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September 22, 2021

What is Agile Marketing? Understand the Benefits of Agile and How it's Used in Marketing

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What is Agile Marketing?

Agile marketing is a project management and team organization approach that guides teams in how they prioritize, create, and experiment with marketing tactics. This technique borrows from the software-oriented Agile methodology that was created and popularized in the 2000s for development teams.

At its core, Agile requires that teams collaborate in new ways. Gliffy helps teams quickly capture and share ideas via an intuitive, drag-and-drop diagramming application. You can get started with a free trial today >> 

The Agile Marketing Manifesto

As Agile became known for its effectiveness in the software and development fields, other industries and areas of expertise looked for ways to adapt it to their own work. In 2012, a group of marketing professionals drafted the Agile Marketing Manifesto, which outlines five key values. These five values are an important guide to implementing agile marketing for any team:

1. Focusing on Customer Value and Business Outcomes Over Activities and Outputs

This value emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the impact of work, rather than doing busy tasks because of previous routines. By putting more effort into the tactics and activities that create value for customers, agile teams will positively affect the business downstream.

2. Delivering Value Early and Often Over Waiting for Perfection

The original Agile methodology emphasizes frequent and iterative software updates so that development teams can continuously improve their work. Agile marketing is no different. By releasing new marketing programs or campaigns frequently, teams get to experiment and rapidly learn from their work.

3. Learning Through Experiments and Data Over Opinions and Conventions

As a result of delivering value early and often, marketing teams can collect data and make informed decisions more frequently in the marketing process. Further, letting this data guide the work is important. Within the creative execution of marketing, it’s common to have differences of opinion — this value ensures that teams will agree to follow the data as they make decisions.

4. Cross-Functional Collaboration Over Silos and Hierarchy

Great ideas can come from anywhere and individuals across an organization all have their own experiences and expertise. With Agile marketing’s focus on meeting the customer’s needs, all this expertise is important and valuable. Rather than slipping into a silo mentality, Agile marketing teams should break down hierarchical decision-making in order to tap into the expertise at all levels of the organization.

5. Responding to Change Over Following a Static Plan

As outlined in the original Agile manifesto, being able to quickly adapt to changing needs and markets is important to the success of the overall project. This means that marketing teams should focus more on long-term visions for their projects and be prepared to continually adjust the tactics and work in order to achieve that vision.

Why is Agile Marketing Important?

There are several key benefits of Agile marketing:

  1. Higher Productivity as teams are motivated by a shift toward more measurable, impactful work.
  2. Transparency that allows other teams and company leadership to see what marketing is working on.
  3. Improved Customer Satisfaction because of Agile marketing’s emphasis on prioritizing tasks that create meaningful value for the customer.
  4. Better Measurement and Accountability as marketing teams shift to more iterative work and make more frequent data-driven decisions.

Each of these benefits improves a marketing team’s relationship with other parts of the organization. They also help teams across the organization understand the priorities of the marketing team and value of marketing efforts for their customers. 

Already sold on Agile marketing? Learn how Gliffy can support Agile teams of all types in our on-demand webinar >>

How to Implement Agile Marketing Practices for Your Team

Sold on the benefits of Agile marketing and feeling good about those values? Shifting your team to Agile marketing will take a few months of learning and adjusting, but it’s worth the effort. Here are our recommendations for how to get started.

Selecting an Agile Marketing Framework

The most popular Agile frameworks for software developers are probably familiar buzzwords to marketing teams and project managers: scrum and kanban.

Scrum for Marketing Teams

This framework is the original method for Agile on software teams. Scrum emphasizes prioritization and transparency with four key Agile ceremonies or processes that guide the work: sprint planning, daily stand-ups or check-ins, sprint review, and retrospectives.

For marketing teams, sprints are typically two-to-four week segments of work. Marketing sprints create a valuable rhythm for collecting data, analyzing, and updating ongoing campaigns. This helps teams adhere to the iterative, data-driven values of Agile. 

By clearly documenting these ongoing processes with flowcharts or process flow diagrams, teams can better understand their work and make effective updates. To make your own diagrams, get started with a free trial of Gliffy Online >>

Kanban for Marketing Teams

Kanban is the newer project management framework that emphasizes visual collaboration. By visualizing all the processes carried out by the marketing team and clearly tracking the tasks associated with those processes, Kanban creates important clarity for teams to understand how much work is being done at once. With this information, they can prioritize appropriately.

Understanding those processes can be challenging, though. Using Gliffy is an easy way to create standard operating procedures and process flowcharts that can help clearly describe the work your team is responsible for. You can sign up for a free trial of Gliffy Online to start creating your own diagrams to help implement kanban for your team.

The Hybrid Approach: Scrumban

Some teams choose to implement elements of both Kanban and Scrum to complete their work. This hybrid structure is likely better for teams with some prior exposure to Agile and will look different for every team.

Assigning Key Roles to Your Agile Marketing Team

Both Scrum and Kanban require that teams reorganize how they work to be more collaborative and cross-functional. Managing this process is no small task, so a few roles are important to creating an agile team. 

First, Scrum Masters help the team adhere to their agile framework. They lead the meetings associated with each sprint and report on results and progress. This is kind of like an advanced project management role within teams who aren’t using Agile. 

Second, Team Leads are responsible for the people and relationships within the team and between the team and the broader organization. They need to communicate to executives and other leaders or stakeholders within the organization. For smaller teams, this role may be combined with the Scrum Master.

Align Your Team Around a Vision

At its core, Agile is a new way of working. Making sure members of your marketing team understand the values, expectations, and framework of Agile is key to getting buy-in and shifting how your team works. Some organizations will choose to hire an Agile coach to help manage the shift toward Agile work, but many teams can work their way through ambiguity and design a better way of working for themselves.

Regardless of your approach, just make sure that every member of your new Agile team feels supported. You’ll be able to start taking advantage of the benefits of Agile before you know it.

Use Gliffy to Support Your Agile Marketing Team

One of the challenges of implementing Agile for any team is capturing and clarifying all the existing processes your marketing organization is responsible for. To help visualize your work and improve communication and collaboration, be sure to sign up for a free trial of Gliffy Online or check out our Atlassian Apps.

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