How to Implement Agile marketing

How to Implement Agile marketing

How to Implement Agile marketing
 How to Implement Agile marketing
 

 
Watch the video below before reading the article if you are keen to learn how to implement Agile marketing.
 

What is Agile Marketing?

Agile marketing is an iterative approach to marketing strategy planning and execution. This requires a mindset shift, away from a rigid approach to marketing towards a more fluid and flexible approach to marketing operation. My experience of Agile started within marketing teams in the software industry and this was due to their overall different approach to task execution - from product development through to marketing and sales. Contrary to popular belief, Agile marketing did not start within IT, although the processes involved with Agile execution, like Scrum or Kanban, have been borrowed from IT software development and introduced in various guises within other industries, e.g. marketing, HR and even medical management 

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How you implement Agile within marketing will depend on your interpretation of the concept of Agile. I, myself, have been guilty of defining Agile marketing as a concept borrowed from IT software industry, which meant all of its various components have to be replicated 'as is' in other industries. However, I soon realised that Agile applications in marketing is more than just the exact copying over of Scrum or Kanban frameworks. Having seen for myself on various projects that adopting Scrum and Kanban 'as is' does not guarantee revenue growth, I shifted my interpretation of Agile marketing towards a framework-agnostic approach that focuses more on marketing strategy, technology, people and processes. 
 
How you implement Agile marketing should cover these three important areas, whilst the application of Scrum and Kanban frameworks (adapted or not) falls under marketing process improvement. For you to understand how to improve your marketing execution you will first need to learn the fundamental of Agile from a more conceptual perspective and then use your experience of marketing to apply it to the specific context of your team.

Agile Marketing Training

Most marketing leaders are keen to understand how to implement Agile marketing. The first logical way to start is by getting Agile marketing training to help you understand the conceptual foundations of Agile marketing and learn from existing case studies. I recommend starting with Scrum and Kanban training in the context of marketing. There are a few YouTube videos on Agile marketing that will provide you with some contextual examples of how marketing teams have applied Agile. The best way to start is to get buy-in through executive Agile marketing training for team leaders and senior stakeholders. That way you can then go ahead to develop internal training that is tailored to your teams and that is aligned to your overall business and marketing strategy.

Agile Marketing Certification

Do you really need an Agile marketing certification? You may be tempted to believe that you need certifications to confirm your skill and understanding of Agile marketing. Way back in 2015 when I started engaging more with Agile marketing, I paid too much attention to frameworks like Scrum and Kanban and made the mistake of paying for a Scrum Master training which was not delivered in the context of marketing. Whilst it helped me to solidify my mastery of the 'original' Scrum framework itself, it did very little to enable me to generate fast results in the marketing teams I was working with at the time. 
 
Fast forward to 2020, there are now a few Agile marketing certifications available but I would recommend starting with a much more cost-effective solution: reading available books and watching free online Agile marketing videos on YouTube to become more familiar with the terminology and the range of applications. Although you won't get certified, you will gain sufficient understanding to enable you to draw some parallels with your marketing context and get some basic ideas of how the implementation of Agile Marketing might work within the context of your team.

Agile Marketing Coaching

Implementing Agile marketing is a journey that starts with getting training (formal or informal) but you will ultimately need coaching support to be able to do this effectively over the long term. Generally speaking, there are two types of Agile marketing coaches you can find: Agile coaches with marketing background and Agile coaches without marketing background. The goal is to increase marketing effectiveness as opposed to working in an Agile way. You will, therefore, need a coach who understands how to link generic Agile processes with the relevant KPIs and who understands the importance of Lean and systems thinking, on top of being well-versed in specific Agile frameworks.

Agile Marketing Strategy

The success of your Agile marketing implementation will depend on creating a detailed marketing strategy that is focused on revenue attribution - it should be clearly identifiable how every element of the strategy contributes to your organisation's bottom line. One thing I realised about the Agile Marketing Manifesto is that it lacks any consideration of important marketing and business metrics, which is why Scrum and Kanban are limited just to the 'execution' side of marketing. The strategy aspect of Agile marketing is something the marketing leaders create with external stakeholders and this largely sits 'outside' of the traditional marketing function. 
 
As a leader, you need to understand that the goal of Agile marketing is not to become Agile per se but to optimise how your marketing tools deliver your strategic marketing KPIs. It is not the blind focus on implementing Agile frameworks what makes a marketing strategy Agile, but it's the flexibility of your existing marketing strategy to pivot quickly in response to insights from analytics (qualitative and quantitative) to make sure as little of your marketing budget is wasted as possible.
Once you have documented your marketing strategy and aligned your important KPIs and metrics to individual marketing channels, the next step is to populate your marketing backlog with tasks which can then be further grouped into sprints. If you want to have a go you can download the Agile Marketing Template from my website and see how you get on. These documents can be uploaded to Google drive and shared with your marketing team to facilitate understanding of the organisational direction across the board.

Agile Marketing Team Structure

I love the fact that marketing teams in every organisation are completely different, which is why I find it funny that most Agile marketing training recommends adopting the Product Owner and Scrum Master roles in marketing. This ties you into blindly following the framework and can cause all sorts of issues as you move through the various phases of the implementation of your marketing strategy. 
 
Back in 2015, I was a big fan of the Spotify Agile model and structuring teams in squads but I after completing professional training in systemic team coaching and working with a number of clients since then, my opinion has changed. I, therefore, recommend structuring your marketing team to match your customer journey. The skill and capabilities within your team and the execution plan within your strategy should be factored into your marketing team design.

Conclusion

There is not a single best way to structure an Agile marketing team - you need to know your context and become well-versed in various Agile frameworks to be able to pick and choose which bits will work for you. This is where having an Agile Marketing coach can really reap benefits fast: working together - you, as an expert on your organisational context and the coach, as an expert on Agile Marketing - can halve the time needed to implement Agile within your marketing function, thus enabling you to see results more quickly then if you are trying to find your own way yourself.

To learn more about Agile marketing, I recommend buying and reading my book Lean Agile Marketing available on Amazon UK and Amazon USA. Also, watch the following videos

Agile Marketing Case Study https://youtu.be/vj5f26qo8iY
AGILE MARKETING - A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE https://youtu.be/jd0-mLylETg
Why Agile Marketing? https://youtu.be/wxxsgy9NN1I
Agile Marketing Software https://youtu.be/KQy8OTLXHZg
Benefits of Agile Marketing https://youtu.be/Ja266asp4XI
The Agile Marketing Transformation - Femi Olajiga - Hard Corps Marketing Show #199 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaI49.
AGILE MARKETING TRAINING: THE RECOMMENDED LEARNING PATH https://youtu.be/WqEJ7KFhXic 
Agile Marketing Frameworks - Actionable Tips That Works https://youtu.be/S1zQVB8FtQQ
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                                               Femi Olajiga. MSc.
About:
As a growth marketing consultant, I help accelerate revenue growth for businesses through on-demand outsourced marketing strategy planning and execution. I support business owners and marketing leaders by providing clarity, structure and consistency to customer acquisition, conversion and retention strategies. Marketing consultancy services:-   
 
Marketing Plan Review and Audit  Video Marketing Strategy  Google Analytics Audit, Implementation and Reporting  
CRO - Conversion Rate Optimisation  
SEO - Search Engine Optimisation  
YouTube SEO  
Google Ads  
Content Marketing  
Digital Marketing 
Strategy Planning 
(Ecommerce and B2B)  
Agile Marketing Coaching

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