The Need For An Agile Marketing Transformation
Marketers or junior marketing leaders can implement Agile Marketing at the team level bottom up or in islands in the organization. This approach can achieve some improvement but typically stalls at some point.
Real marketing agility requires a transformative change in processes, policies, mindset, and maybe even the type of leaders. This is a bigger lift obviously.
While most of the marketing organizations we see score pretty high on the “do they need Agile Marketing?” scale, Only some of them would agree that that’s indeed what they need, and even a smaller set goes and does something about it.
While many marketing leaders agree with Agile Marketing at the concept level, They need a strong trigger before they take action on it. (To use “customer journey” language – most marketing leaders aren’t even in the awareness stage, but even those that are, need a trigger to move towards acquisition and activation…)
So let’s look at a couple of common triggers that stand a chance to flip a marketing leader across the tipping point:
New Marketing Leadership
One very common trigger for any 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 the competency of the marketing organization or a desire to modernize how marketing works.
Poor marketing campaign results or dissatisfaction from business leaders are a common reason marketing leadership gets replaced 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 marketing 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.
Marketing wants to be able to close a fast learning loop and run mini “innovation labs” as part of the wider marketing organization not just the “cool kids” in the corporate innovation lab.
We Tried Agile and Failed
Many people try Agile Marketing in the small by mapping directly from the Agile Development. They send a few individuals to 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
That 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, and 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 to 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.