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How-To Guide - Agile Marketing


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This How-To Guide defines why Agile Marketing is important and outlines its key principles and identifies and action plan for getting started.

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How-To Guide - Agile Marketing

  1. 1. How-To GuideAgile MarketingExecutive SummaryWhen you hear the word agile, you probably think about agility, which refers to a system’sability to change by adapting to its new environment. Similarly, agile movements are quick,light and easy. When we speak in terms of marketing, Agile Marketing is a method forplanning and executing a marketing plan borrowed from the world of softwaredevelopment.Instead of long, “waterfall” methods of development that too often results in delayed orout-of-date products launching later than planned, the agile method follows a simpleprocess of build, measure, and learn. Agile Marketing, then, is the application of thesemethods to marketing. Marketers all over the world are adopting this method to theextent that 2013 has been dubbed “the year of Agile Marketing.”This How-To Guide defines why Agile Marketing is important and outlines its key principlesand identifies and action plan for getting started.Why it’s importantWhile Agile Marketing is relatively new, it’s projected to make a big impact on themarketing landscape in 2013. To understand why, consider some of the differencesbetween Agile Marketing over the traditional waterfall method:  Responding to change as it occurs instead of sticking to the plan.  Testing of products and using data instead of following opinions. © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. How-To Guide  Collaboration with employees instead of silos of hierarchy and upper management.  Several small testing phases over one large plan.  Engagement with employees instead of posting a plan set in stone to be followed.The waterfall method refers to traditional marketing plans that involve a fixed sequence ofstages throughout the project lifecycle. You would not move to the next section, let’s sayproduct design, until you had completed the previous section, in this case, research. Themarketing plan was oriented vertically with a series of cascading steps, hence the waterfallassociation. The problem with this method is that it does not account well for project orplan delays, which are far too common. Once a section of work is complete in a waterfallplan, there is no return - or no climbing back up the waterfall.Agile Marketing improves marketing by enabling what the waterfall method never could –completing work in smaller chunks and adapting quickly and effectively to change.Through a system of checks and balances, Agile Marketing lets you evaluate your projectswhile they are works in progress. When something isn’t working, you’ll know it sooner, intime to try a new approach. This lets you make decisions more quickly about when it’stime to abandon part of the plan altogether. The value of this approach is flexibility. Youcannot predict with 100% accuracy the market or how well your plan addresses its needs,but with Agile Marketing you can quickly adapt your plan as necessary, allowing you toachieve better marketing results. © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  3. 3. How-To GuideHow it’s being usedMost marketing departments operate on a rigid set of scheduled timelines. There areusually annual targets and quarterly targets, but these targets are often unclear and don’tleave room to adjust to market changes.This is where Agile Marketing comes into play. Rather than having your team operate inlarge, time consuming “sprints”, it is much more efficient to work in shorter and moredefined sprints, such as monthly. This allows your team to touch base consistently aboutwhere they are in their timeline and what is going on with the work they own. It doesn’tmean that you throw out your annual plan, it just means you work on smaller monthlygoals that will all add up to your annual objective. In order to achieve the best results, it isimportant that everyone on your team have an equal opportunity to contribute. It’s time toabandon the silo and get everyone working together, whether a junior employee orregional manager. Employees at all levels and in all departments can bring somethingunique to your plan – the Agile Marketing approach gets everyone involved in creatingand successfully executing your marketing plan.Most businesses using Agile Marketing have adopted the scrum technique: a cross-functional team, consisting of six to ten people. The idea here is simple: each scrum has aproject deliverable (the user story) and works in sprints. The scrum meets frequently(stand-up) with the other groups to discuss your progress and get feedback, thusimproving future sprints and project deliverables. At the end of each sprint, there is areview. Here you will determine if your goal was met and discuss possible improvementsfor the next sprint, and then the cycle repeats. Each sprint builds upon the last to achievesuccess in your overall plan; however, breaking each project down into smaller pieces willmake your marketing plan much more manageable. © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  4. 4. How-To GuideAgile Marketing Action PlanWhile the concept of Agile Marketing has been around for over a decade, it’s only nowbecoming mainstream. Here is an action plan that will help you get started with AgileMarketing: 1. Assemble a Scrum: Build a cross-functional team, consisting of six to ten people. 2. Select a Deliverable: Define a task/user story - unit of work with expectations for a specific set of results. 3. Identify Story Points: The effort required to complete a task or user story. 4. Determine the Sprint: A period of time allocated to complete a unit of work, ranging from a few days to a few months. A Sprint represents a commitment to complete the work in the allotted time. 5. Schedule Standups: A frequent meeting (daily or 2-3 times weekly) of all project members where each responds to three questions:  What did you do yesterday?  What will you do today?  What barriers are you encountering? 6. Review & Refine: Conduct a review at the end of each sprint and document lessons learned. © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. How-To GuideBottom LineAgile Marketing is the future of marketing. The success of your business ultimatelydepends on your ability to plan and execute well. Traditional marketing plans, based onthe waterfall concept, take a long time to create, have notoriously short shelf lives and donot adapt well to rapidly changing marketing conditions. Agile Marketing overcomes theselimitations and helps the organizations that use this method function as a nimblecompetitor. © 2013 Demand Metric Research Corporation. All Rights Reserved.