Agile Marketing Drives Brands and Revenue

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Agile Marketing Drives Brands and Revenue
By Howard Oliver, MBA

The pressures facing CMOs and creative agencies supporting them are common regardless of
the organization’s size:
–  Prove how marketing influences pipeline
–  Do more with less
–  Resonate with customers and help sales win deals
–  Keep on top of new tactics and technology
–  Leverage information across clients and categories

In some marketing groups, planning paralysis impedes developing spectacular new
breakthrough brands. Strategy and messaging cycles fall short, relationships fray with sales and
teams tactically react with short-term survival campaigns. Other organizations have no real
plan at all, defaulting to cranking out email campaigns and landing pages, hoping for significant
traction.

The challenges extend to relationships with external creative agencies. The right firm might not
be engaged in the first place. Many agencies themselves are locked in archaic, overhead-heavy
business models. Others oversell trendy social media fads. Traditional advertising agencies are
having a tough time adopting new media realities. PR firms are struggling to provide full service
solutions that cross into the MarComm world. The result: agency and client relationships suffer.
Programs cycle in and out. Brand development suffers.

What magic bullets could bridge all these significant gaps? Agile Software Development has
been used successfully for more than a decade. Marketers have looked at the process. It avoids
the flaws of marketing’s default waterfall planning model:
–  Lack of flexibility
–  Hard to predict all needs in advance
–  Intangible knowledge lost between hand-offs
–  Lack of team cohesion
–  Long feedback cycle to see if planning worked

In 2001, a group of prominent software developers wrote the Agile Manifesto, based some key
values:
–  Individuals and interactions (collaboration) over processes and tools
–  Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
–  Responding to change over following a plan
The group sought agility and nimbleness yielding faster and better execution through lighter,
collaborative work processes. Keystones include:
–  Welcome and exploit changes advantageously as they occur.
–  Accelerate planning iteration meaning daily and weekly planning and feedback cycles, not
quarterly and monthly.
–  Build projects around motivated, self-organizing team. Provide them with the
environment and support they need to be successful. Team members can come from your
sales, marketing and technology groups within your organization and agencies, partners,
customers and broader stakeholders. Remember, social media will yield keen members
–  Instruct teams to aggressively tune and adjust behaviour and process in pursuing
spectacular results

“Agile Marketing” once engaged enables organizations to quickly change requirements in days
or weeks, not months or quarters, based on what’s working and what’s not, as well as the ever changing
competitive landscape. It provides individuals the environment and support they need
to succeed, and forces teams to consistently reflect on and adjust their behavior to increase
effectiveness. Consider these fundamental, best practices for Agile Marketing:
–  Six week “sprints” versus quarterly plans
–  Hold daily 15 minute “sprint meetings.” Each person presents their current work,
progress made and impediments encountered
–  Track team commitments uncovering capacity and velocity; resulting in team production
becoming more predictable and repeatable.
–  Embrace corrections and change based on testing or actual campaign metrics.
–  Allow new items into the project plan
–  Build a CFO dashboard to clarify ROI
–  Find inefficiencies and optimizing to reduce spends while improving performance through
iterative reviews.
–  Partner with sales – they know what works on the ground
– Engage useful but not faddy technology for engagement and planning

This first article introduced the potential of Agile Project management gleaned from the
software development world.

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