If Time Is Money – Your Marketing Better Be Agile

@Wendy | Strategy

eMarketer recently reported a study on digital trends for 2013 and found that it is more important today than ever for marketers to coordinate their campaigns across traditional and digital channels as media consumption becomes more fragmented particularly through contextually relevant content marketing. As participants engage with brands across so many different channels, they have come to expect advertising to take a storytelling approach, putting an increasing emphasis on content marketing.

Agile Marketing Defined

Leveraging a proven process for software engineering, unlike traditional 6-12 month marketing planning and execution cycles, an Agile methodology enables a marketing team to adapt to fast-changing market conditions, support the sales process, and prove the value of their marketing campaigns. Typically, an agile marketing team operates in the following manner:

    1. Fast: 15-30 day sprints (a defined campaign deliverable) of campaign execution and analysis to gather intelligence and optimize marketing mix
    2. Measured: each campaign has KPIs (key performance indicators) that identifies employed mission, goals and tactics

“Content marketing has become highly important to marketing strategies, particularly as a means to achieving customer loyalty or acquisition. Of course, as Elkin states, “If content is king, context is queen.” Contextual advertising is becoming essential for engaging the well-researched, on-the-go participant. Successful advertising must maintain contextual relevancy, reaching participants in ways relevant to their interests, current location, time of day, and more. – Emarketer 2013

  1. Organized: business stakeholders strive for transparency and work collaboratively aligned with governance, best practices and toolsets
  2. Optimized: daily ‘standup’ reviews (public stakeholder review sessions) either from automated tracking and/or with tactical teams help to identify changes in market conditions and potential ‘blockers’ that will disrupt a campaign and allow for adjustments in real time

Agile Methodology

There are several components to an agile marketing environment that will empower and enable your team. The process is iterative and can be managed using social media management software that tracks campaign intelligence on audience, media mix and ad type (sweepstakes, promotion, etc.). Each cycle captures key data that can be used to improve future campaign performance which is typically called the ‘SCRUM’ process. The SCRUM teams include key stakeholders from throughout the organization to make up program management function.

Agile Team Sales Structure

An agile marketing team is organized around the sales funnel to support the multiple stages of attracting, converting and retaining customers instead of organizing around specific function. Each team is lead by a marketing board that sets the strategic direction (see strategic planning graphic below) and represents both business unit and market facing business leaders to shape the direction of marketing.

Strategic Planning

Once the board has set the strategic direction, it is responsible for hiring managing and developing the teams supporting each stage as follows:

Team 1: Brand Awareness & Evangelism (PR, Analyst Relations, Branding, Corporate Communications & Events)
Team 2: Lead Generation (content and co-marketing, affiliate marketing, display and PPC)
Team 3: Lead Nurturing (email, landing pages, webinars, etc.)
Team 4: Sales Conversion (product content, customer events, and sales training)
Team 5: Marketing Engineering (tools, measurement, and app development)

The Agile Process

  1. Define a User Story: team defines a campaign, user story, success criteria, business owner, and level of difficulty.
  2. Daily Standups: team strategizes on campaign execution tracking potential blockers and market changes (15 min. – literally standing up)
  3. Sprint Review: team reports on accomplishments, performance analysis and future commitments

Agile Marketing Benefits

1. Productivity – marketers who adopt agile methodology are much more organized, collaborative, and focused on meeting specific business objectives with the goal of continually increasing the velocity (productivity) of the marketing team over time.

2. Transparency – Agile marketing allows management, sales and development to understand how they are contributing to the bottom line and encourages marketing teams to promote customer engagement practices.

3. Prioritization – with monthly Sprint meeting, the agile team and stakeholders set the priority of programs and reconcile organizational resource needs.

4. Measurability – Agile marketing teams have clearly identified KPIs (key performance indicators) that they utilize to test the effectiveness of their campaigns in real time which ultimately improves their ability to communicate its value.

5. Adaptability – being agile refers to the ability to quickly adapt to change which is critical to becoming proactive and not reactive to respond to changing marketing conditions.

6. Competitiveness – through a continual increase in knowledge of what is resonating with your customers, you in turn are increasing customer satisfaction which protects you from competitive threats.

Additions & Feedback

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