Agile Marketing is a relatively new concept in the world of marketing. It takes its name from agile processes used in software development around the late 90s. The real simple explanation of this approach is that marketing teams identify high value projects, usually centered around providing value to the customer, to focus their collective efforts on, work transparently and cooperatively until the task is completed, and then measure the impact/success or failure.
Ever-Evolving Marketing Environment
This approach is gaining traction because the marketing climate in so many organizations has become so fast-paced and unpredictable it needs some lean and agile principles to follow in order to remain productive and successful. Principles that take into account this volatility and uncertainty, and manage it through a process of iteration, anticipation, and adaptation.
So the key is for marketing departments not to produce a lengthy 100-page annual marketing plan, but instead schedule/control a couple different size projects each month, learn from these smaller tasks and adopt the most successful of them to get results now and in the future.
There are three main approaches centered around the concepts of Agile Marketing. Looking at each provides a better understanding of how these principles can be used as customer-centric marketing processes and which might fit best in your organization.
The 3 Most Popular Agile Methodologies
Scrum is what most people think of if they have heard of agile marketing. It was the original methodology used for software development that was then brought into the marketing arena. Scrum provides a framework for teams to follow based on two basic parts: events and roles. Events are referred to as ceremonies, which consist of Sprints, such as the goal of completing a campaign through routinely held Scrums (think meetings) to track progress. Roles include Product/Marketing owner, Scrum Master, and Developers/Marketing team members. A Sprint is usually not longer than a month. Sprints are evaluated to determine if something was successful and should be continued or was not successful and therefore should not be executed the same way again.
Kanban essentially means billboard in Japanese and was developed by Toyota to help their manufacturing teams in the 1940s. It centers on the concept of prioritizing work and limiting the amount of work one does, to ultimately accomplish more. It includes creating a visualize workflow that limits work-in-progress (WIP). It doesn’t define roles or set meeting schedules like Scrum. It assumes the organization has some type of project-management workflow system in place and concentrates on the completion of each team member’s work items.
Scrumban is what its name suggests a combination of Scrum and kanban practices. This methodology is suited for more agile marketing teams that require a constant shift in focus. Scrumban requires teams to identify inputs (owner/work type), workflow, and output (where the work goes when it’s completed) visually on a kanban board. Then you move your work from left to right across the board. That’s the quick explanation, but you get the picture.
Marketing teams can use one specific approach or tactics within each of these approaches to get started processing work in an agile/lean capacity. In fact, a recent State of Agile Marketing 2018 report, by AgileSherpas in partnership with Kapost found that the most popular agile marketing choice among respondents (44%) was a hybrid of multiple methodologies. Among the traditional options, Agile marketers prefer Scrum (17.9%), then Kanban (12.7%), and lastly Scrumban (10.7%).
The report also found that while you may think Agile Marketing is all about speed, participants noted the top three benefits to their team and organization are the ability to change gears quickly and effectively based on feedback: 54.8%; better visibility into project status: 51.6%; and higher quality work: 46.8%.
And nearly two-thirds of traditional marketers, 61.3%, say they’re planning to start down the Agile path within a year. This demonstrates that more marketers are seeing the value of this approach and its potential to change the nature of how work is scheduled, produced and assessed. It requires a mindset change for sure, but how refreshing would it be to try a new initiative on a smaller scale and have the ability to learn from its outcome? The professionals at MMP can develop digital campaigns of any size to get you started on the path of Agile Marketing.