Why Your Marketing Team Needs Agile Now!

As a Marketing Manager responsible for a team, you’ll always ask yourself, “how do I build great team spirit?” If you’re familiar with Tuckman’s Team Development Model, you might also ask yourself, “how can I get out of this storming phase (as quick as possible!)?” There’s nothing worse than having a storming problem when team members view themselves as individuals rather than part of your team. This is especially true in marketing, where we all aspire to manage, or be part of, a high-performing creative team growing sales and revenue for our business. Today I recommend that any marketing professional who wants to get ahead in management should adopt agile marketing and bring about that necessary strong team spirit to ensure that marketing remains fun!

In this series of posts, I’ll dig deeper into how agile ensures Marketing and Sales remain best friends, how it takes the pressure out of product launch marketing and how an agile approach leads to successful event management. For now, let’s see why adopting agile marketing produces such amazing team spirit. There are so many reasons why I believe agile marketing was the key to our team’s success, but let’s focus on just 4 reasons. Agile marketing will get you through forming a team, past the storming and norming phases to high performing and as a Marketing Manager it will allow you to:

1. Empower your marketing team members
2. Share your marketing vision with your team
3. Prioritise your team’s tasks
4. Remove silos to communicate and collaborate effectively

First up, making that initial move to agile was an easy decision. As a Marketing Manager for a start-up technology company, I could already see the success of the Development team. When one of our software developer friends taught our Marketing team the ins and outs of an agile process – we were onto a winner. Our friends in Sales may have nicknamed us hamsters and joked about Marketing in our continual revolving wheel, but believe me, we were definitely onto a winner!

Never before had I been part of such a focused team. Marketing adopted the scrum method of agile marketing. Teamwork was confined to two-week sprints allowing us to experiment with new marketing techniques. All creative ideas were added to a future backlog, completed projects were reviewed and we continually improved performance. It was like night and day. Suddenly, instead of just acting out our own roles, we were a team in every sense – we were all committed to the same goals, we had a sense of purpose, great communication – those daily stand-ups added more value than you could imagine, we became more creative and our Marketing Director was overwhelmed at the speed at which we regularly completed tasks.

Little did I know at that point, that with the future growth of the company and the growth of the marketing team, that agile marketing would be my best friend over the coming years as I went on to recruit and lead a team including design, customer marketing, website, events and more.

Empower Your Marketing Team Members

We were lucky we had exceptional leadership who used agile marketing as a way to empower the team to make their own decisions. With defined sprint goals and clear tasks everyone had the power to manage their existing tasks without micromanagement. What’s more, this way of working encouraged new ideas.

I’m a great believer in leading by example. By practicing the agile methodology, there’s no better way to introduce new team members to the department. I’ll never forget a new-start who, having quickly got to grips with agile, understood the department goals and then started putting her own ideas into our marketing team backlog. She didn’t have to wait for the right moment to make suggestions, she felt empowered to contribute her ideas. For a recent Marketing Graduate, agile is the type of system that encourages fast growth and personal development and is such an efficient way for a Marketing Manager to capture those fresh ideas. In management, it can often be a struggle to provide that right balance of support and still allow people to own their own tasks. Agile solves that problem and empowers you and your team.

Share your Marketing Vision with Your Team

 

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Have you ever worked somewhere where there’s a lack of vision? There’s no real sense of purpose or meaning to individual work. Agile solves this problem as it brings clarity to projects. It creates an open, sharing environment with a high degree of trust where everyone is committed to the overall vision and individual sprints. The focus is on collective results and measuring success.

Because the whole team can see the bigger picture, they instantly feel connected. Through regular planning meetings, you share your marketing vision and all team members know their respective roles in making it happen. And, as a Marketing Manager, all of your team’s work is transparent so tracking and reporting on team progress is so much easier – believe me. There’s a bonus too – with such transparency it’s easier to spot and resolve potential delays or issues before they become crisis management! Agile comes into a world of its own when you’re an Event Manager – subscribe to this blog and find out why in a future post!

Prioritise your Team’s Tasks

 

Agile marketing ensures that everyone understands the scope of their work, confining tasks to a specific time frame. During planning meetings, real-time prioritisation ensures that the most important work gets done first. Everyone is focused on the right objectives. However, how often have you been in a situation when a sudden change in the business disrupts every existing plan?

For example, your business suddenly acquires another product bringing with it the challenge of a pending new product launch with a looming deadline. As a Marketing Manager, you’re advised that your team needs to launch this new product within 6 weeks – in 6 languages – not only with a launch but with an ongoing demand generation campaign. Help! First of all, you think how busy the team currently is with existing tasks and worry how you are going to manage this additional project.

Well with Agile, I remained calm. The team were advised during that morning stand-up and, using our online collaboration tool, I analysed all existing tasks so it was easy to re-prioritise, move tasks into a backlog and before I knew it, I had all the team new product launch tasks in the system with specific task owners and clear deadlines. The team could then focus on delivering their new short-term goals without any distractions. More on this to come in a future blog!

Remove Silos to Communicate and Collaborate Effectively

If you’ve already invested time in developing an effectiveteam you’ll know the benefits of teamwork inside out. As a Marketing Manager, there’s nothing more satisfying than feeling that camaraderie, that sense of purpose, the compounding successes and, of course, seeing happier, more engaged employees.
With Agile, you really get to know your team, you allow them to present their success stories to one another, and you celebrate successes together – sometimes with cake! Such a strong and open communication style with daily stand-ups, fortnightly retrospectives and planning meetings removes all silos. Such strong communication means that nothing falls between the cracks. As a Manager, you have a clear view of workloads, priorities and issues allowing you to communicate better with other stakeholders in the business e.g. Sales. But, that’s a future blog post on why agile helps Marketing and Sales remain best friends!

So that’s just 4 reasons why you’ll be amazed at the great team spirit which comes from agile marketing. I think it brings a process to a marketing team in a way that can empower and maximise your available team. It provides vision and focus, it prioritises teamwork and such great collaboration helps keep us Marketers sane!

In today’s ever-changing business environment, embracing agile ensures you have a fast and flexible marketing team which can cope with additional projects while keeping the hamster wheel turning on business as usual tasks. If you practice agile well you’ll not only build a strong team spirit, but a strong brand, more traffic, more customers, more leads, more sales and in the end, increased revenue and profit.

If you’re now thinking about adopting Agile Marketing, I’d say it’s important that you get the right tool for your team. You need an online collaboration tool which is user-friendly and allows all team members to participate – regardless of where they are, or which device they are using – something like Allthings is perfect.

Do you currently use agile with your Marketing team? Do you have any questions about my agile and/or marketing journey? Write me a message in the comments below!

Image: Flikr