Was 2019 the year your team pledged to move to a more collaborative, agile marketing approach, testing and iterating new ideas more quickly? You’re not alone.
According to the AgileSherpa’s State of Agile Marketing Report, about half of traditional marketing teams were looking to implement agile practices this year. But what does that really mean for marketing?
“When executives say ‘agile’ to product teams , it means ‘get six months of work done in two weeks,’” says Matt LeMay, co-founder of Sudden Compass and author of Agile for Everybody. “When product teams say it to marketing teams, it means ‘stop asking us about deadlines, because we’re agile.’”
But beyond “good and fast,” many marketers don’t really have a strong definition of what agile marketing means to their teams, he says. “It’s up to us how we define agile going forward. It can be the difference between something that breaks down silos and brings us together—or something that entrenches silos and moves us further apart.”
Agile was never about software, tools and processes. Rather, says LeMay, it is about bringing people together.
Of course, that isn’t always easy. Individuals in an organization will naturally prioritize the work that they can complete most easily within the comfort of their own team or silo. To operate in an agile way, marketers need to give up the idea that understanding the customer is the something that only marketing can accomplish.
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“We must give up the quest for personal advancement through functional empire building,” he says. “If we collaborate early and often, and reach out across functions, the work you do gets better.”
How can you get started now? At MarTech East recently, LeMay offered several tips for experimenting with agile marketing practices.
Try daily stand-up meetings. These are meeting where everyone literally keeps standing for the entire meeting—this helps keep the meetings short and focused.
Talk to other departments. Are other groups in your organization agile? See what is and isn’t working for their teams.
Show your work. Clue other teams in on what marketing is doing. Working cross-functionally will give everyone a better idea of how other teams operate.
Don’t wait until you’re finished. The natural desire is to wait until everything is done before you share it with anyone outside your team. But peeling back the layers during the process helps everyone see what does into the creative work marketing is producing.
Take the “one page, one hour” pledge. Rather than completing something and then spending additional hours creating a PowerPoint or lengthy memo to present your work to colleagues, commit to only spending one hour (or writing one page) about a deliverable before you loop in colleagues. This creates a more collaborative environment, with shared accountability.