(This is the first post in a series about Scaled Agile Marketing – the practice of using agile at scale in a Marketing context)
Introduction to the Scaled Agile Marketing Series
More and more Marketing organizations are realizing they need to be faster, more flexible/responsive and more collaborative in order to have a real impact on the business they’re supporting. More and more CMOs are looking at Agile Marketing as the way to modernize their organization.
Inspired by Agile Development, Agile Marketing describes a mindset of continuous learning and validation, customer focused collaboration across functional silos, adaptive and iterative campaigns and more responsive/continuous planning. Similar to development organizations, Agile Marketing teams use techniques such as Scrum to work in an iterative cadence and Kanban to visualize and improve the flow of work.
Most of the agile values, principles, and practices map pretty well to the world of Marketers. Modifications to the language and choice of practices are needed. Agile Marketing has been growing in popularity in recent years. Larger and larger organizations are now trying to apply Agile Marketing and are looking for a scalable approach.
This is where this series of articles comes into play. For medium/large marketing organizations looking to improve their agility we will explore:
- Why they’re looking to improve their agility (This post)
- When do marketing leaders seriously look into agile marketing
- What IS Agile Marketing
- Why and when does it make sense to apply a scaled agile marketing approach
- What it means to use SAFe for implementing Agile Marketing at scale.
- How to go about implementing SAFe in a Marketing organization
- What are some key challenges and emerging solutions for scaling agile marketing with SAFe
- How Agile Marketing fits into real enterprise agility at scale as part of the “Digital Customer Experience Transformation”
Why Agile Marketing
Today, we start with why more and more marketing organizations are looking to improve their agility. This is an important topic. Making any sort of change is non-trivial. Implementing Agile Marketing, especially at scale, is hard. There should be a real need for it. These are some common change drivers we hear from Marketing leaders (more at “State of Agile Marketing” by Andrea Fryrear):
- Ensuring that your marketing organization is agile and responsive – the pace of customer needs, partner demands and requests from other parts of the organization is unrelenting and ever changing. How do you prioritize and execute on the most immediate needs while finding time for longer-term strategic initiatives?
- Creating a culture of data-driven decision making and validated learning – the hunch driven world of Don Draper is dead (if it ever existed). You’re expected to make marketing decisions based on data and validated learning. Easier said than done.
- Delivering customer value when the solution cuts across organizational boundaries – You know what it takes to dominate your market, but creating the solution requires cooperation across marketing, product development, finance, sales and operations. And not only collaboration with your peers, but all the way down and across the organization. How do you deliver these kind of cross-functional solutions quickly?
- Understanding, deploying and integrating marketing technology – According to Scott Brinker’s latest Marketing Technology Supergraphic, there are now over 6500 marketing technology solutions. How do you select the right ones, manage the vendors and integrate them?
- Working at the pace of the Technology organization – As their technology/development organizations adopt more and more of the Lean/Agile/DevOps practices, marketers feel overwhelmed by the pace of delivery and change and look for ways to better align to a Lean/Agile technology/product organization.
- Doing all of the above in a predictable and sustainable way – And last, but not least, how do you do all of the above without resorting to “hero mode”? In Hero mode, people work long hours, burn out and delivery is neither predictable nor sustainable.
Do some of those resonate with your current challenges or objectives?
If so, stay tuned for the next article in the series where we’ll explore some reasons you might need scaled agile marketing.