Agile or “lean” marketing is often seen as the purview of the startup or SMB, which IMHO is a seriously flawed viewpoint. Why on earth would larger companies want to shy away from a marketing approach that is more efficient, (often) less expensive, and one that increases interdepartmental communication?
Beats me. In fact, large companies are beginning to catch on to this simple philosophy. The fact that several marketing automation software vendors are making their dashboard products easier to understand and tweak, rather than the bloated CRMs from times past, makes the transition to agile marketing even easier.
Agile marketing needn’t be complex but there are some guidelines you should put in place before delivering on a lean and agile marketing strategy.
Transparency: I know, I know you are so over the word, but here it’s genuinely applicable. See the days where one VP of Marketing holds sway over the login to the marketing software or dictates specific (and numerous) KPIs are long gone! When everyone in the marketing department has full visibility and access, it’s easy to see where the process has gone wrong…or RIGHT! Newer recruits can also see what has worked in the past and what sort of measurements are important to their organizations (right from the get go!)
Simplicity: Aligning your goals with the sales department is always important, but those can’t be your only measurements of success. Once you’ve plotted out your lead sequence, it’s imperative to know when to kick that lead over to sales. Otherwise, you are essentially qualifying forever, bloating your marketing budget and in simple terms: sitting on the pot.
The Big 3: This scares a lot of clients and with good reason. If you are only measuring by three goals/KPIs/proof points, then how can you possibly stand in front of your executive team and say: “all three are down”? So we pack on useless metrics like sentiment, warmth score (that is a real life thing) and mentions. While all of these are important to branding, they are the death knell of agile and lean marketing. Find out what your Big 3 indicators are to drive sales and leads and then move onto “softer” branding metrics once per quarter or after a large campaign.
No Rules: So what if you think 600 words is the right number for a blog post? Content Marketing is in a Wild West moment right now. Creating memes, lists, videos, animated GIFs might actually work for you, but not if you run approval through half the marketing team. Find a point person who can give their stamp of approval (or not) to new ideas so your teams can ship them fast. If someone has an idea, make sure they sketch it, get it approved, target the market, and ship it. Easy Peezy.
Ship: Then measure. Research within your company to ensure that you are not conflicting with other departments (channel partners, employer brand, legal etc immediately come to mind) and then make it live! Going live in a limited test (small ad run, A/B testing your emails on a small portion, quick exploratory call or survey) makes it easy to tweak your secret sauce before sending it out to your whole market. But you have to ship in order for this work.
Obviously, much of this reduces chaos and bloat in marketing departments, but it’s far easier to sell in a small company than a legacy department spread across multiple geographies. So, if you want your company to have an agile or lean marketing process, start with your own team first. The shift in productivity will leave execs scratching their heads and asking you what you’re doing. If you don’t have ownership of a team, then start implementing these practices yourself. Once your team sees your results and simplified approach they may just follow your lead!
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