You may have heard your project manager go on time and time again about their agile approach to their Scrum technique to which you reply, “I don’t watch rugby”. After getting a few sideways glances that only someone on the tech team can deliver, you continue with your work day through important buzzwords, like content marketing, SEO, marketing automation… and finally you arrive here - at Agile Marketing.
But, what is Agile Marketing? What tools, people and processes do you need? What does it have to do with Scrum, and how can you get your project manager to respect you again?
We’ll cover all this and more in this blog post.
What is agile marketing?
Agile marketing is a marketing methodology and philosophy that aims to improve the speed, predictability, transparency and adaptability to change of the marketing function.
Simply put, this means that agile marketers value adaptability to the ever-shifting marketplace above all else in order to secure a competitive advantage over others who stick to a rigid set of rules and conventions.
The ideal agile marketer…
- satisfies customers through early and continuous delivery of marketing.
- welcomes and plans for change.
- focuses on short marketing experiments that gradually improve with each iteration rather than ‘big payoff’ long and complex campaigns.
- delivers marketing programs often, optimising and tweaking them towards perfection.
- learns through data and facts, not convention and wagers.
- keeps a constant pace and delivery pipeline.
- actively seeks feedback to evaluate their campaigns.
- at all times respects simplicity.
What is Scrum?
Rugby enthusiasts, you’re about to be disappointed.
Originally developed for software development projects, Scrum is intended to be a lightweight yet effective project management methodology. It prioritises accountability, adaptivity and focus. Beginning with a project backlog, the product owner identifies the projects that are most urgent to be completed in order to achieve the business’s marketing goals. Team members are then assigned project goals and update the Scrum master on their progress daily, informing them of any obstacles.
Different participants in the Scrum will fill in different roles such as:
- The Product Owner, who is responsible for the specific marketing project and keeping each task in the backlog prioritised.
- The Scrum Master, who is responsible for overseeing and implementing the Scrum. The Scrum Master differs from a traditional project manager in that they do not provide day-to-day direction to the team or assign tasks. Instead, they remove any impediments or issues that may slow the team down.
- The Team is made up of different specialists (digital marketer, creative director, brand manager, content marketer, product marketer, social media specialist, and more) each of whom is responsible for completing the tasks in the backlog. They are self-organised, and all members are collectively responsible for getting the work done.
We will now go into each Scrum step in detail.
The Scrum Process
Product owners must create a backlog of all the marketing projects they wish to undertake. These projects are made up of tasks which will then be prioritised.
Sprint planning meeting
At the start of each project (or ‘sprint’), scrum participants will hold a planning meeting to discuss the work that must be done, and which tasks and projects are of the highest priority. Team members figure out how many items they can commit to and then create their task lists.
Daily scrum or daily stand-up
Each day during the sprint scrum, participants join a quick stand-up meeting where they discuss what they worked on the prior day, what they will work on today and any obstacles that are preventing or hindering them from getting their task done. These meetings should generally take no longer than 15 minutes.
At the end of each project or sprint, the team responsible for the completed project will demonstrate the functionality and worth of the work they were doing for approval. The goal here is to get feedback from the product owner and any other stakeholders.
At the end of the sprint, team members meet to reflect on the project and identify opportunities to improve on for the next sprint.
What tools do I need?
As you can imagine, agile marketing and the scrum system it comes with were originally designed for small tech teams under the same roof. Today, the world is a much more connected place, and businesses are larger than ever - sometimes employing people in the thousands across all continents!
Does that mean that agile marketing and scrum management isn’t valid anymore? Of course not. You just need the right tools for the job.
Marketing automation - The best tool for agile marketing
Agile marketing demands that teams constantly change and optimise their steady stream of marketing materials based on data and hard facts.
Marketing automation not only provides the tools necessary to provide a constant stream of marketing materials to leads, but it also gives valuable statistics on marketing performance. This means that teams can optimise and change their campaigns on the fly based on proven facts.
Marketing automation is great for agile marketing because it:
- provides accurate, actionable data immediately
- sends a steady stream of marketing materials to leads
- automatically optimises based on how those leads respond
Our recommended marketing automation tool for 2019 - HubSpotHubSpot has been around for a a good few year now, and even coined the term “inbound marketing”. Its inbound marketing, sales and services software helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.
They offer an amazing of resources for inbound marketers and with a platform that covers all client-facing angles of your business, including sales, marketing and services, they provide almost everything you need for success in digital marketing and managing a modern customer experience.
Some of the tools HubSpot includes are:
- marketing automation
- email marketing
- SEO optimisation
- SaaS service and support
Project management systems - The best tool for scrum product owners
Some companies may find the daily stand-up meetings and demonstrations to be somewhat impractical. This could be due to the fact that they have remote staff, employees on different shifts, or even due to the sheer amount of employees that work for the company.
Whatever the reason, there is a modern solution available that solves this challenge and actually boosts productivity around the office.
Project management systems bring the scrum methodology to the digital realm, allowing team members to collaborate completely online. What’s better, is that stakeholders and product owners can review and approve work at a click of a mouse, streamlining the whole process.
Our recommended project management system for 2019 - ASANA
Asana is quickly taking hold of the marketplace when it comes to project management systems, for marketers and entire companies alike.
This universal digital tool allows team members from across the company to assign tasks to different departments, owners and team members. Through Asana, product owners and other stakeholders gives team members a due date to complete their work by as well as top level feedback with every task that is assigned to them.
With Asana, team members can upload and download their work for approval and feedback and get organised by having all their tasks by priority in their work queue. The team can also leave comments and assign work to other members, if they are given the right permissions. This allows product owners to get an overview of how their team is performing, where they are needed for support and what obstacles stand in the way of their team accomplishing their goal.
In a way, Asana allows product owners to take control of the process and perform duties traditionally left to the scrum master - streamlining productivity.
Team collaboration platforms - The best tool for creative teams
While organising and executing plans is a necessity for product owners, general team members need a platform to create, collaborate and improve on their work. With a focus on agile marketing, these platforms prove even more vital to the continual improvement of creative content through regular feedback.
This is where team collaboration platforms come into play.
An exciting concept in the creative space, team collaboration platforms focus in on the creative process in a collaborative way that companies can take advantage of. The goal of this tool is to get every member in a team to work together on one large project at a time, with each member adding their individual value.
These platforms allow unprecedented collaboration and gradual updates - something sorely needed for creative teams practising agile marketing, which requires constant improvements.
Our recommended creative collaboration platform for 2019 - Hightail by OpenText
Hightail is one of the few creative collaboration platforms out there that was built with agile marketers in mind, and what’s better, is that they’re one of the only ones that get it right.
Team members can collaborate and provide feedback on highly visual marketing projects in real time, eliminating miscommunication and boosting productivity. Content creators can showcase their work once it's ready for review; stream and mark-up videos; and annotate presentations, images and other files.
Video reviewers can highlight specific parts of content at specific time-frames and comment to get their feedback across effectively and quickly. With no download time or different versions of the same work being stored on any hard drive, it eliminates common issues that arise when team members are working on different copies of the same file.
When all the work is done, team members can assign multiple reviewers to their work in order to approve it.
In short, Hightail is a digital creative team's dream and an agile marketer’s secret weapon.
Agile marketing is a fairly new concept, so don’t be disheartened if you struggle to implement or adapt to it. However, if you would like some guidance as to how to implement agile for your own business environment, look no further than Demodia, a digital marketing agency and consultancy firm.
Demodia works with you to get the maximum value out of your digital marketing, using the latest technology and marketing strategies. If you want advice on agile marketing or any of the tools mentioned in this article, contact Demodia today and find out what working with a premier digital marketing consultant is like.