Why should marketing teams be more agile?

Agile marketing isn’t rocket science, though many teams still revert to old ways of working.

Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you are – or more precisely what you do is – important. Too many marketing teams get stuck in old-fashioned ways of working that waste time. If agile marketing isn’t familiar, we highly recommend exploring.

In everything from development to business, more and more teams are adopting agile ways of working. But why should marketing teams buy into the hype?

If you find your marketing team isn’t acting as a unit, or there’s frustration around processes that tend to get bottlenecked, or too many meetings without clear output, then it probably means you need to shake things up.

At Motley, we’ve been using agile working methods like build-measure-learn, test cards, retros, and kanbans with our clients and teams with good results. Agility has been one of the emerging trends in marketing since the rise of social media, but there’s still lots to improve.

How do you become agile? 

A linear process, known as the waterfall method, usually doesn’t allow for flexibility, flat hierarchy, transparency of doing or the accommodation of new findings during the process. It also tends to be a repetitive cycle of: define, plan, brief, do (usually solo, in a cave somewhere), and crawling back out of the cave for feedback. Sometimes we just fall in love with our plan, even if it isn’t the best way to get results we want.

“Planning is everything, the plan is nothing.”

Dwight Eisenhower

Your strategy should start with setting goals. Preferably, quantifiable goals that are easy to measure: some short-term and some long-term.

Take into account: why are you doing what you are doing? Once you have this ‘Why?’ figured out, it’s time to figure out the ‘Where?’ – where do you want to be, where is your destination?

1. Understand your user persona

To market your brand in a way that will capture your user persona (or customer) and communicate effectively with them, you need to understand who your user persona is.

There is likely more than one, so it’s essential to map out at least the most important types. This will help you recognize their potential perspectives and move you in the right direction in HOW to open up a dialogue.

You should try to look at the perspective or ‘lens’ through which they are looking at your company, and world in general.

Everyone has a perspective. Perspective is accumulated from experiences and knowledge which enables everyone to have a point of view. This perspective is usually what plays into us having an opinion or pre-meditated idea of what something is like before experiencing it or whether or not something is for us. It something gives us value. Like anything, it can affect how people view certain businesses or industry types before they interact with them. 

2. Create a roadmap

Figure out exactly what the broader goals are and what the plan is for achieving that goal. Be realistic about what your team is capable of reaching considering time and resources. Larger and smaller goals should be in some way quantifiable so that the rate of success can be measured throughout the process.

Whatever type of tangible roadmap is chosen – for example, a set of goals on a calendar – it needs to be something that can be edited. As you reach specific goals and learn from their outcomes, it may guide the path you’re on.

It’s good to understand that a roadmap isn’t the plan. The plan should evolve continuously.

3. Weekly planning & measuring results

Team size, resources, and goals vary from company to company. However, if marketing efforts are ongoing, then the plan should be adjusting along the way.

Weekly planning is an efficient way to look at your previous week and adapt to how the plan will look for that week. The larger the team, the more value it adds to see how others are reaching their goals and how each person’s plans and goals complement each other for reaching common goals.

At Motley, we also use 15-minute daily planning sessions or digital Slack dailies to get more transparency for work, find the possible bottleneck, and keep aligned with each other.

4. Retros

To measure and track results it helps to find a system that works for the team. Integrating a project management system – which could be as simple as a Kanban board – can simplify processes. An OKR framework can also clarify and break down the roadmap as a whole.

Monthly or weekly retros are useful ways to see where are the bottlenecks and blockers of doing, are the plans still relevant or need they update and where do people spend their time.

At Motley, we have retros not only for the things we create but also for the tools we use. For example, how can we use our Kanbans in a better way?

5. Iteration

Once you’ve reached a goal and measured your results, then that should only mean that the information is being used to help define your next goals – all as a part of your roadmap, of course.

Agile marketing isn’t rocket science but it needs testing, tuning and practicing. Every organization has its own needs, and the way of working must be fitted in with those.

At their best, agile methods improve quality of work, give transparency, and eliminate useless work.

A couple classics to read:

Maija Mäenpää

Designing employee experiences increase commitment and happiness

Maija Mäenpää

What is employee experience and how does it impact recruitment?

Johanna Nieminen

Transformation fitness: Why companies fall into fat diets