How Not to Do Agile Marketing

199747855_6f2219703e_nI’ve been working lately with Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing. If you don’t know Matt, he’s one of the most consistently insightful marketing practitioners around. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, hire him. If you’re not, subscribe to his newsletter, which is full of nuggets of goodness.

We had just finished our first Sprint together at a company I’m now running, and we were conducting our Sprint Review, working our way into planning for our second Sprint. I’ve introduced Matt to Agile Marketing, just as he’s introduced me to some of his techniques, and he made a comment that I found particularly insightful.

We have to be careful that we don’t let all this great activity that we’re getting done because of Agile Marketing lull us into thinking that we’re accomplishing our goals just because we’re moving so much from the Sprint backlog column into the done column.

I think that’s exactly right. The point of Agile Marketing isn’t just to get more done, it’s to get the right things done so that we can hit our goals and ultimately generate more business for the company.

Avoiding the Activity Trap

So how do we avoid this activity trap? The key, as in many things, is to start with the end in mind, and measure each activity in terms of how it contributes to reaching those end goals. In our case, this meant setting up a marketing scorecard (or dashboard, as Matt and his team like to call it), and rigorously measuring our Agile Marketing activities against this scorecard.

The Marketing Scorecard

A typical marketing scorecard is divided into 4-6 buckets, modeled around the customer’s buying process or the sales cycle. Each bucket then has a series of metrics to measure success. We measure in two-week increments, although I know a lot of teams that measure monthly. Here’s an example scorecard, which you can download here.

Marketing-Scorecard

 

Note that we measure marketing (and sales) all the way through the close and referrals from customers. We want to make it clear that it’s a team effort, and that both marketing and sales own the final numbers. The particular metrics will vary by business, as will the tools used to gather the metrics.

Now that you have the scorecard, every activity in your Sprint should be focused on one or more of these metrics, and should be ultimately measured against the metrics. This will keep you out of the activity trap, and clearly focused on the end results of Agile Marketing, and not on the activities.

What are you using to measure the success of your Agile Marketing efforts? Does anyone else have a scorecard or dashboard to share?

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting, Jim.
    Appreciate the scorecard template. Excellent tool.

  2. Fantastic post, informative and insightful. Im fairly new to marketing so found the scorecard particualrly useful. Thanks for sharing.

  3. We have one dashboard that comes out daily – this is more to answer the question “Did something terrible happen?” – and a weekly dashboard. Our team has a bit of a unique problem, in that we do marketing on behalf a large number of small businesses. Among the areas where this makes things complicated is distinguishing between noise in our dashboard and actual movement.

    I like that your dashboard goes all the way through the sales cycle – marketing’s goal should be increasing the company’s profit, not just bringing in leads.

  4. All the best from Berlin in Germany. I work in marketing till 14 years. But now, I will focus my attention to the agile marketing. It would be great to bring it to Germany. Maybe you can give me a hand.

    Bye
    Marko

  5. This is a really great concept to stay centered on. We’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately. The idea of a ‘common currency’ keeps arising – that is, as you said above, what is the end that we have in mind? So we’re thinking about it in the same kind of terms as the scorecard indicates, but also making sure it has a direct tie to whatever unit of value is at the higher level. (For many organizations, ultimately that’s profit > revenue > billings ..etc ) But there’s probably an inbetween measure – something that measures progress toward current strategic goals. E.g. – can you see a strong, upward tie from search ranking to revenue? Is growing community more important than generating leads right now? (It might be.) Think about how *much* you want to improve on each of the metrics to achieve measurable strategic goals & operational goals.

    • Dave, thanks for the comment. You’re right, your strategic goals inform your metrics and scorecard. A scorecard for a non-profit, or a network effects site like Facebook in the early days, might be totally different than the sample scorecard I provided.

  6. What about a scorecard for nonprofits. So many analyticals structures and ROI measurements concentrate on sales, but with nonprofits, the strategy and expectation of ROI might look a little different.

    • Jennifer,
      It’s a great point. I’ve never worked for a non-profit, although I’ve served on a few boards of non-profits. What metrics would you use? Fundraising? Client satisfaction and service? Or would it vary by non-profit?

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