It’s critically important early on to get the support of senior management when introducing Agile Marketing into organizations. Without their support, Agile Marketing becomes just another project management tool, and you’re missing out on at least 50% of the value of the Agile Marketing approach.
If asked by someone from the C-Suite, why Agile Marketing, the simplest answer boils down to just three words:
On the highway, speed kills, but in business, it is slowness that kills. Companies that are slow to respond to competitive threats, companies that are slow to respond to customer complaints, companies that are slow to change when something is not working – these companies fail. For more on this, see my article on Measuring Your Innovation Metabolism.
Agile marketing addresses the need for speed by proceeding in a series of rapid sprints, reviewing at the end of each sprint what worked and what didn’t, and adjusting as necessary. Agile marketing also acknowledges the need to set aside resources to respond to the unexpected – whether the unexpected is driven by customers, competitors, or current events. As the Agile Marketing Manifesto might put it, we value responding to change over following a plan.
nothing destroys a marketing effort than misalignment with executives or the sales staff. If not aligned with management and the sales team, marketing focuses on activities and metrics that have no value to the rest of the business.
Agile marketing encourages alignment by beginning each sprint with a Sprint Planning meeting. Management and sales outline the results that they’d like to see; marketing sizes the tasks and the budget required to achieve these results, and a negotiation occurs before the sprint takes place.
The tools and processes of agile marketing also encourage greater communication with management and sales, so there are fewer surprises and a greater understanding of marketing’s contributions.
Marketing departments that get out of touch with their customers soon lose their way. Imagine driving down the highway at 100 miles per hour and closing your eyes – the result, whether driving or marketing while out of touch, are likely to be a crash and burn. Engagement is critical to marketing success.
Introducing Agile Marketing
Start small, with a group of 4-7 marketers, and make sure that everyone understands agile marketing and is excited about trying out agile as a methodology. Also make sure that everyone is trained in the basics, and comfortable using the tools
You will probably spend extra time in the sprint planning, sprint review and sprint retrospective meetings, as everyone is new to the process. Allow for this extra time. Have your marketing scrum meetings in the same place every day, and make sure that you have a prominent visual artifact of the work: a white board or a kan-ban board with a row per team member and Post-It notes with user stories and tasks or a large print out of the Ready tasks, in process and finished tasks from your software. For your first iteration, try to make sure that everyone is local, rather than part of a geographically-distributed team.