In Agile Marketing, Scaling Agile

Scaled Agile Marketing – Needed on an Agile Marketing transformation

In our first post in the series about Scaled Agile Marketing we looked at whether you even need Agile Marketing. In this post we talk about the typical triggers that cause marketing leaders to take a serious look at Agile Marketing. 

Scaled Agile Marketing is typically needed as part of a real Agile Marketing transformation – an attempt to achieve a significant change in how marketing is operating. Agile Marketing at the team level is something that can happen bottoms up or in islands in the organization. The point where scaling is needed is typically when marketing leadership decided they need a serious transformation across the marketing organization or at least big swaths of it.

While most of the marketing organizations we see score pretty high on the “do you need Agile Marketing?” scale, Only a few of them then go and do something about it. While many of them agree with Agile Marketing at the concept level, They really need a strong trigger before they take action on it.

So let’s look at a couple of common triggers for a serious Agile Marketing transformation at scale.

New Marketing Leadership

One very common trigger for any sort of change is when new leadership comes in and takes a fresh look at things. Agile Marketing might come about as a result of concerns about competency of the marketing organization or a desire to modernize how things are being done. Poor marketing campaigns results or dissatisfaction from business leaders is a common reason marketing leadership gets replaces in the first place. The new leader coming in hears things like “We don’t know what the marketing organization has been wasting its time on” or “They don’t speak our language, confuse us with their own metrics we don’t care about”. 

Another situation is when a new marketing leader is brought in to help scale the marketing organization and realizes that the current structure/process is unscalable, bottlenecked, slow, and reliant on a few “heroes”.

Innovation / Customer Experience

As marketing leaders take on more and more responsibility for the whole customer experience and specifically the whole digital experience, they realize their current slow/siloed approaches are unfit for the pace of innovation and learning needed to “nail” the right customer experience. Being able to close a fast learning loop and run mini “innovation labs” as part of more and more of the marketing organization not just the “cool kids” in the corporate innovation lab is a typical requirement we hear about.

We Tried Agile and Failed

Many people try Agile Marketing in the small by mapping directly from the Agile Development. They send a few people to classic agile training (e.g. a Scrum Master class) or ask some coaches from the development side to help them out. Then a few weeks/months later they’re so confused and struggling that they either throw it away (Which is a shame but isn’t a trigger for a real agile transformation…) or they realize they need to look the things in a deeper more holistic and pragmatic manner. 

Need to Scale Agile beyond a few small experiments

Similar to trying and failing, but these organizations tried some small agile experiments and understand they need to look at it differently now that they want to scale it further.

Drowning in work

This is especially popular with middle managers that are trying to make ends meet with more and more workload and the same (or in some cases even fewer) people.

Alignment with the Development/IT/Technology side of the house

As Dev/IT/Technology organizations move to Agile/DevOps approaches, Many marketing leaders feel the need to align their language, process, cadence with the way their peers are working and talking. 

Revamping the Marketing Technology Stack

As marketing organizations try to build a modernized marketing technology stack many of them are realizing that they need an effective adaptive process to help deal with these complex projects. Since much of a marketing technology stack improvement project includes technology/development work it makes sense to everyone to use an agile approach for it. This then cuts across to some of the marketing-style work that is associated with the new technology stack, which in many cases brings about a wider discussion about an agile operating system for marketing.

Implementing a new marketing approach – e.g. Social Selling, Content Marketing, Account Based Everything

Trying a new approach to marketing involves a lot of uncertainty and complexity and collaboration across silos. Smart marketing leaders connect the dots and realize Agile Marketing is the right approach for figuring out how to effectively do Content Marketing, Social Selling, Account Based Everything, or whatever new thing you’re trying.


Now that we understand the benefits of Agile Marketing as well as the typical timing marketing leaders look at this, we’re ready for the next post where we will talk about whether you actually need to scale when you move towards Agile Marketing. 

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