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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, Mar 1, 2018 10 min read

Agile Marketing Is NOT About Speed; It’s About Knowing What To Do Next

Agile Marketing

Revenue Generation Is Complicated, But Agile Helps You Get Their Faster

Agile MarketingMost of the marketing teams I’ve worked with prior to starting Square 2 Marketing were in a constant state of chaos. It might have been organized chaos, but it was chaos nonetheless. Multiple campaigns, multiple priorities, multiple opinions, multiple directions from multiple people and everyone thought they were a marketing expert. Sound familiar?

You’ll find few microwavable marketing tactics that instantly produce results. Most of the tactics take time to gain traction. Today, people need to see your stuff between seven and 12 times before it registers. People are distracted and have a short attention span. For your message, content and tactics to cut through the clutter, they need to be excellent. The only way you get to excellent is with solid thinking, planning, strategy and creativity.

How do you manage the chaos? How do you ensure your marketing gets executed in a thoughtful, directed and results-oriented manner? The answer is Agile!

Here is what running Agile marketing with all our clients for over two years has taught us about getting clients results.

The Teams Take Ownership

You have six or seven tasks to get down, six or seven campaigns to plan and six or seven concurrent programs to work on. Sound familiar? How do you know how long its going to take to get them done? How do you make commitments to sales, the CEO or the board? Historically, you’d do your best based on past experiences to guess at how long its going to take, make commitments and then push your team to deliver. But thats the wrong approach.

This results in unhappy team members, missed timelines, poor deliverables (because you rushed) and not enough strategic thinking to drive real results. Agile puts the onus on the team. They do the estimating, they tell you what’s doable and then they’re accountable for delivery. If they commit, they should deliver, right?

They do know the most about the program, project, campaign or tasks in question. They do know all the other stuff they’re working on, so why not give them the power to estimate and ask questions about the work? It works wonderfully and provides a dramatic lift in how the people doing the work feel about their job, you and your company.

The Priorities Are Co-Created

Agile MarketingAs the CMO, CEO or even the head of marketing working with your agency, you can always simply dictate to your team what you want done. But this isn’t the best way to get the most dramatic results. The best way is to work collaboratively and co-create the priorities with the people responsible for delivering them.

Now you have buy-in and an understanding of what has to get done first and what might not get done. This gives you the ability to move work around based on the constant shifting of priorities that makes up business today.

This also forces you to make difficult decisions. What are the most important projects this month? What are you willing to wait for until next month? What do you want done first, second or third? Sounds great, but you also need a prioritization methodology. How do you decide what’s at the top of the list or what misses the list?

Start with what’s going to have the biggest impact and take the least amount of time. This guarantees that you’re moving the needle every month. This also allows you to get as much high-impact work in as possible. Plus, it helps you break up bigger projects into smaller pieces, which helps move campaigns forward with realistic timelines.

Changing Priorities Have A Methodology

I mentioned it briefly above, but we know that baked into the chaos of marketing is a lot of shifting sand, changing direction and conflicting priorities. This causes confusion, wasted effort, and starts and stops. But the biggest impact is it delays results – dramatically.

Every time someone above you changes their mind and that influences what you’re working on, you might have to start again. This could be months of work. I’ve seen it over and over again. Most of the time, the people changing their mind are unaware of its impact on marketing, and sometimes they simply don’t care.

Those changes drive your prioritization conversations, and with a methodology behind you, your team has productive conversations about how to quickly pivot, take advantage of any work already in progress and create a go-forward plan that is more efficient and more effective at producing results in the short term.

Budgets Are Always Front And Center

Budgets are always an issue. You could do more if you had more resources or a bigger budget, of course. But in most cases, you have to operate within the budget you have right now. Using Agile allows you to work with that budget in mind, but as a guide rather than a limiter.

Once you start getting the biggest impact work in first, you’ll see better results from the work you’re doing. If you focus on the big project first, you might not see results. In fact, your team might never get to the easy-to-implement optimization technique that doubles conversion rates on a high-trafficked page because they were working on the big website relaunch for three months.

Results Rule The Day

Agile MarketingMost of the time, it’s the person with the loudest voice and most prominent title who decides the agenda, priorities and what gets worked on. If your CEO wants it, you do it. But the world is changing. Today, so much data is available that almost every marketing and sales-related decision should be made based on data and not opinions, perspectives or attitudes.

If you set up your program correctly, you’ll have monthly marketing and sales goals, objectives and KPIs you’re working toward. What do you work on? What drives you closer to the agreed-on quantitative goals? When you plan, strategize and execute with a data-driven plan in place, making decisions get simpler, prioritizing becomes easier and everyone knows exactly what you’re going for, what you’re doing and why. It brings the chaos down from crazy to manageable in no time.

It’s unlikely that all the chaos is going to dissipate anytime soon, so the key is to find a way to manage and control the chaos. You should see at least a little light at the end of the tunnel by applying Agile in your company. Over-commitment stops, priorities are a topic of constant discussion, moving work and tactics around based on priorities becomes a skill and reviewing the impact on results after priorities are reset is now a regular occurrence.

If you’re considering moving to Agile, move forward with realistic expectations. It’s unlikely that your marketing team is going to embrace all aspects of Agile instantly. As with any change, you should expect some resistance. Teaching people new processes, rituals and systems takes time. Be patient, be committed and before you know it, you’ll look back at how you used to work and you’ll wonder, “What were we thinking?

Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned With Experience, Methodology And Insights!


Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.