Agility. We’ve heard this word tossed around in various scenarios. Athletes are described as being limber and agile. Dogs compete in agility obstacle courses. But what does agility or being agile actually mean? Boiled down, it’s just the ability to move quickly and easily. And, when something is fast and simple, it’s efficient.
This idea of efficiency has been applied to development for over twenty years. Instead of focusing on huge projects and the big picture, developers break down projects into smaller tasks and choose which of those tasks to complete in a set timeframe, known as a “sprint.”
Agile marketing, according to McKinsey, “means using data and analytics to continuously source promising opportunities or solutions to problems in real time, deploying tests quickly, evaluating the results, and rapidly iterating.” Before we cover agile marketing for large teams, this article will explore how a small marketing team can approach agile marketing—dividing and conquering with limited resources.
Choosing Agile Marketing Teams
For a small marketing team, the first step is deciding how you’ll break up the group into smaller groups—each being responsible for tackling specific tasks. There’s more than one way to skin a cat and, according to Martech.org, there’s more than one way to divide your team.
Agile Teams Based on Funnel Stages
In this model, teams can be broken up based on the stages of the funnel. So, for example, you could have a team focused on lead generation at the top of the funnel, a team focused on mid-funnel consideration, and a team focused on retention at the bottom of the funnel.
For a smaller marketing team, this may not be the best option only because the lift for the various funnel stages could be vastly different. Lead generation would be a heavier lift while retention, at the beginning, may be a lighter lift.
Agile Teams Based on Persona or Industry
Here, you could divide your marketing team into groups based on the various marketing personas or industries your team has established as your core audience. The teams in this model would look at the whole funnel, but for each specific target audience member and vertical.
As long as there are a few personas, this is a good option for a small marketing team because each agile team can think about the funnel as a whole.
Agile Teams Based on Product
Product-based agile teams are more aligned with the traditional development agile teams. In this scenario, each team focuses on a specific product. So, for example, maybe there’s a free version of your app, a base subscription, and a premium subscription. You could divide your marketing team so each team focuses on one.
For a small team, however, there may only be one or a couple of product options, so this may not be the best fit.
Agile Teams Based on Service
Lastly, service-based teams are divided based on roles. So, pretty close to the structure of a traditional marketing team. You’d have your writers, designers, email marketers, etc., all on separate teams.
The issue with service-based teams is that they can often create bottlenecks. Different teams work at different speeds and require different levels of effort. This can be especially challenging for a smaller marketing team where the number of people per team is small and perhaps uneven.
However you decide to divide your marketing team, the next step will be designing the agile process to ensure each team understands what is expected of them.
Designing the Agile Marketing Process
Designing your agile marketing process is crucial for making sure each agile team is aligned and can work to achieve the same goal. Remember, agile marketing is meant to help accomplish short-term, smaller goals that contribute to a larger goal. To achieve this overarching goal, however, everyone needs to be on the same page.
Like we mentioned earlier, the agile process splits up work into short time periods, known as sprints. Generally, for agile development, sprints are two-weeks. This means each team selects tasks they want to accomplish within these two weeks and focuses only on those tasks. Tasks are prioritized based on urgency and non-urgent tasks can be moved to later sprints.
In addition to sprints, agile processes require frequent standup meetings—sometimes every morning. This way, teams can share what they’re working on, making sure each team has visibility into a project’s status, any blockers, and what’s coming up.
Lastly, agile marketing requires a way to track progress. The goal is to complete the selected tasks within a sprint, so your team has to be able to track which tasks are complete, which aren’t, and who is responsible for completing them. Developers often use a Kanban board to keep track of tasks within a sprint.
Teams and processes are crucial to achieving effective and efficient agile marketing. All that being said, though, it’s important to remember why you’re using an agile marketing process in the first place.
The Agile Marketing Manifesto
Yes, picking what your agile teams will focus on and designing a process that allows for success are obviously necessary when implementing agile marketing for your small team. But, if your broader marketing team understands why you’re doing things this way, it can help deepen understanding and productivity.
According to Adobe Workfront, agile marketing allows marketers to:
- Respond quickly to changes in the market
- Produce rapid campaigns that can be tested and optimized over time
- Try lots of things and repeat the ones that succeed
- Use input from other departments to augment marketing efforts
- Justify choices in campaigns and projects with hard data
- Collaborate with team members to prevent a tunnel-vision approach to marketing
Sharing these benefits and potential outcomes of agile marketing sets the stage from the beginning. Agile marketing is meant to make life easier for the marketers on your team, so be sure to start with that. There may be a learning curve, but the payoff, in the end, will be worth it.
Agile marketing teams are only as strong as the tools in their arsenal. To learn more about how Iterable can help your marketing team easily achieve their tasks, schedule a demo today.