in an Agile way and is especially important for those working in marketing. Establishing the workflow helps to finalise the deliverables in the right time and according to the quality standards.
  • Visualising the workflow: once the priorities and thus the workflow have been established, it helps the whole team to be able to visualise graphically how the work is progressing. There are task and deadline management tools that can be of great help such as Trello or Slack.
  • Limiting the number of tasks carried out at the same time: setting clear priorities for all team members helps to avoid working on too many projects at the same time. Having a defined workflow helps professionals focus on a single task at a time.
  • Essential meetings: there are meetings that cannot be postponed and that the whole team must attend. Making your staff aware of the importance of a few strategic moments of alignment is a key element of the Agile method.
  • Optimise: optimising the marketing team will benefit the whole organisation and could be a starting point for adopting the Agile method in other departments.

All training courses provided by QRP International are accredited by PeopleCert on behalf of Axelos. If you would like to attend an accredited training course, please have a look at our full virtual training calendar, classroom training or specific Agile courses such as AgilePM Foundation and/or Agile Change Agent.

You can also write to us with any questions you might have!

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