How to end the market department´s ”business as usual”

In a world where the consumer opts out in less than three seconds, the ability of being fast and agile is vital to success. Despite this, for many big corporations, the opposite is more the rule than the exception.

How to succeed in ending ”business as usual”

An international bank wanted to test a new email offer to its customers. They compiled a recipient list, did some design and wrote some copy, made sure to run in through legal and were ready to go. This took eight weeks.

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The example above is taken from a step-by-step guide to agile marketing, how the opposite of above, can streamline the company’s marketing and thus grow its business. Because in a world where the consumer opts out in less than three seconds, the above is what makes companies irrelevant. Despite this, for many big corporations, this rate is more the rule than the exception.

Continual improvements

Working agile means using data, testing, and analysis to continually adjust and improve information. But for the marketing department alone to embrace this is not sufficient. If legal, IT or finance aren’t in, or for that matter external agencies and consultants – you will never be entirely agile.

So how do you create an organization that supports agile marketing?

1. First of all, define what do you want to achieve.
2. Next. Determine which data, analysis, and infrastructure (technology and tools) are needed to succeed.3. Make sure to have the full support of your management. Since the team probably needs to interact with the entire organization, everyone must acknowledge what is expected of them. Besides, it is crucial that key employees within the company are identified as early as possible so that they are indeed available at short notice.
4. And most important. Assemble a team with the right people. Disconnect them from their usual duties, make sure they complement each other’s skills and place them in a war room of their own. The optimal team consists of resources from both client and agencies together with independent specialists, a cross-agency functional team.

Read more Why nothing beats the agile team


”Two-pizza teams” are the best

Regarding the size of the team, Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos famously said that the optimal size is ”two-pizza teams,” ie the team should be able to share two pizzas. According to the agile framework Scrum (link to the Scrum article here), no team should consist of more than 8-12 people (but then again American pizzas are quite huge).

The work starts off with clarifying the goal of the project to all stakeholders; managers, other key individuals as well as the team. It is vital that everyone has the same understanding of what is to be accomplished.

”Business as usual” is banned

Next, the team is on their own. From now on, ”business as usual” is banned. Instead, everyone is ready to work quickly and smoothly, to collaborate, welcome the unexpected, strive for simplicity, share responsibilities, data is the groundwork instead of gut feelings, and above all: the end customer is always at the center of decisions.

Each day begins with a short meeting where team members share what they accomplished yesterday and what to achieve today. The daily meeting gives invaluable insight into the work of each team member, at the same time strengthening the feeling of joint responsibility.

And of what does the daily work consist?

1. Analysis of data and identification of opportunities with idéas attached.
2. The ideas designed into prioritized tests (good for business and easy to implement? Go!), and KPIs are set up.
3. Tests and validations in 1-2 week sprints
4. Kill the wrong ideas, move on with the good according to test results.
5. New sprint begins.
6. Scale up based on best practice

Setting up an agile team that quickly and efficiently create business results, is excellent, but the aim must be to get the entire marketing operation to work in the same fashion – and the rest of the company to fully support. The first step to get there is credibility. For each test that gives a positive result, company confidence is built. The second step is to create teams with clearly defined assignments and goals. When a team works smoothly, add the next, but do not add several at the same time.

This systematic approach of adding one team at a time provides each team with the support it initially needs, at the same time providing the management with the opportunity to bring lessons learned from one team into another and thereby scale up based on best practice.

Read more The 2019 martech challenges

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