GUEST: Andrea Fryrear, Co-Founder of AgileSherpas
When you’re doing a puzzle, do you just pick up any random piece and start looking for one it fits with?
Obviously not. Everyone knows you start with the corners! Prioritizing them makes the rest easy.
If it’s so obvious, though, why do so many marketing strategies seem to run through all the random pieces until the picture matches the box?
Because they aren’t agile.
Agility is all about focusing on the most important goals and adapting — the corners, the edges, the whole picture.
I sat down with Andrea Fryrear, Author of “Death of a Marketer” and Co-Founder of AgileSherpas, who provide training in agile marketing strategies, to find out how to best approach incorporating agility into your marketing team.
Andrea went over:
- The definition of agile marketing
- How to approach a pilot program
- Who benefits from agility
Andrea’s knowledge and expertise on agility give a complete picture of how to leverage agility in your marketing strategy.
When it comes to agile marketing, I’m confident she’ll make the pieces fit for you as well as she did for me.
What is agile marketing?
Agile marketing is a rigorous application of an agile framework in order to execute your goals more effectively. Agile, in this case, means the ability to adapt your focus to deliver the most value to your end-user or customer.
While there are several frameworks for achieving this, what they all have in common is this laser-focused approach to prioritizing what matters most.
“Agile frameworks are a method of creating focus on the right work at the right time.”
Rather than designing a massive marketing program at the beginning of the year and then evaluating the results the next year (or even further down the road), agile marketing addresses and evaluates the most valuable tasks methodically and continuously.
In practice, agility on a marketing team is distinguished by its approach to its prioritized to-do lists. Instead of just running down the list, an agile marketing team is going to use its backlog as its engine for what to focus on.
It boils down to what’s important.
It’s a team-centric approach, which evaluates what to prioritize based on how it impacts the customer and which task contributes to the objectives of the business most — not what is being yelled the loudest by a particular leader.
Otherwise, each task is always the most important to someone, right?
How to approach a pilot program
A common misconception about this approach is the belief agility is somehow hostile to planning. It’s not.
Agile marketing just approaches planning in a different — and, of course, more agile — way.
An agile team would be constantly re-evaluating its current focus through structured meetings and backlog refinement sessions to always ensure they’re still moving in the right direction.
Really, there is more planning, it’s just different.
And you should approach the formation of an agile team with a solid plan, too. Start with a pilot program and really think about how it’s going to work.
Andrea has some great ideas for how to make sure it runs smoothly.
- Make sure your employees in the pilot program are full time. No one can just be agile 30% of the time. It’s not a thing, so don’t do it. It never works out.
- If this seems like it’s a step too far, try just incorporating agile values like visibility, prioritization and focus effort. Even an existing team can put all of their work into a backlog, prioritize it and then start showing what they are working on.
- Once you’ve prioritized, work on the high-value items until they are finished, then move to the next one. This simple approach to visualizing your work will reveal a lot and create tons of opportunities for movement without doing any organizational restructuring.
"A well-done agile transformation will give you a 3 to 4x improvement in terms of delivery time and even internal metrics like employee engagement or NPS.”
How agility helps everyone, not just marketers
One of the huge benefits of adopting an agile framework is how it helps everyone in the company. Even notorious marketing rivals: sales.
An agile approach allows better interaction between these intra-office rivals, too. Sales teams can join planning meetings and see what work is coming up which will have the biggest impact on the conversations they are having.
They can join the conversation and ask to move something to a higher-priority position on the backlog.
This ends up being a win-win for both departments, but, really, it’s a win-win for the business and the consumer.
"What's the most impactful to the business or the customer? That's the work that we should do.”
If you’re still skeptical, it should be noted: agility is a concept also being introduced to sales teams independent of their interaction with marketing.
Agile sales teams do exist and they are structured — and compensated — in new ways to drive similar kinds of behaviors and outcomes.
Agility is not just a buzzword, it drives real results. Customers and prospects are getting better communication and better output from sales and marketing.
And organizations who adopt an agile approach are getting better returns from the employees, who are less stressed out and having a whole lot more fun in their jobs.
For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.
If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.