Agile marketing is one of those marketing terms you’ve probably heard a lot about. And it’s no wonder, with 85% of marketers planning to increase agile usage over the next two years and 53% of agile marketing teams reporting being more productive, it’s a popular marketing strategy that more and more teams are seeing the benefits of switching to.
But when you change your team’s entire way of working, there can be hiccups along the way. You’ll undoubtedly want your transition to an agile way of working to go as smoothly as possible, so with that in mind, we’ve put together the do’s and don’ts of agile marketing so your team can get started as soon as possible.
What is agile marketing?
Agile marketing is a marketing strategy that, as it says on the tin, refers to keeping your team agile. It means self-organizing, having cross-functional teams, and doing work in quick, frequent iterations with continuous feedback. Decisions are made using data, as agile marketers constantly conduct experiments to boost their team’s performance and rely on their data to measure and adjust their efforts.
In agile marketing, plans are kept flexible so while everyone is aware of goals, no one is stuck in one box so that teams can adapt to any change in their industry. Rather than long campaigns lasting months, goals and tasks are re-prioritized every two to four weeks to ensure the team moves in the right direction.
The do’s of agile marketing
To ensure your marketing team gets off to a good start when implementing an agile way of working, here are the do’s of agile marketing.
Do collaborate as a team
Working agile is not a solo endeavor, nor is it just a marketing team endeavor. For agile to work effectively, there needs to be collaboration across the entire organization, particularly with sales and upper management.
Everything you work towards as an agile team should be one big group effort. Rather than being constrained by silos and hierarchies, the emphasis is on free-flowing collaboration, so any person on the team could feasibly be involved with any project. Team-wide meetings are essential, and all manner of communication channels are used to encourage collaboration.
Do utilize data
Data is crucial for agile marketing’s quick-time decisions. As experimentation and making incremental changes to constantly improve processes sits at the very heart of agile marketing’s frameworks, testing data is one of the fundamental ways to ensure teams are continually moving forward.
Experimentation, backed by reliable data, is the preferred agile way of working. Allow your team to try new things, even if it goes wrong the first time. Implement more short-term A/B testing to learn more about your customers and gain meaningful insights. Let everyone at the company have access to the data to better facilitate brainstorming sessions, so everyone has the chance to do some creative thinking and come up with new ideas. With all the data behind your campaign’s performance, you’re better placed to make decisions about future work.
Do respond to changes
One of the key benefits of agile marketing is the flexibility it affords your team. If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that plans are highly subject to change and flexible planning is crucial. Rather than sticking to a rigid plan, agile marketing allows you the freedom to respond to changes as they arise, putting you in the best possible position to cope with changing markets.
As you learn more from past campaign performances or customer feedback, you can change your marketing backlog in preparation. You can discontinue any work that isn’t performing as expected, even if it was a part of the plan, and only focus on things that are delivering a high degree of customer value. Responding to change is a fundamental part of agile marketing and could significantly boost your overall revenue.
The don’ts of agile marketing
So now we’ve seen what you should be doing to get started with agile marketing, but what about what you shouldn’t be doing? Here’s what you need to avoid.
Don’t do away with planning
Contrary to what you might think, agile marketers don’t do away with planning altogether - they just do planning in a more flexible way. The difference with agile marketing planning is that changes are responded to, rather than marketers sticking to a rigid plan regardless of what happens.
That isn’t to say that planning isn’t necessary; there just needs to be scope for flexibility within that plan. The great thing about agile marketing is that you don’t need incredibly detailed plans, in fact, the opposite is true. Loose plans allow you the flexibility required to implement agile ways of working effectively. Rather than planning for months at a time, stick to a two-week plan so you’re constantly analyzing and reviewing your performance, ready to improve the next plan.
Don’t be rigid with your agile framework
There are a few agile frameworks you can choose from, like Scrum and Kanban, which we’ve talked about before, but it’s important to stay flexible even when you align your team with one of these frameworks.
No framework is automatically the better choice, it depends on what’s best for your team, which could always change in the future. So rather than stick rigidly to your chosen agile marketing framework, there should always be wiggle room for changing up your ways of working.
In fact, many marketers benefit from Scrumban, a hybrid of the Scrum and Kanban frameworks, with 44% of agile marketing teams claiming they don’t confine themselves to just one methodology. So don’t impose limits on your team; they could really benefit from a broad spectrum of practices.
Don’t forget to take risks
An agile team that empowers its decision-makers should be prepared to embrace risk-taking. There’s a huge benefit to taking calculated risks, and the agile marketing strategy is the perfect way to experiment and try new things. Even failures can be wins in agile marketing because there’s always something to learn going forward.
Team members need the trust of their organization to know that they will not be shot down if mistakes are made. There’s no point in keeping your planning flexible and subject to change if you’re not allowing your team to take creative risks and implement new ideas. So get comfortable with the idea of something not paying off; after all, every idea that didn’t pan out is one step closer to finding something that works.
Agile marketing is fast becoming one of the most widely used marketing strategies for B2B marketers, and its frameworks are rapidly adapting to meet the needs of all marketing professionals.
It’s not an instant fix for businesses, however, so make sure you refine the right agile marketing process for your organization, never losing sight of the fundamentals: data over opinions and conventions, customer-focused collaboration, adaptive campaigns, and responding to changes.
Want to discover more about the world of agile marketing? Have you got advice to share? Head to the B2B Marketing Alliance community!