In the fourth season of The Office, Michael Scott, laden with financial troubles, decided he needed to declare bankruptcy, leading him to announce to his colleagues, “I declare bankruptcy!”
Spoiler: His verbally declaring bankruptcy didn’t automatically launch the legal process. In the marketing world, the same can be said for deciding to adopt an entirely new approach for your team. For instance, agile marketing - becoming more popular in the B2B community in particular - can’t be implemented by waving a magic wand and assuming everyone is on board with the concept. Instead, it takes proper planning, training, and, importantly, a collaborative and centralized platform.
To begin with, agile marketing is generally defined as “a project management approach originating in product development that has been applied to marketing,” as explained by Bruce Brien, Hive9’s chief strategy officer, during a recent webinar conducted in partnership with NewsCred and hosted by Demand Gen Report.
In theory, Brien continued, agile marketing deploys small teams - i.e., scrum teams - who are freed from the “traditional structures that stifle innovation and hamper adaptability.” Through agile marketing, these scrum teams have regularly scheduled planning sessions on sprints – i.e., objectives to be met over a specific period of time.
Although the idea dates back to World War II, agile is “typically a new concept” for most marketers on a team, Brien said. In turn, it has to be enabled with “the right training, the right insights and the right systems to keep the small teams from crashing.”
“Agile marketing won’t happen on its own by declaring, ‘We are now an agile marketing organization!’” Brien said, adding that this approach would be a “recipe for disaster.” (It didn’t work out for Michael Scott either.) Instead, to bring everyone on board, “you have to enable your teams” and “train people on an agile mindset.”
Furthermore, Anji Ismail, NewsCred’s director of product, underscored the importance of a collaborative environment, starting with your marketing technology. One of the key principles of agile marketing, he explained, is having in place a “centralized platform that will give visibility into what’s being planned, what’s happening and what’s coming next.”
To demonstrate why a centralized platform matters, Ismail described the steps you could take, using an agile approach, when it comes to releasing a podcast:
During a four-week sprint planning session with your scrum team, first determine your primary objective and how you plan to reach it: e.g., notching 500 listeners through email campaigns, social media and Google Ads.
During the four weeks, your team will have 15 minutes daily to provide updates.
Once your podcast goes live, your scrum team will need to review the results.
So, if you didn’t meet your target of 500 listeners, where do you go from here? You interrupt the sprint and make changes to your plan, explained Ismail. And this is where a centralized solution comes into play.
“The important part here is that you have the ability to [make changes],” he said, “meaning you need to have the technology in place to support planning and visibility so that your team can determine if and when changes need to be made.” What matters, Ismail added, is having “complete visibility into what has been created and what content is being planned or about to be published.”
For example, having centralized calendars enables everyone on your team to have “line of sight” into what’s happening and what content is on the horizon, Ismail said. Moreover, you can eliminate duplicative work when your whole team is on the same page.
Overall, added Brien, a collaborative and centralized solution can help you do three things:
Understand the impacts of change.
Keep your plans aligned to your business strategy.
Ensure that your plans will still produce the results you want.
A common misconception of agile marketing, according to Brien, is that agile teams do not have to plan; rather, they just have to "do." This sounds great on the surface, he said, but agile is really an “advanced approach” to project management that requires “better visibility into plans.”
Ismail echoed this sentiment, adding, “Being agile doesn’t mean being reactive and not planning.”
Rather, having a documented plan is one of two “foundational layers of agile marketing,” according to Ismail. The other? Having a “culture of collaboration.”
“Once you have a strategy and cross-functional collaboration down,” he said, “you’re ready to embark on an agile approach.”
Hive9 provides a platform to build your marketing plan in one place, providing visibility into what’s happening when. Request a demo and see how the solution could enable better collaboration across your entire team.
Have any of your own tips for success - or horror stories - on agile marketing? Leave a comment below!