Transforming the way our business works through agile marketing

Apr 29, 2021
Agile Marketing Strategy

As organizations grow and evolve, most will undergo some form of business transformation. Generally, there are three top-of-mind considerations which strongly influence the way we organize ourselves today:

  1. A constant need to launch marketing initiatives faster in order to stay ahead of competition.
  2. A new generation of millennial employees who prefer less hierarchical and flatter leadership structures where they are heard and valued for their work.
  3. A high-pressure workplace with ever-increasing workloads. According to the 2019 Marketer Happiness survey, more than 73% of marketers believe constant disruptions and multi-tasking at work hinders personal effectiveness.

To address these areas, an organization can benefit by adopting the framework of agile marketing to improve go-to-market timelines.

In traditional marketing, the end-to-end process to launch a marketing program might take up to six months, given the different layers of reviews and approvals involved. With an agile marketing approach, it is an iterative and adaptive framework that allows some campaigns to be out to market within only a few weeks. The effectiveness of this approach delivers better and faster throughput of activities, lower reliance on mass campaigns, more innovation from inside-out ideas and a more cohesive team culture. It allows teams to be focused and prioritize work that is most important and impactful while keeping a backlog of ideas and upcoming activities.

Agile development has been around for over twenty years but only recently have more organizations adopted the agile marketing framework. Agile development focuses on the technical solution to a problem with a delivery of a product or feature, while relying on a very technical cross-functional team. Agile marketing focuses on driving business outcomes in a very autonomous way, empowering team members to make decisions within a framework. The composition of the cross-functional team differs from the agile development in that it consists of marketing, brand, pricing, sales, channels etc.

Having said that, it does however leverage many of the key principles of agile product development including:

  1. Be test driven. Try some concepts through A/B testing by having a target group vs a control group. It’s important to call out that you are immersed in data and analytics vs opinions and standard conventional assumptions.
  2. Take a customer centric approach rooted in data and insights.
  3. Be fast and fail fast. Embrace failure and learn from it so you don’t fail the same way twice.
  4. Be collaborative. Embrace a collaborative cross-functional interaction model over organization silos and hierarchy.
  5. Be efficient. Make decisions quickly instead of falling back on lengthy “business as usual” approval processes.
According to McKinsey, the key to success of an agile transformation requires the organization to move away from a top-down hierarchy (pyramid structure) to a more organism-like structure. An organism structure is one where all the teams have end-to-end accountability and are empowered to make decisions within a framework while executive leadership enables action and provides high-level direction. It is not easy and will take time to find the right dynamic. In our journey, the most important lesson is not only about doing agile but being agile. This unlocks 3X the value and develops a more collaborative and transparent culture.

To learn more about this topic, tune into the Marketing Connected LIVE session on Friday, May 14, where Analia Iapichino, Senior Director at Rogers, will chat with John Wiltshire, CMA’s President & CEO, about why more organizations are adopting the agile marketing framework and what best practices your organization should consider when pursuing an agile transformation.


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