Agile for Marketing

Your development team may be an Agile Development shop already but have you ever considered how Agile principles could be applied to your marketing team? It’s not that far fetched. I’m running into companies that are doing Agile Marketing today and they are seeing significant benefits in marketing return on in investment, team throughput and respect.

Agile for Marketing? Are you nuts?

Agile Marketing isn’t that difficult to grasp but it takes discipline and management support to sustain. Instead of thinking about marketing as a list of stuff that needs to get done over the period of a year, lets say once a month you get the marketing team together and agree to what you are going to get done over the next month. Your frame of reference is that whatever you work on must be directly connected to the success of the business and it’s achievable. Instead of having a wish list of indeterminable length you would have a finite, highly focused list of activities and deliverables you all agree will get done (and by extension what you will ignore). The team maps it out for the month deciding on who should do what and what resources are needed to be successful.

Daily Stand-ups

Every day the marketing team meets to review status in a brief stand up meeting. Fifteen minutes should be enough time. Bottlenecks are identified, escalated and addressed long before they become embarrassing problems. Progress is noted and everyone gets back to work.

The month ends (our ‘sprint’ in Agile parlance) and there is tangible evidence of the marketing team’s contribution to the business.

Handling ‘Urgent’ Requests

When the marketing team gets an urgent request for something not on the list, the discussion quickly turns to what we choose to give up in order to get the urgent request done (and even if the urgent request is really that important to the business).

For activities that take a longer horizon like planning for a big industry trade show it works the same way, except broken down into multiple month-long sprints.

Can’t be Done Here

Before you scoff and say that marketing is too creative a process for Agile Marketing to be a reality, think again. Developing innovative software is every bit as creative a process as anything in marketing and Agile is working wonders for developers (been there done both).

Is your marketing team Agile today? What surprises have you seen? What suggestions do you have for others considering the transition?

David Daniels

David Daniels

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