Agile marketing is an adaptation of agile development. The broader marketing team is broken up into smaller teams, each with distinct responsibilities and tasks that need to be completed within a certain timeframe.
Small marketing teams can use agile marketing because it helps divvy up and stretch limited resources to ensure everyone has a task that ladders up to the same project. When you have ample resources, however, with your large marketing team, is agile marketing still effective?
Big marketing teams don’t face the same challenges that small teams face. They have departments, each with their own tasks and responsibilities. The hard part, with a large team, is aligning on goals. Each department has their own wants and needs and rather than working cross-functionally, silos often form around each functional group, making it hard to communicate and align on priorities. Let’s look at how agile marketing can help solve some of the challenges of a big marketing team.
Choosing Agile Marketing Teams
In a large marketing team, there’s likely a wide variety of skills. Agile marketing for a larger team requires balancing each person’s strengths and keeping departments in their swim lanes while still considering the broader marketing team priorities. Referencing Martech.org once again, we’ll look at the various ways to divide a team, this time through the lens of a larger marketing team.
Agile Teams Based on Funnel Stages
For a larger marketing team, this could work as long as it doesn’t result in more silos. Each part of the funnel has to be able to communicate with one another, so if it’s just a rearrangement of silos that already exist, it may not provide any additional benefits. But, if you can create net-new groups based on the strengths of each individual, it could lead to a smoother execution of tasks.
If choosing this agile marketing strategy for a larger marketing team, you’ll have to think about which parts of the funnel each department already gravitates toward. Based on that, you’ll be able to choose which role should serve as a team lead (a.k.a. Scrum Master). It likely won’t be a member of the same department across all funnel stages. For example, your content marketing team likely targets the top of the funnel while your product marketing team is more mid-to-low funnel.
Agile Teams Based on Persona or Industry
Dividing your teams by personas or industry gives you the opportunity to fully rearrange your large marketing team. With a larger team you may have multiple people in the same role, which gives you an advantage for this arrangement of agile teams.
For example, let’s say you’re focusing on retail and fintech. You could create two teams, each with a copywriter, a graphic designer, a product marketer, a demand generation specialist, and an email specialist. One scrum team would only have tasks related to the retail industry while the other would only focus on fintech.
Agile Teams Based on Product
Breaking your team into product-based agile teams could be beneficial for a large marketing team. Similar to the persona or industry approach, each scrum team could be compiled of a person from each marketing department. Instead of focusing on an industry or individual audience, however, these teams would each focus on a specific product. With that, you’d have the teams think about the audience for that specific product, each stage of the funnel, and a marketing strategy specific to that product.
In this scenario, you’d likely have a member of product marketing act as each team lead, as they have more insight into the products they’ll be focusing on.
Agile Teams Based on Service
While dividing your marketing team into service-based groups could work for a very small team, it’s probably what already exists in a larger marketing team. Each department already has a specific service they provide to the broader marketing team, so this wouldn’t necessarily solve any of the alignment issues that may exist.
When thinking about how you’ll divide up your teams, you’ll have to think about what you’re looking to achieve. What are the overarching goals your team needs to accomplish and what agile design will help you get there? If you’re looking to build awareness of your product catalog, for example, maybe a product-based design is the best. If you’re looking to capture more audiences, a persona-based approach may work the best. And hey, if you don’t know, you can always test it out.
Making Agile Work For You
Remember, implementing agile marketing isn’t supposed to make your life harder. In fact, it’s supposed to make it much easier. While there may be a learning curve at the beginning—especially if leaning towards a product-, industry-, or persona-centric approach—the payoff in the end should outweigh the initial struggles.
Once agile teams are decided upon, they’re not set in stone. Agile teams can switch and adjust—and they may have to. Agile development was created to improve efficiency and open communication. Agile marketing, however, is inherently different from agile development because there are constant outside requests that come in that can’t be pushed to other sprints. Another big difference is that success looks different for a marketing team. While working code defines success for developers, the performance indicators for a marketing team are often less black-and-white.
What we’re really saying is, don’t expect the process to be perfect and run like a well-oiled engineering team right off the bat. You’ll have to make the agile marketing process your own. But, if it allows you to more effectively iterate, collaborate, and create, you’re on the right track.
To learn how the right marketing tools can help improve the efficiency of your large marketing team, schedule an Iterable demo today.