Change is tough, particularly when it involves switching to something as different as agile. Agile marketing methods can be intimidating for those who have only experienced traditional marketing methods. Given our natural tendencies to resist change, what are some good tips for marketers looking to implement agile inside their marketing teams?
In agile, the focus is taken away from following procedures, hierarchy and adhering to plans. It’s instead, focused on adaptability, collaboration and on the needs of the customer. This is not an easy change to undertake, luckily Ryan Malone of SmartBug Media has offered up some suggestions in his article How to Implement Agile Marketing in Your Team.
Customers are top priority – Remember the old saying, “The customer is always right”? Well, the same holds true in agile. It’s important to make sure that your team understands that your “first priority is meeting the needs of your customers and giving them early, frequent and straightforward reports on each campaign iteration.” To help keep teams on track, Malone suggests scheduling “a meeting at least once every thirty days to discuss marketing plans and content for the next month”.
Change is good – Easier said than done, but it’s important to try and embrace change. One of the benefits of an agile marketing structure is that it helps teams cope with change better. As we’ve previously stated, a good way to make sure that you are keeping on top of trends is to use short iterations. For example, by only planning only one month in advance you are building in flexibility to adapt and change to the ever-fluid business environment.
Team building is critical – Because most agile marketing projects will inevitably need to work with other departments, building cross-departmental relationships is important for success. A great way to achieve this is by getting everyone to interface with each other daily, and what could be a better way than by having brief team stand-up meetings. According to Malone, “Face time makes for a tighter team.”
Give your team some freedom – “Allow your team to self-organize based on strengths, preferences and group dynamics. Give them the autonomy to decide how to divide their tasks. Some groups will remain stable while others will choose to make frequent changes on changing needs.” While giving teams some space, it’s important to find motivated leaders. Once you’ve found your motivated project leads, Malone suggests “Provid[ing] them with a supportive working environment then trust them to get the job done.” You’ll be surprised at the result when you give teams a little bit of space to run with projects on their own.
Don’t cut corners – Malone brings up a good point, “Just because you are moving quickly doesn’t mean you can cut corners.” You still need to pay attention to marketing best practices. What good does it do if you end up moving at a speed where project quality suffers? Malone points out that the “Emphasis should be placed on [creating] a sustainable, constant pace instead of flurries of intense, unsustainable activity followed by stagnation.”
Simplify your work –While marking sure you don’t sacrifice quality, it’s also important to look for ways to simplify work. You can’t move faster if you are unable to find new ways to simplify your daily tasks. Malone suggests eliminating “processes and hierarchies that don’t contribute to results.” Another good way is to help focus your team’s work. Assign various levels of difficulties to their work at the beginning of each project. This will ensure that your team is working only on the most important tasks and allows them to quickly identify potential roadblocks and how best to overcome them.
I hope that these tactics help with your agile marketing implementation. Have you recently started to implement agile methodologies in your company’s marketing department? Do you have other agile marketing implementation tips you’d like to share?