In the world of trendy buzzwords, agile marketing is one of those few that lives up to its reputation. Agile marketing is a strategic marketing approach where marketers identify high-value projects on which they need to concentrate their efforts.
If you want to have meaningful and quick communication with your customers, more detailed concentration and personalization in your strategy and empower your employees to take specific tasks instead of leaving everything to the management, you need to go ahead with agile marketing principles. The companies that really are agile enjoy rapid and consistent growth, have more satisfied employees and customers, and quickly adapt to any external fluctuations.
The main “values” of agile marketing are the following:
- Collaboration instead of hierarchy
- Many small experiments instead of a few big bets
- Responding to unexpected changes instead of following a static plan
- Testing and data instead of opinions and theories
- Individuals and interactions instead of large markets
If you want to find out what are the specific benefits of agile marketing for your SaaS company, this graph from Forbes is just for you:
As a result of a survey done among 40 marketing professionals, Forbes has come to the following conclusion: “Agile marketing strategy used in software development yields greater marketing effectiveness and efficiency”. This is how important agile marketing is for SaaS companies.
In today’s post we present the nine steps you need to take in order to dominate the market with an agile marketing strategy:
1. Use agile principles for the most critical aspect of marketing
We know that for all marketing departments, regardless of industry, time and resources are premium. Taking this into account, it is crucial that you apply agile marketing methodologies only to the most important parts of your business, instead of implementing the approach for each and every marketing process.
Brainstorm with your team, understand what are the most important marketing projects that drive the most revenue, impact customer satisfaction and improve the effectiveness of the department, and apply agile marketing principles to these projects.
If you are wondering what are the differences between agile project management and agile marketing, here is a graph representing a website redesign project from both perspectives:
2. Isolate the project
Here, our goal is to avoid the “paralysis by analysis” syndrome, which is the state of over-analyzing the situation to the extent that a decision or an action is never taken. According to agile marketers, you should not spend weeks and months exploring the whole strategic projects and crunching numbers.
Instead, you just need to break the overall project down into small pieces. By isolating a small part of the overall project and communicating it to your department, it becomes easy for everyone to understand what they are doing. This approach will make tasks less daunting and increase the effectiveness of your work.
3. See the end from the beginning
All too often, projects and tasks get bloated, growing in size and requirements, until they become unable-to-deliver endeavors. This usually happens when the team loses sight of the outcome. With agile marketing approach, your SaaS team should always go ahead by remembering this quote: “Begin with the end in mind”. When thinking about the project outcome, make sure to remember these two points:
- Make short-term goals: Goals that have over a one year duration have higher failure rates than short-term goals. The reason is that, usually, it’s too difficult to control such long periods of time, especially in SaaS companies where everything is changing so fast. Agile marketing strategy suggests setting short-term goals, which can be completed in less time.
- Define the objective: Goals that are defined correctly have a higher chance of being achieved. The reason is that well-defined goals let everyone be on the same page. However, this does not mean that you need to spend weeks and months planning every aspect of the project.
4. Create agile teams
To dominate the market with agile marketing strategy, your will need to have agile teams. Here is the main criteria for creating them:
- Small size: The smaller the size of the team, the better! Teams that have less than six people involved, have higher success rates compared to others. The reason is that large teams require longer periods for decision making, which is against the agile approach.
- Cross-functional: To succeed, you need various talents in your team. For example, a great agile marketing team should consist of a writer, a designer, a programmer, a marketing specialist, a videographer and an analyst, working alongside each other toward the goal.
- Innovative: Agile marketing is all about innovation. Try to be innovative, strive to do things differently, because this is the only way you can quickly respond to change.
Though being an agile teams seems easy, a lot of companies make dozens of mistakes when forming them. Here are the top 10 mistakes that new agile teams make.
5. Organize short daily meetings
Daily stand-up meetings, known as “sprints”, are at the heart of the agile marketing strategy. Every day, your whole team should gather together in order to understand what are the tasks for that day. These meetings should be literally done while standing, in order to keep them short and to the point. The duration of such meetings should not exceed 15 minutes and, during that time, only the following three topics should be discussed:
1. What the team did yesterday
2. What is going to be done today
3. Are there any roadblocks to overcome?
Stand-up meetings can be really beneficial for SaaS companies in numerous ways:
- Making agreements on commitments
- Making sure that everyone is on the right track
- Improving team awareness and transparency
- Rapidly identifying current issues
6. Assign a leader
Leaders in agile marketing are those who lead the standup meetings, keep track of overall project delivery timetables, hire and fire new team members, etc. The leader should be the person who will oversee project perspectives, scope and deliverables. She will also need to have an anticipatory view of the overall project.
Agile marketing project leaders should have the following 3 main characteristics:
- Smart adaptability: Because of agile marketing’s changing nature, leaders should have smart adaptability in order to cope with change effectively, show flexibility and work in new environments. However, adaptation should also be smart in order to distinguish buzzwords from real trends and to make the right time and money investments in the right projects.
- Customer centricity: No team can be truly customer-centric and market driven unless the marketing leader takes their role seriously. They have to help, guide and coordinate the whole team to understand the new market opportunities, customer expectations and add value to customers.
- Team builder: Again and again. Just because agile marketing is all about speed and flexibility, there should be a powerful team who can deal with unexpected changes, problems and blocks. And without a good leader, there cannot be a good team.
7. Have “FedEx Days”
“FedEx Days” are an irreplaceable part of an agile marketing strategy. This is a 24-hour event, where employees deliver innovation to the team. During this time, team members can work on anything they want and then show colleagues what they have done and what their results are. This is called “FedEx”, as team members need to deliver their outcomes overnight, just like the parcel handling company. These days can also be called “one-day bursts of autonomy”, though it’s much easier to say FedEx.
Here is more on how to deliver innovation overnight by Daniel Pink.
8. Put testing at the core
“Success is largely a matter of how your respond when things go wrong.”
Since agile marketing encourages creativity and innovation, mistakes and failures are inevitable. Instead of avoiding creativity, try to test everything that you are doing.
Testing and reporting should always be among the final arbiters as to what works and what is less successful. Instead of testing the whole project when it’s completed, you need to continuously test different, small elements and see whether the results are satisfying.
9. Being first counts for a lot
Always remember, with agile marketing strategy, you should always be very quick! Speed wins and being first counts for a lot.
There are many marketers who are very cautious and have a high level of protection in everything they do. This is something natural and understandable and comes from the days when it was necessary to print many marketing materials. In this case, marketers needed to work slower, with extra cautiousness, because printing was expensive and they needed to be very careful in order to not make any mistakes. However, in today’s marketing environment, things have changed.
Nowadays, marketers need to be very quick and need to respond to external change rapidly by posting on social media, contacting their customers and so on. This means that they should “untrain” themselves and let go of previous work habits. Being extra cautious takes valuable time, and that time can be used to create more marketing campaigns before competitors do it instead. Applying agile marketing principles will help you ensure that you are on point with your ideas and never too late.
There we have it! The nine essential steps to dominate the market with the agile marketing strategy. If you are already using agile marketing principles in your SaaS company, please share your experience and tips to this list. We would be happy to learn as well!