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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, May 5, 2016 7 min read

Prioritization Of Inbound Marketing Tactics Gets Clearer With Scrum

Agile Methodology Shows What To Work On And When, If Results Are The Goal

Inbound Marketing And Agile MarketingOne of the major challenges associated with inbound marketing is moving away from what we call the delivery of “stuff” and toward the production of business results, or, in most cases, leads for our clients. This means changing a lot of the work processes associated with the traditional agency model and even some inbound agency models.

CEOs and VPs of marketing have been buying “stuff” from agencies for hundreds of years. They buy websites. They buy ads. They buy rankings on Google. They buy blog articles. This is all “stuff” they can touch and feel. Agencies are typically excellent at delivering “stuff.” It’s easy to track and understand the expectations.

Now inbound marketing is here, and “stuff” becomes irrelevant.

Now the actual performance of the marketing is what rules the day. This is the right thinking. As a business leader, you shouldn’t care what we do to generate leads, just that we generate them.

Agile Delivers True Agility

Now you take a team of dedicated inbound marketing pros, including designers, writers, interactives, marketers and business people, and you set them loose with one goal: getting leads for the business.

You don’t want them to be slaves to a scope of work created months ago. You don’t want them to be constrained by a 12-month plan that’s nine months old, and you don’t want them to be limited by what people with limited experience executing inbound think. You want them to analyze the data, collaborate on what the best action steps are, create a response plan and then take action. You want this to happen quickly and multiple times a month.

Agile marketing is the only way to achieve this optimization environment, which produces the best results within an inbound marketing program.

Prioritization Methodology Based On Outcomes

Instead of working off a checklist of deliverables or a statement of work, Scrum teaches our team to evaluate a client’s program performance every single week, as well as collect the package of work each month that’s going to deliver the results the client is looking for from us and their inbound marketing.

Because we’re working with a budget (yes, it's a fact that every inbound agency and internal inbound team is working within the constraints of a budget, whether you believe it or not), our teams sit down to look at the total point allocation and make prioritization decisions based on the total points available.

If you have 120 points to execute in a month, you want to focus on the tactics that produce the best results for the least amount of points. If this is what our tactic backlog looks like, here’s how we would suggest prioritizing the work.

  • Build two new pages for your website – 20 points
  • Optimize three existing landing pages on your website – 18 points
  • Write, build and send out two educational emails – 12 points
  • Write, build and post four blog articles – 12 points
  • Write, design and publish one new whitepaper – 20 points
  • Create lead nurturing emails for new whitepaper – 8 points
  • Redesign trade show booth graphics – 16 points
  • Post twice weekly to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – 8 points
  • Adjust the home page messaging and create A/B testing for two messages, pictures and offers – 16 points
  • Review monthly results and business outcomes – 4 points

Expected Results Drive The Decision

The expected results for the month are to drive website visitors from 2,000 to 2,400 (a 20% increase), improve the sitewide conversion rate from 1% to 1.2% (another 20% improvement) and increase leads from last month's 20 to 29 (a 45% improvement). Do you see how we tie the work to the specific business outcomes and results? This is a critical aspect of inbound marketing and Agile marketing.

The work outlined above adds up to 132 points, and our budget is 120 points. So, now we have a decision to make. Where do we cut 12 points from this month’s work package? The answer lies in the prioritization methodology within Scrum.

When you review all the work in this scope, you’re looking for one criteria, and one criteria only: Which of these tactics will have the least amount of impact on our business goals outlined above? When you apply that lens, two tactics surface:

  1. Adjust the home page messaging and create A/B testing for two messages, pictures and offers – 16 points
  2. Redesign trade show booth graphics – 16 points

While the booth graphics might be outdated, are they going to impact the number of inbound leads we generate? Maybe not. What about the homepage testing? Will that impact the leads generated? Definitely. So, in this case, the answer is clear: The booth graphics can wait for next month.

Of course, the programs represented here are just examples. Point totals and prioritization varies by client, but you get the idea. Scrum gives us the tools and system we need to constantly focus the energy of the team on the tactics that are the most relevant to generating the leads your company needs to hit its revenue goals.

Most traditional marketing wouldn’t even be close to replicating this type of internal conversation day in and day out. This is how Agile empowers inbound marketing to move even further away from the old-school, non-quantifiable tactics and toward the results-driven marketing that every CEO is desperate for in their company.

Start Today Tip – Moving to Agile and Scrum is challenging. It’s probably just as challenging as learning how to generate leads with inbound marketing. It’s also something that takes time to master, so your tip for today is to make sure you have the time, resources and expertise to learn Scrum before you start transitioning to it. I’d also advise that this step come second to mastering inbound. Trying to master both inbound marketing and Scrum is going to be double trouble and extremely challenging. Tackle one at a time for optimal results.

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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.