Agile for marketing – a no brainer

  • Posted on October 4, 2016

agile for marketing

Today started like any other day as a marketer. I had a very clear understanding of what my day should look like and what I wanted to accomplish, yet within 30 minutes, that had changed.

Unfortunately, that’s not unusual. Lots of requests are thrown at marketing professionals from different directions; long cycle times inhibit our ability to get projects out the door as quickly as we’d like; and numerous processes can create unnecessary complexity. Add to that the “extended responsibilities,” i.e., other jobs we do as well as our main one. The result: We don’t use our time as efficiently and as effectively as we should. And worse still, we see the opportunity to bring innovation into our work as a luxury in which we rarely get the chance to indulge.

To a large extent, our own ways of working prevent us from performing as well as we would like to. We think there’s a better approach: agile for marketing.

In her recent blog post, Avanade CMO Stella Goulet explored the promise of agile marketing and discussed what the agile marketing pilot team I’m involved with undertook. As a follow-on to that, I’d like to go into a bit more depth on how we approached agile marketing Twitter [CLICK TO TWEET].

Making Agile Part of our Strategy

As we began to develop our 2020 Marketing Vision and Strategy, the topic of agility came up frequently given Avanade’s overall goal to become more agile, as well as our own desire for improvement and to gain competitive advantage. We knew we needed to be able to react faster to demands coming from the field, particularly around time-sensitive market triggers. We wanted to be able to get things out the door within weeks (in some cases days) rather than months.

How could we work faster? How could we be more efficient? What new approaches and capabilities did we need to help us achieve these objectives?

These questions led us to incorporate a priority around innovation, speed and agility into our marketing strategy. This sits nicely within our vision “to consistently operate with speed, agility and operational excellence,” with a goal to reduce both time to market of campaigns and cycle time of operational processes. To get there, we knew we needed to develop agile capabilities within our marketing organization. Our ultimate objective was to develop an “Agile Marketing @ Avanade” approach.

Turning to Agile to Help Us “Work Smarter”

Given that my role involves being responsible for marketing our agile delivery capability, I discussed with our Avanade global agile delivery lead Karel Deman if he thought agile could help us “work smarter” in marketing. No surprise, Karel said “Yes.” He emphasized that when done right, agile promotes many of the attributes missing from the way marketing works today: adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continual improvement and a rapid and flexible response to change. These were exactly the results we wanted to realize for marketing – a no brainer.

In the next series of posts on this topic, members of the newly created Agile Marketing Center of Excellence (yep, we’re going for it), sponsored by our CMO, will share their journey to an “Agile Marketing @ Avanade” approach.

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