Organisations already know agile product development is the way to go, and have their DevOps team working in sprints. As design is tightly coupled with development work, even designers have design ops frameworks. But what about marketing? Sometimes it feels like marketing is the last corner of the organisation that refuses to let go of old processes.
Agile marketing in a multi-vendor environment
It is very typical that marketing is a joint effort of several specialised vendors. There is an analytics agency managing tracking and reporting, a PR agency managing press and official communications, a branding agency managing the overall look and feel, a graphic design agency creating banners and other graphic assets, a trafficking agency managing all the different marketing channels, and a separate performance marketing agency managing search engine visibility. How could this combo ever be agile?
In this blog post, we share some things we have noticed to be crucial in making your marketing leaner.
The key components of agile marketing
The key to agile marketing is to constantly build on data and insights, gather and share core marketing assets, and question the old ways of working in marketing ecosystems.
These three points create efficiency, regardless of whether we’re talking about daily marketing operations, longer-term strategic marketing initiatives, or points of discontinuity in operations. Think onboarding new people: organisations’ key personnel, vendors, and vendor teams are always subject to change.
1. Data and insights
Organisation owns its data and insights - not an agency
Make sure you have platforms where customer and marketing performance data is shared, this can’t be locked into agency-managed platforms.
Easy access to data for everyone making marketing and sales decisions
Customer and marketing performance data should be utilised on a constant basis to generate strategic and tactical insights.
If access to data isn’t easy, it will not be utilised.
2. Marketing assets and materials
Organisation owns its marketing assets – not an agency.
This includes raw brand assets that can be utilised to create marketing materials for both campaigns and tactical experiments.
There should be easy ways to reuse and combine marketing assets for everyone working with marketing.
Shared design systems regarding the use of colours, fonts, and graphics in relation to the brand.
3. Operational model and ways of working
The key factors are fast reaction times and continuous testing.
This will require learning new ways of working, but also unlearning the old waterfall campaign thinking
Continuously optimise your always-on marketing based on data.
Make sure you have easy ways to use highly targeted audiences, accessible for everyone working with marketing.
Quick scaling and quick killing – learn what works and what doesn’t.
Brand building and communications
Create guidelines and processes to enable fast operations.
It’s crucial to have a clearly defined tone of voice and brand experience.
Does this sound like a utopia? Typically the bottleneck is not having access to all marketing and data platforms, or not having the internal competences to use those platforms.
Talk to your vendors about platform access, and start transferring ownerships to your organisation. Furthermore, request for the ownership of graphical marketing assets created for each campaign. This might require some adjusting of contracts in some cases, but it’s well worth it.
When you do have access or ownership of different platforms and assets, gather a team of people who are willing to get their hands dirty. There should be someone operating marketing platforms, someone looking into data, and someone to create marketing materials. This does not mean you can just kick out all the vendors! What it means is that you have created an agile marketing ops team, that has the required understanding and assets to work alongside vendors, and also to do quick campaign sprints internally when needed.
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