The Rudder Group Lean Marketing Methodology


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The Rudder Group Lean Marketing Methodology

  1. 1. The Rudder Group Growth Strategies & Mentor CapitalLean Marketing:How to Run Marketing Like a StartupMany companies, especiallymarketing teams, are stuck in a reactive or waterfall processof planning, writing, designing, approving, and launching projects that take twice as longas it should -- or worse -- never get completed.The Lean Startup Methodology Applied to MarketingThe Lean Startupwas not developed with marketing in mind. It was pioneered byentrepreneur and author Eric Ries and relates to product development at startups. TheLean Startup methodology centers around iterative shortened product releases andscientific experimentation.How does it relate to marketing? Originally, it didnt. Erics book, was meant for productdevelopment teams. It has inspired multiple successful startups, including Dropbox andIntuit, and HubSpot. Hubspot’s adoption didnt stop there -- their marketing teamwatched this methodology in action on their product development team and recognizedthe impact it could have on their marketing results. “What if marketing could move justas quickly, get just as many results, and stay just as focused”? So they started to applythis same methodology to their marketing team to move faster and smarter.(Hubspot’sapplication of the Lean Startup methodology to so many different parts of their businesscaught Eric Ries attention, resulting inEric Reis joining their advisory board.)Why Is Lean Marketing So Powerful?1. Move Fast The Lean Startup methodology is built around short, iterative product release cycles (AKA sprints). Or, in marketing, you might call them project cycles or simply marketing cycles. Marketing cycles are usually 2-week and 1-month cycles (shorter is typically better). Short iterative cycles allowsmarketing to adapt quickly to changing marketing conditions. Say, for example, a competitor launches a new product; a Lean Marketing team will quickly change their projects for next month to come back with a strong campaign. 1
  2. 2. The Rudder Group Growth Strategies & Mentor CapitalCase Study: Pinterest for BusinessA year ago, B2B marketing teams were not paying attention to Pinterest, although theyhad been around for years. Because of the rapid increase in consumer popularity,business marketers were trying to figure out how (and if) this social network couldactually be leveraged in their business marketing strategy. HubSpots lean marketingteam got together and realized that this was a hot topic they needed to jump on. In amatter of 4 days, they published and launchedHow to Use Pinterest for Business ebook.The campaign included the ebook, a few blog articles, and a few email sends, and in thefirst month alone, the ebook generated 40,000 downloads. To date (less than a yearlater), it has amassed over 125,000 downloads.2. Stay Focused There is never a shortage of good ideas and requests for more marketing activities. Marketing, probably more than any other department, gets pulled in lots of different directions and take on most of those ideas and suggestions. But lean marketing helps marketing to stay focused. At the beginning of each sprint, marketing will choose the projects -- the only projects -- that theyll work on during that given sprint. Everything else remains in a prioritized backlog. Get a good marketing request from your CEO mid-sprint? Great -- add it to the backlog.3. Prioritize Prioritization is a key part of making sure the marketing team is focusing on the right projects. In the Lean Startup methodology, every project has a clear and distinct goal, success metric, evaluation of effort required (measuring the relative size of project), and a forced priority -- all of which are transparent to the company. When the the CEO asks why marketing is not working on his suggested project, inform him that marketing is working on projects A, B, and C. and then ask him if his project is more important? Requiring the CEO to make a choice enables marketing to stay focused, prioritize the projects, and deliver the project on time.4. Tackle Projects With Foresight The structure of the Lean Startup methodology forces organizations to face blockers head-on and plan ahead as much as possible. A daily "standup" (a regular meeting where attendees stand for the whole meeting in order to keep it short) allows each team member to discuss what theyre working on and if there are any blockers. A daily "burndown" (a chart that shows the amount of work left to be completed in the sprint, compared to the current goal) shows how the team is progressing toward completing all their projects. Together, these allow you to tackle issues and stay on track to accomplish all the goals you committed to. 2
  3. 3. The Rudder Group Growth Strategies & Mentor Capital Eight Principles of Lean Marketing - How to Run Marketing Like a Startup -1. Organize Around the Sprint Many of the terms used to describe the Lean methodology come from the world of sports -- to relate to the quickness and team-oriented focus of this methodology. "Scrum" (a rugby term that describes how the team huddles together to move a ball across the field) is used to describe the small, focused team that goes through iterative "sprints" (in sports, a short, quick run). To organize a sprint, pick the top projects from the marketing backlog, and specifically focus on projects that can be completed in the timeframe of a single sprint. That doesnt mean sacrifice big projects -- just break them down into bite-sized pieces. That keeps marketing incrementally moving forward toward accomplishing the ultimate goal.2. Structure The Scrum Team(s) The scrum team consists of a product owner (PO) and its team members. The PO is responsible for maintaining the marketing backlog and making sure each project has all the necessary pieces (goal, tasks, etc.) and meets the interests of the stakeholders (customers, sales team, CEO, etc.). In a marketing team, this could be the marketing manager. The team itself is self-managing and self-organizing to make sure it is accomplishing its goals. Every project should be able to be accomplished by just the people on the team with little to no involvement required from others, because any outside dependencies may seriously block progress.3. Keep a Backlog A backlog helps marketing to keep their projects in a single place with priority in mind. It makes sprint planning easier and gives marketing or the PO a place to send others to submit their ideas for future marketing projects. This doesnt have to be anything fancy -- at HubSpot, they use a combination of their internal wiki and Google Docs to keep track of their backlogs.4. Create User Stories A user story (as its called on the product development side) describes an individual project that will be worked on in a given sprint. Its called a user story because its phrased from the perspective of the user (or, stakeholder). For a marketing team, that user could be prospects, or it could be the sales team. For example, "As a 3
  4. 4. The Rudder Group Growth Strategies & Mentor Capital HubSpot salesperson, I need a way to prioritize my leads so that I can connect with those who are most likely to buy." This outlines who the project is meant to help (a salesperson), what the goal of the project is (to prioritize leads), and why its important (so they can connect with the best leads). The user story should also define success criteria/metrics (e.g. a new lead scoring system rolled out to the whole sales team) that must be met in order to consider the project complete.5. Plan a Sprint Planning a sprint involves looking at the top priority projects in the marketing backlog, approximating the effort required for each, and calculating how much can fit into the upcoming sprint. In traditional lean startups, this is known as "planning poker," which is the process of discussing each project and having each team member pick a card that represents the approximate effort. Planning poker cards have numbers from 0 to 100 only in the Fibonacci (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55…) sequence. These non-linear options remove any minute arguments about if project ABC is worth 6 points or 7. Instead, the more easily round down to 5 or round up to 8. These points, too, are only for measuring the relative size of different projects (e.g. an "8" project for me is different from an "8" project for a different team). Then, over time, the marketing team (or team leader) will learn that each sprint can take on 20, 30, or 50 points.6. Commit Publicly The transparency of the scrum process is key to keeping people accountable. At the start of a sprint, each team must commit publicly to other teams or even the whole company what projects they will accomplish during that sprint. Then, at the end of the sprint, the team comes back to show the product of their work and report on what they accomplished and what they did not. That public commitment keeps teams accountable and honest to accomplish what they say they will. By applying this approach to marketing, the team will receive the same recognition.7. Commit to a Daily Standup Throughout the sprint, its important to meet daily (or every other day) for a lightweight progress checkin. In the daily standup meeting, each marketing team member shares what they did yesterday, what theyre working on today, and what blockers (if any) they have. The daily standup also helps team members to collaborate on projects and share lessons learned and ideas with one another.When the HubSpot marketing team first adopted the scrum process, they reported that this was the piece that made each team member feel accountable for accomplishing something every single day, maintaining their momentum. 4
  5. 5. The Rudder Group Growth Strategies & Mentor Capital8. Set Up Daily Reports The sprint burndown chart is a daily marketing progress chart for each sprint that shows how many tasks are left to complete. Tracked against a daily goal, this allows the marketing team to see if theyre on pace to complete all of their projects by the end of the sprint. Heres an example of a real burndown chart from HubSpots marketing team:Lean Marketing WinsWhile not originally envisioned for marketing teams, the Lean Startup methodology is apowerful means to making marketing more agile and effective. They can publish morecontent, jump on trends, make quick, data-driven decisions, and constantly learn how toimprove their marketing efforts.Want to learn more about the Lean Startup? Check out Eric Ries bestselling book, TheLean Startup, or his blog, to learn more about Hubspot? Check out their website at www.hubspot.comAbout The Rudder GroupThe Rudder Groupis a Strategic Consulting Firm that provides growth strategies andmentor capital to early and mid-stage technology companies, financial advisors, venturecapitalist, and private equity firms.The Rudder Group team is a distinguished network of experienced partners with aproven success record. We have founded companies; been responsible for growing 5
  6. 6. The Rudder Group Growth Strategies & Mentor Capitalrevenues; secured multiple rounds of financing; taken companies public; and, been onboth the buy and sell side of M&A activity.How TRG HelpsThe Rudder Group extends your management team by providing a strategic and tacticalapproach to operational, business and executive related matters... • Secure Capital & Work with VCs • Develop New Routes to Market • Globalize Solutions • Accelerate Growth & Revenue Plan • Implement Social Marketing StrategiesTRG Marketing & Lead Generation ServicesThe best way to accelerate growth is to create a constant stream of demand and adynamic sales pipeline for your solution and services. The Rudder Group has anextensive network of marketing professionals that are ready to advise you, create andexecute marketing plans, or step in as an interim Marketing Chief in times of transitionor start-up.The Rudder Group assists technology clients with developing, implementing, andachieving their go-to-market strategy. We assist on a project basis or on a specificcampaign. Some of the ways The Rudder Group can be of assistance are: • Positioning, Branding and Messaging • Integrated Marketing Plans • Product Launch • Product Marketing & Positioning • Demand & Lead Generation Programs • Social Media & Audience Development • Website Development & Content Creation • Trade Shows & Conferences • Collateral & Sales Tool Development • Webinars, Podcasts & Bloggers • Public Relations • Channel Development 6