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Agile marketing has gained serious importance during the COVID-19 pandemic by allowing marketers to adapt faster to extraordinary market changes.
While many people often look at agile through an “IT only” lens, the reality is that the practice is versatile and can be successfully applied to the marketing function, making it more efficient, productive, and truly collaborative.
In fact, 84% of marketers who have used agile strategies in the past year saw it as an important part of navigating 2020, as shown by data from AgileSherpas’ 4th Annual State of Agile Marketing Report.
As a certified Scrum coach, I can confidently say that agile marketing is extremely effective and profitable when used correctly.
The “why” behind using agile in marketing is often a gap between highly innovative digital marketing activities and old-fashioned waterfall styles of work management. The misalignment between the two helps improve agile and makes marketing teams more efficient and productive.
To better understand why Agile and Scrum marketers can help increase team efficiency and results, here are four tips that can help you guide your own practice implementation.
One of the biggest challenges in adopting agile marketing is the lack of training and adequately qualified people on board to manage and organize agility of marketing teams.
Often avoidable errors can occur due to a lack of knowledge about the correct application of Agile by Scrum frameworks.
The use of agile strategies requires a uniform team that is committed to a consistent workflow. It doesn’t work to use Agile only on a project basis while some team members continue to do their other day-to-day work without considering these processes.
By working with certified agile coaches, companies can implement agile to effectively reduce bottlenecks, avoid errors and get more done in less time.
Test-and-learning situations that are fully documented to show results can create clear case studies of the benefits of transforming into a truly agile team. They help to clearly see how much of the day-to-day work of marketers should rely on agile frameworks created by a qualified coach (spoiler alert: it’s more than you think!).
2. Visualize the work as a united team
In my experience, visualizing your team’s work is the best first step.
I’ve seen several senior marketing team leaders who don’t really know how their people spend their time. Teams may work a lot behind the scenes without using Agile; As a result, your team leaders do not necessarily have visibility into specific campaigns or projects that are actively being worked on.
Then, when it comes time to get the work public, executives are appalled at the amount of time and effort put into last-minute requests or content that is unreliable instead of the work they would have prioritized .
According to last year’s Business Agility Report from the Scrum Alliance and the Business Agility Institute, maintaining these leadership cultures is one of the biggest challenges companies face when adopting agility, along with a lack of vision. Visualizing as a team from the start gives leaders the ability to more clearly define the work to be done and set their expectations for the way it is done and when it should be done.
3. Always stay connected
I recently worked with a pharmaceutical company on an end-to-end agile transformation. The productivity of the marketing team improved, but Agile ultimately also strengthened the team’s relationships with internal partners and resulted in better campaign results than originally expected by allowing the team to enter the market earlier.
Early in the transformation, we found that one of the biggest challenges for marketing was getting the marketers to become the “yes” team and agreeing to many requests from others in the organization that were actually not providing them the bandwidth they needed . Paradoxically, this created tension between the marketing team and other teams that didn’t get the results they promised.
When Agile was introduced through the Scrum components, it did a great job of documenting the transformation and showing how these strategies better connected teams to get more projects done in less time.
The implementation was by no means easy, but communication, especially among the team leaders, has improved significantly. Now the company has nine teams across the company who use agile in their operations on a daily basis.
4. Set reasonable expectations
While implementing agile in marketing teams can be of great benefit, executives need to set their expectations sensibly. A general timeframe cannot be applied to adopting Agile on your team. Instead, it should be phrased as a business problem or goal that you want to achieve.
Switching to agile marketing is not an easy process; It’s a sweeping transformation that takes time and requires significant investment from the most senior executives to their youngest team members.
By employing the right training and support, adopting an agile framework like Scrum can lead to more collaboration that not only meets the unique needs of your team and the needs of the rest of the company, but also improves your ROI and bottom line for your business.
More resources on agile marketing
Three agile marketing tips for the post-pandemic economy
How To Use An Agile Marketing Strategy To Improve Your Marketing Campaigns
Agile Marketing 201: Building Persistent Teams | MarketingProfs webinar