Why Agile Marketing Isn’t Always The Best Strategy

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It seems every marketer aims to deliver agile marketing these days.

Admittedly, some of our team members have tried and failed at being agile marketers.

In order for you to avoid making the same agile marketing mistakes, here’s what we learned.


Why Agile Marketing Works

Because IT teams spend much of their time keeping up with the iterations of software (and hardware), they had to develop a simple way for team members to solve complex problems. Thus, “agile marketing” was born.

You may have heard of this referred to as, “scrum.” describes “scrum” as:

“Scrum is not a methodology. Scrum implements the scientific method of empiricism. Scrum replaces a programmed algorithmic approach with a heuristic one, with respect for people and self-organization to deal with unpredictability and solving complex problems. The below graphic represents Scrum in Action as described by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in their book Software in 30 Days taking us from planning through software delivery.  



Marketing departments that consider themselves agile are 3 times more likely to significantly grow market share, according to Marketer Gizmo.

Agile marketing is an all or nothing mindset, so don't expect it to work if you don't work it.Click To Tweet

Where We Went Wrong

One of ur team members went in with good intentions but failed miserably in the execution of her “sprint” or agile marketing mindset.

Her biggest mistake was not setting up an agile system, followed by documenting the method or disseminating this to the team. Agile marketing works when the whole system is followed.

While she set out to inform a client about the content that works best for engagement, she missed out on defining her entire plan.

The “sprint” needs 5 elements to work:

  1. A “scrum” master: This is just a really fancy way of saying the account manager, project manager, or project lead.
  2. Time-blocked sprints: A “sprint” is the amount of time you give your team to test or experiment with your marketing; usually somewhere between 2-6 weeks.
  3. Meetings: The project or account manager must meet with their team EVERY DAY (but only for about 10-15 minutes) to talk about what went well and what’s not going well. The issues or gaps the team finds should be addressed immediately.
  4. A system for tracking progress: Your team can do this the good old fashioned way, like with a whiteboard, but since we’re a remote team, we use Basecamp. Another online alternative is Trello.
  5. Teamwork makes the dream work: While the account or project manager may be the “lead” on the sprint or test, it takes a village to executive marketing experiments — especially with ours, which dealt with content. Collaboration and communication are key for becoming an agile marketing team.

Unfortunately, our team member stopped at #1. She tried to lead and execute on her own, and didn’t stick to a system to get the experiment done.

Your agile sprint will barely be a crawl if you don't follow the scrum method.Click To Tweet

Where We’ve Gone Right

While this particular sprint or project was executed poorly, we have managed to have success with a few agile marketing initiatives!

A couple major wins for us include when it comes to content marketing for our clients include:

  1. Using weekly seesaw reporting to better understand which content is performing best for clients
  2. Utilizing Sprout Social’s tagging feature to look at which messaging works best among certain audiences (and to track specific campaigns)

Due to our defined process and committed team members, we know we can get agile marketing right.

Agile Marketing Doesn’t Always Work

There are a number of things you need to create an agile marketing team, for instance:

  • A clear goal
  • Dedicated team members
  • Data and analytics to prove or disprove your goal
  • Technology (for capturing data and for tracking progress)
  • A (short) timeframe in which to measure your results

If any one of those things is missing from your arsenal, it’s unlikely you’ll successfully pull off any sort of agile marketing.

But, the biggest thing you need is a group of dedicated people who are committed to getting the sprint done with efficiency and speed. AND, they must be talented enough to develop (and stick to) a system.

If you don’t, it’s best to leave agile marketing on the backburner for a while.

Just because it’s the shiny object of the moment doesn’t mean you have to create an agile marketing strategy. 😉

Have you tried agile marketing? How has it worked for you and your team? Let us know in the comments section below!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Digital Marketing, Marketing
Tags: agile marketing, agile marketing strategy, agile marketing team, marketing experimentation
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