5 Strategies for Advancing Agile Marketing to Generate Real Business Outcomes

5 Strategies for Advancing Agile Marketing to Generate Real Business Outcomes

You may have heard that “agile is dead.” Agilists have overused jargon, prioritized procedures and changes over people, and seen agile as a religion rather than an ongoing approach to improved ways of working.

Tamás Polgár pronounced agile a failure because its proponents “merely parroted buzzwords and played with meaningless cards and colorful charts all day.” According to Scott Middleton, McKinsey crushed it by advocating an “agile transformation office” and moving away from self-organizing teams, thereby prioritizing processes over people. Forbes predicted the demise of agile in 2019 because it “became a religion, and like most religions, it really didn’t make that much sense to the outsider — or even to the participants.”

I am here to tell you that these claims are true. There’s another side to the agile story.

  • Colt Technology Services saw up to a 500% increase in some of its most important company metrics after switching from an output-based to an outcome-based marketing strategy.
  • Huntington National Bank increased loan application conversion rates and improved the client experience by concentrating on delivering value faster, as defined by business results, rather than merely getting things done faster.
  • HID Global met its yearly target pipeline contribution three months early by introducing agile technologies in their marketing business, resulting in 116% year over year growth. In addition, their employee engagement levels increased from 73% to 84%.

Why do some firms achieve accomplishments like these by implementing agile approaches, while others merely engage in theatrics? So, what does this mean for the future of agile?

5 recommendations for a better future of agile

  1. Concentrate on results and value delivery.

The most important aspects of an organization’s agile success are outcome-focused and value-driven approaches. If organizations do not do this, none of the other agile practices will matter.

When a professional believes his job is to install and maintain the components of your marketing stack, he is missing the point. His job is to provide competitive advantage as evaluated by business outcomes and value delivery.

When a content marketer adopts agile in the hopes of delivering more material faster, she does not succeed. Her job is to improve pipeline, conversions, or whatever business measure is critical to the company, whether that means creating one new piece of content per week or twenty.

Successful agile adopters identify essential business indicators and use those measures to evaluate everything they do, regardless of the job they hold. Stop trying to be agile for the sake of it.

2. Instead of using agile buzzwords, use business terminology.

Eliminate the terms scrum, sprint, kanban, epics, retrospectives, ARTs, PI planning, and RTEs from your lexicon. When you adopt kanban, inform everyone, including stakeholders, that you are embracing a new approach to workflow management that is more visual and requires fewer reports and status updates. If you use scrum and sprints, inform everyone that you will now plan in one or two-week increments to promote focus and responsibility.

When describing improvements, return to principle one: results and value delivery. You’re not implementing agile; you’re altering how you work to achieve greater results and value. Stop using agile terms and learn to speak business language.

  1. Stop making transformations and instead adopt agile incrementally.

Transformations are scary. Nobody wants to be transformed unless they initiate and manage the transformation. Agile is best implemented progressively and experimentally, incorporating what works while discarding what does not.

When I hear a company announce a large agile transition, I run. The success rate for these large-scale transitions is alarmingly low. Concentrate on generating greater results and value through gradual changes.

People are supportive of what they helped build and what answers their concerns. Are your marketers overwhelmed? They are, believe me. Concentrate on stopping the overwhelm. Are your marketers unable to complete tasks because everyone works in silos, with various priorities and methods of working? Create cross-functional teams or reorganize around value delivery. Do your marketers require assistance bridging the gap between plan and execution? Assist and teach them how to design and prioritize tactics to support strategy.

4. Customize agile to your specific needs.

Agile isn’t “one size fits all.” It has to be tailored to each organization’s specific needs. That is not to say that firms should pick and choose agile components at will. They should choose agile methods based on what works and does not.

Experiment with various Agile techniques. Begin with kanban since it creates the least disturbance, and anything you learn from kanban can be applied to scrum or scrumban. Try different sprint lengths. (Oops, I meant various planning cycles!)

Do not restrict yourself to agile. Use lean manufacturing processes. When creating customer experiences, remember to apply design thinking ideas. Experiment with AI and make it part of your toolkit.

5. Get serious about client centricity.

According to a 2022 Bain & Co. survey, up to 80% of organizations believe they provide a superior customer experience, whereas only 8% of their customers concur. When businesses pay lip service to client centricity rather than becoming serious about it, they create a disconnect between their perceptions and customer realities.

Begin by learning about your customers, obtaining data on their behavior, preferences, and expectations, then adjusting your marketing efforts to fit their demands. Customer centricity necessitates frequent customer engagement and a voice of the customer program that informs the rest of the firm about what customers desire.

Create and deliver amazing customer experiences. Customers do not desire items or services. They want to see their expectations satisfied and their problems resolved on their own terms. Create unique and memorable experiences that customers will tell others about and spread the word.

Finally, operationalize client centricity. Customer centricity is more than just a few examples or anecdotes about employees going above and beyond. It spends money to ensure that clients have a consistently positive experience. It should not rely on heroes. It should be integrated into the company’s culture, operations, and daily experience. This necessitates spending time and money on operations.

Keep agile marketing alive, effective, and current.

Agile is not dead, but its future is uncertain. Agile marketing, like digital marketing, account-based marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, and many other marketing approaches, must evolve to meet changing needs.

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