Living the 10 principles of agile marketing
These principles were recently developed by members of the agile marketing community.
The agile marketing principles are part of the Agile Marketing Manifesto, a guiding light on how to be agile in marketing. Just recently, a collaborative effort between many members of the agile marketing community took place in an event called #sprinttwo. While the values were quickly agreed upon, the principles took a little longer to resolve. On October 29, 2021 the new principles were released. Now it’s time to take a deep dive into how you can use these principles in your everyday marketing practice.
Principle #1: Great marketing requires close alignment, transparency, and quality interactions with internal and external customers
Let’s face it, marketing is all about relationships with our customers and stakeholders. To be in alignment, we first need to share common goals. One way to do this is through a joint planning session with stakeholders where the big goals of the quarter are shared. Then, frequent interactions between the agile marketing teams and stakeholders need to happen to review those goals and how marketing is achieving them, adjusting strategies as needed. Marketers also need to have access to external customers, not have them hidden behind several layers of people. With real access and conversations, marketing messages can be more personalized.
Principle #2: Seek out different and diverse points of view
Traditionally, we’ve only asked “the expert” their opinion. Only the graphic designer comments on how the social post looks. With agile marketing, team collaboration and the ability for everyone to be a part of the work sets marketers up for better quality and more innovative work.
Principle #3: Embrace and respond to change to enhance customer value
Long gone are the days when we could stick to a plan at all costs. Today’s buyers are sophisticated, the market is crowded, and marketing must speak to them. A great example of this was when a company that markets to healthcare workers decided to stop selling people products during the pandemic and instead sent thoughtful messages like, “Take a break”.
Principle #4: Plan only to a level sufficient to ensure effective prioritization and execution
A lot of agile coaches call this one, “Planning at the last responsible moment.” You want to know enough about your upcoming work to decipher priorities, but don’t get into the weeds of exactly how you’re going to execute until the team is ready to start the work. This allows for the most flexibility and change, eliminating too much waste in upfront thinking.
Principle #5: Take chances, and learn from your failures
If you’re being asked to attend the same trade show that you’ve attended for the last 10 years, it may be time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe that on-demand webinar will get you the same number of leads? If not, at least your team learned what doesn’t work, and that’s a valuable lesson.
Principle #6: Organize in small, cross-functional teams where possible
Think about a small startup where everyone is doing whatever it takes to get to market before their competitor beats them to the punch. That’s a lot like what an agile marketing team should feel like. A team of five or six people that have all of the skills necessary to go from strategy to execution is ideal. And don’t worry…you don’t have to reorg your entire department to work this way. Just think about execution teams being cross-functional, whereas functional areas still exist for leading a craft.
Principle #7: Build marketing programs around motivated individuals and trust them to get the job done
Too many marketers seem to be order takers from management. If we treat our marketers like order receivers, the work is going to be ho-hum. However, when we give them goals as well as freedom to decide how best to meet those goals, amazing things happen!
Principle #8: Long-term marketing success benefits from operating at a sustainable pace
We come from a world of thinking where doing more is better and we’re not just sprinting — we’re running our teams at a marathon pace that leads to burnout. By estimating work and saying no to things that don’t meet our goals, we can get our teams back to working at a sustainable pace.
Principle #9: Agile marketing isn’t enough. Excellence in marketing requires continuous attention to marketing fundamentals as well
This one is about going faster, but cutting corners to do so. Agile marketing isn’t about speed alone — it’s about working on the right things that add value and don’t skimp on quality.
Principle #10: Strive for simplicity
There’s a lot of wasteful practices going on in marketing, so striving for simplicity is about not over-engineering the process and making it complicated. Do we really need legal sign-off on everything we do or can we limit it to just new products? Does every manager need to have eyes on something or will a peer review be good enough?
By keeping in mind these agile marketing principles and living them day-to-day, you’ll be able to reap the real benefits of agile marketing.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.