An agile approach to marketing can help your company collaborate quickly and forge ahead in a changing market. However, if your team is comprised of individual contributors working on independent projects and goals, an agile approach might not be a good fit for you. Instead, this workflow is best suited for teams with different members who contribute toward a unified goal that can be time-boxed and measured. With this in mind, it's important to note that it's never a good idea to change how your department functions just because you heard that an approach worked well for someone else.
Instead, take some time to evaluate your staff, its deliverables, and your organization's goals to determine whether agile digital marketing is right for you. Here are six questions to ask yourself as you make the decision:
1. Is your current marketing workflow failing your team? If so, how?
Before you roll out any departmental change, your team members need to be open to the shift. If they don't believe there is a better method to complete projects, you will have a hard time shifting their workflow to an agile approach. To prepare for this conversation, identify specific areas that need improvement, and be ready to explain how agile marketing can solve those problems.
If you are also struggling to defend a total revamp of your workflow, think smaller. Sometimes it's best to stick with what works. Rather than overhaul your process, you might need to make a few tweaks to get better results from your team. Agile digital marketing is compatible only if the entire team buys into the process, so if there are a few stragglers who oppose the idea and won't budge, it's time to find a different method.
2. What are the most significant pain points that prevent your team from completing work?
If your pain points focus on issues tied to collaboration, deadlines, communication, or resources, then moving to an agile approach would be beneficial. An agile workflow can help your department become more accountable and collaborative within time-based constraints.
However, if uncontrollable sign-offs from your legal team or constant stagnation in development queues prevent your marketing team from completing work, an agile workflow might not be possible. Such roadblocks need to be ironed out before taking an agile route.
3. How often do team members collaborate on projects?
According to research from McKinsey & Co., better communication and collaboration has been known to increase a team's productivity by 25 percent. Therefore, agile digital marketing can improve teamwork by empowering your staff to take more ownership of its work, commit to trackable goals, and streamline communication. As a result, better communication can help you identify and mitigate blockers, enable rapid course corrections when things don't go as planned, and assist with the reallocation of resources as priorities shift.
If your team works in a more siloed state, however, agile digital marketing is not right for you. An agile workflow is the most applicable to team members who partner on projects to achieve common goals. While individual contributors might be able to adopt elements of an agile workflow, a waterfall approach is usually better for more isolated workgroups.
4. Can you commit to completing work in a set amount of time?
An agile digital marketing approach is the most successful if your team can complete work in one-to two-week increments. Longer projects fall short when paired with an agile approach due to its nature of moving fast, testing new ideas, and iterating on the results in one sweep.
Additionally, an agile workflow might not be right for you if you can't incrementally break down projects into smaller tasks or if many of the projects you commit to are never really "done."
5. Can your team self-organize?
People who are eager to take ownership and see results will benefit significantly from an agile approach. Agile digital marketing requires that your team be able to self-organize. If your team members operate with a top-down mentality or need a lot of guidance before they can begin work, they might struggle with autonomy and fare better with a different organizational structure.
6. How often do you run tests to optimize performance?
At the core of agile digital marketing is the ability to sense and respond to a changing market. In other words, you're working in a state in which you are continually testing ideas and uncovering opportunities for optimization. If forming and testing hypotheses are in your team's DNA, an agile workflow will be a great fit.
Now, if you lack the tools, time, or resources to test your marketing initiatives, you could find an agile approach to be more of a challenge than a solution. For teams that are limited in this regard, a better next step is to evaluate your current workflow and create space to begin testing, even on a small scale like in your social media posts.
After asking yourself the above questions, don't fret if you realize your team isn't ready for agile digital marketing adoption. There are still ways to borrow from the process.
First, create a work culture that encourages self-reflection. Ask yourself and team members questions such as "Is this working? Why or why not?" and "How can I improve my process for the next iteration?"
Next, encourage constant communication among your team members. Successful agile teams meet regularly for 15-minute standups, find ways to update one another more frequently, and uncover avenues to better collaborate.
Finally, focus on breaking large projects into smaller tasks. Your team members will feel more fulfilled if they can show progress in their work. When you create more opportunities to get to “done” faster, chances are that company morale will significantly improve.
Ready to apply agile digital marketing strategies and techniques? Reach out to our expert team at Pantheon. We work with digital marketing teams to empower them to move quickly, innovate faster, and deliver results.
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