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7 STEPS TO DEVELOPING

AN AGILE MARKETING TEAM


A starter guide for marketers who want to increase
their teams productivity, responsiveness, and speed
Brought to you by:

Intro

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We live in a digital age where communication is fast,


and innovation even faster. Companies operate with no

Table of Contents

preconceptions or rigidity about how they're going to operate.

I. Adapt or Die: The Constantly Changing Landscape

They're able to adapt to market trends because they maintain

II. Why Marketers Should Care About Agile

a steady focus on customer engagement and feedback. Their


responsiveness lets them ensure satisfaction and deliver value
at a time when customers have more options than ever before.
This high-velocity process is the essence of Agile. It has the
power to transform your marketing team into the ultimate
customer-centric organization, able to pivot quickly to capitalize
on customer needs and market trends.
This ebook is a guide to transforming your marketing team
into an Agile machine.

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III. Key Agile Principles


IV. Manage Change, Avoid Culture Shock
V. 7 Simple Tips to Get Started
VI. Conclusion: Embracing Agile For Ultimate
Customer Centricity

I. Adapt or Die: The Constantly Changing Landscape

I. Adapt or Die: The Constantly


Changing Landscape
Companies that cant adapt to the breakneck pace of modern business
will be quickly left behind, choking on the gritty dust of their competitors.
Think about the recent shift in the digital media space: with the explosion
of streaming media, companies like Netflix, Hulu, Apple, and Spotify
have transformed the way we consume media, while companies like
Blockbuster, HMV, and Tower Records werent able to pivot quickly
enough, leading to their demise.

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I. Adapt or Die: The Constantly Changing Landscape

Next Generation Marketing


Just like the digital media industry, the marketing discipline is operating in a similar
state of flux. Gone are the days of playbooks, requirements documents, and annual
marketing plans you could stick to. Instead, the rules change every day as marketers
deal with ever-shifting market trends and fickle customer tastes. They are forced
to navigate niche channels, differentiate between signal and noise, and choose
efficient tools from a growing array of choices.
As a result, marketing organizations struggle to move fast enough to respond to customer
feedback and their changing needs. And if a marketing group isnt equipped to handle
this load? It dies (and is replaced).
Which is how we come to Agile.

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II. Why Marketers Should Care About Agile

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II. Why Marketers Should


Care About Agile
Agile is a tried-and-true method for creating a truly

And although it started with software developers, Agile has

collaborative environment, enabling teams to perform

grown into an approach that cuts across industry boundaries.

efficiently, manage heavy workloads, and instantly respond

Are you ready to join the Agile marketing revolution?

to changing customer needs.


The Agile method for project management was birthed by
software development teams that needed to streamline
processes and deliver products more efficiently and ensure
what they delivered was what the customer really wanted.

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II. Why Marketers Should Care About Agile

How Agile Can Take Marketing to The Next Level


What Agile offers marketing organizations is fourfold all

want from you. Theres no risk of accidentally spending time,

leading to projects with better business value and faster time

effort, and resources creating something that misses the

to market:

mark, or having a client review the finished product only to ask for
major changes. And transparency within the team means no

1. Agile promotes adaptive planning, because it understands

accidental duplicate work and greater collaboration.

that projects are never set in stone. Parameters change.


Customer needs shift. Project plans need a way to take this

4. Agile allows for rapid and flexible response to change.

into consideration without dissolving into chaos.

Because youre always in touch with your customers, you know


when their needs change. And because youre in constant

2. Agile takes an iterative approach to work, improving the

communication with your team, you know what everyone is

product incrementally in short, successive work cycles. This

working on and can immediately adjust everyones efforts

means that every few weeks, a new deliverable, or portion

to meet those changing needs.

of a deliverable, is produced. The improvement process


is ongoing.
3. Agile emphasizes transparency and communication.
Open, consistent communication between project teams and
customers means you know exactly what your customers

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III. Key Agile Principles

III. Key Agile Principles


There are several key principles that give Agile its unique flavor.
When done correctly, these principles lead to successful Agile projects:
Focus.

Interact.

Break work into smaller tasks, and

Schedule frequent but brief team

focus on one task at a time. Stop being

updates so the whole group knows

overwhelmed by the big picture. Small

whats happening. These updates could

tasks also make it easier to be flexible, in

be daily standup meetings where each

case you need to shift gears.

member shares what theyre working on

Adapt.
Respond to change instead of rigidly
sticking to the plan. When data leads you
in a new direction, dont resist. By staying
agile and keeping communications open,
you can pivot on a dime.

and where they need help. Added bonus:


doing standups can eliminate the need
for long, drawn-out status meetings.
Reflect.
After a project ends, reflect on what
worked and what didnt, and apply

Test.

lessons learned to your next project.

Test constantly. Trust the data you generate

Not only will the quality of your work

over unsubstantiated opinions. This is

increase, youll reap greater rewards

where customer feedback is so critical.

for your efforts and the way your team

If youre not listening to your customer,

works as a unit will improve. Soon, youll

how do you know if youre creating

have a high-performing marketing team.

something of value?
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IV. Manage Change, Avoid Culture Shock

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IV. Manage Change,


Avoid Culture Shock
With all the benefits that Agile brings to marketing teams,

Give it Time

how does one actually go about implementing an Agile

According to researchers, getting a new habit to stick requires

marketing process?

an average of 66 days, or roughly 2 months. And if the new


behavior is particularly complex, it may take up to 8 months.

Making the transition is not easy. Youre not only changing the
culture of your marketing team, but also the cross-functional

So if youre implementing Agile and dont see immediate

teams that you work with. It will take time and you will

results, resist the urge to give up after 30 days. Stick with it for

encounter resistance but you can overcome it.

at least two months.

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IV. Manage Change, Avoid Culture Shock

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Combat Resistance

Baby Steps

People will resist Agile for many reasons. Often from fear of

One approach is to introduce Agile in pieces. Incremental

the unknown why change when the old way has worked

changes arent as much of a shock to the system, and your

for years? Or perhaps, a fear of incompetency will this new

team can ease into a new way of working without jumping

process require new skills that I dont have? There may simply

straight into the deep end, sink or swim.

be doubts that the end results will be worth the effort.


In the next section, well introduce 7 small steps to help you
Another source of resistance may come from a lack of

successfully introduce Agile to your team. As you take these

communication. If you, as the advocate, dont explain why Agile

initial steps, document your victories so you have concrete

needs to be introduced at all, and if your team members arent

proof that the process delivers results.

consulted for their opinions, brick walls will go up and the new
process will be brought to a standstill.
To counter this, you must communicate your reasons for
implementing Agile and include your marketing team in the
discussion before switching over. Be patient, and encourage
your team along the way by celebrating small wins like
sharing positive customer feedback. It takes some time, but
itll be worth it.

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10

V. 7 Simple Tips to Get Started

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V. 7 Simple Tips
to Get Started
When starting out, focus on the core elements of Agile that can

experiencing. If the same roadblocks keep popping up,

help you experience immediate results. Here are a few simple

take it upon yourself as a manager to help remove those

tips you can use right away without much of a learning curve:

roadblocks.

Tip #1: Implement Daily Standups

If you have a distributed team where you cant have

One way Agile teams communicate is through daily standup

Hangouts or Skype.

meetings, where team members take a minute or two to


share what theyre working on and any roadblocks theyre

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physical standups, try a quick video chat using Google

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V. 7 Simple Tips to Get Started

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Tip #2: Start Using a Task Board


One of the biggest challenges to running multiple projects

Assign different colored sticky notes to each team member and

is tracking all the moving parts and priorities, and keeping

start posting the notes on your board, ordering them based on

everyone on the same page. An easy way to manage all of the

priority. Each sticky note represents a task, so its easy to see

teams work is with a task board (also called a Scrum board).

at a glance whos working on what and which team members


are in danger of being overloaded.

All you need are some sticky notes and a white board. Draw a
few lines, or use masking tape to break your board into sections,
with four columns next to each team members name:

A good rule of thumb: dont juggle too many tasks at


once in the In Progress section. Each person should
pick 3-5 tasks for the week and focus on those. Once tasks

Backlog: tasks that you have on your plate but havent

are completed and moved into the Done column, you can

gotten around to starting yet.

always move a task from your Backlog into the In Progress

In Progress: tasks that youre working on right now.


With Someone Else: tasks that youre waiting for someone
else to take action on, whether youre waiting for approval
or a team member needs to contribute some work before
passing it back to you.

Done: your completed tasks.


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section and get a head start.


Tip: If there are any important details, questions or issues for
a particular task, you can simply write it on the sticky note as
a reminder to discuss them with your team during your next
standup. Its a great way to encourage transparency across
the team.

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V. 7 Simple Tips to Get Started

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Tip #3: Use Stories To Prioritize Tasks


One of the core components of Agile is the user story. User

Developing user stories for each of your key personas helps

stories are short, simple descriptions of a task or project told

you be highly targeted in your messaging and campaigns. And

from the perspective of the end user. They typically follow this

by focusing on your target personas end goal, youre better

simple template:

able to provide valuable content and solutions that draw

As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.


User stories provide a larger context to help teams
determine what approach or solution will deliver the most
value to the customer. From a marketing perspective, its a
great exercise to gain a better understanding of your target
personas and how your work can benefit them. User stories are
also helpful in prioritizing projects in terms of business value.
Heres an example of a marketing user story:
As a content marketing executive, I want an engaging blog
design that promotes our trial software so we can meet our
trial and revenue goals for this quarter.

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customers to you.
A good practice is to create a new user story for each major
project. Have everyone on the team contribute to answer
these questions: Who are you targeting with this campaign,
and what do they want? Whats the larger problem they want to
solve? Having your team work together to create user stories is
a great way to foster collaboration. Plus, the process will help
make sure youre getting the maximum business value out of
your teams efforts.

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V. 7 Simple Tips to Get Started

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Tip #4: Embrace Simplicity

Tip #5: Dont Forget the Human Element

Its easy to let an exciting new idea grow into a monster campaign

Many marketers who try to implement Agile focus on the

when you start considering all the potential audiences and

mechanics. While certain elements of the Agile process may

approaches, especially if your teams in the middle of a killer

be set, like the structure and purpose of standups, there is

brainstorming session. But dont get carried away.

an art to effectively managing an Agile marketing team. The

Agile is about creating the simplest possible solution that


will yield the results your customers care about. Resist
the temptation to throw in extra bells and whistles or launch
a worldwide media blitz because you think it will attract

importance of human interaction should never be overlooked,


ranging from how you engage with customers and solicit
feedback to how you communicate with team members. Its
imperative to building a high performing Agile team.

more attention. Ask your customers (internal or external)

When managing an Agile marketing team, youre going to have

what they want. Although the idea behind your campaign

to pay attention to both the structure of your processes as

may be complex, the solution you present should appear

well as how your team members work and communicate with

simple to the end users.

each other. Mastering both is the key to repeatable success.

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V. 7 Simple Tips to Get Started

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Tip #6: Hold Retrospectives


After you complete a task or project, take some time to reflect
and discuss what worked and what didnt. Ask questions to try
and understand why some things were successful and others
werent. In this way, youre continually learning and adjusting
to make the next project run smoother and yield better results.
Heres a simple blueprint you can use during your next
retrospective:

What did we do well?


What could we have done better?
How can we improve the process for next time?
Because

retrospectives

are

democratic,

theyre

very

empowering for your team. They identify the problems, work


together to find the solutions, and then go out and take
ownership over the process.

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V. 7 Simple Tips to Get Started

Tip #7: Develop an Agile Mindset


Agile isnt a process, its a mindset. Following the Agile process
is not the same as being agile, and the distinction is often the
difference between success and project failure. There are a few
common tendencies youll need to watch out for, but the
#1 perspective you need to change is how you react to setbacks.
On an individual level, you need to encourage your teammates to share any problems or issues holding them back.
People are naturally reluctant to admit theyre having trouble,
so show them they wont be penalized for asking for help or
not knowing the best course of action. If the team doesnt know
what members are struggling with, problems escalate until its
too late to fix them.
On a higher level, you need to rethink your perception of
failure. Agile recognizes failure as an opportunity to strengthen
your team and your end product. Its not something that
should be dreaded or swept under the rug. If your team
is truly pushing itself to perform at the next level, failure
is simply part of the process and can be an incredibly
valuable learning opportunity.

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VI. Conclusion: Embracing Agile For Ultimate Customer Centricity

VI. Conclusion: Embracing Agile For Ultimate


Customer Centricity
Agile is still new to many marketers, but if you can embrace

The bonus is that the process will result in enhanced team

the Agile approach and use the steps weve detailed here, your

collaboration, improved personal and group productivity, and

team will be well on its way to becoming a customer-centric

business objectives that center around what really matters:

organization able to quickly deliver campaigns that customers

the customer.

want and adapt to constantly-changing requirements.

Good luck and stay Agile!

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This ebook was brought to you by Wrike.


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