Agile brings project management concepts to marketing
Agile is gradually permeating the marketing space.
The concept of agile marketing is not new, but it’s gradually permeating further as a real-life option for marketing teams. But exactly which kind of organizations would benefit most from implementing agile marketing?
“If your team or organization struggles with long project cycle times, limited opportunities for learning and adjustment, then agile may be the answer,” said Zach Wolfe, Senior Strategic Customer Success Manager for Wrike, a project management software vendor, at MarTech. “Agile is a flexible methodology that can ultimately be used in any large scale project in any industry, market or company.”
The ability to adapt quickly to changing priorities with comfort and flexibility is why implementing agile marketing makes sense during this age of uncertainty. The agile methodology and the tools that come with it increase productivity and provide increased insight to daily operations, showcasing one of its greatest benefits — creating a more efficient project management process.
“Marketing teams need tools that allow us to pivot and change the course of the project, if necessary,” said Pat Ratajewska, Senior Marketing and Event Project Manager for Wrike. “No software will manage the process for you but as a project manager you can fine tune the best practices and scale projects by replicating those best practices.”
Agile brings project management to marketing
Although the roots of agile marketing were born in the software development industry two decades ago, over time it has been adapted by project managers across functions because of its ability to identify and resolve potential roadblocks.
“Today, agile is used far beyond software teams,” said Wolfe. “[Agile has an] ability to get immediate feedback without hurting the development cycle or project pace. It is good for projects with delivery dates set in concrete.”
The implementation of agile in a marketing department allows for prioritization of tasks within the project and allows departments to remain strictly focused on essential project components. Brief daily meetings, and customized workflows and dashboards, allow for full project visibility to both internal and external stakeholders to assist with transparency in maintaining deadlines.
Agile marketing also allows employees to pivot into new positions like project management, project coordinator and other project-related roles with ease, without any prior participation. As an event manager, whose workload was suddenly reduced by the cancellation of in-person events, Ratajewska went through that exact shift in responsibilities with Wrike.
Communications should be centralized and shared
Agile marketing allows teams to achieve ambitious growth goals. The key is the constant, centralized communication required in the agile method. And, of course, centralized communications are perfect for the remote work culture that looks to be a long-term factor in business. Workflows for incoming requests and approvals are a key part of the internal communications that makes the agile method effective. That is balanced with duration status listings for tasks within the project to isolate tasks that have not advanced, thus slowing down the completion process.
Another best practice for internal communication in the agile method is a single location of information, especially that generated by team meetings, instead of each team member holding on to their own relevant information. This allows for quick duplication of a project framework for future use, making project management a lot easier for marketers and their teams.
“Expectations of marketing teams remain unchanged,” said Ratajewska. “Collaboration to work as a team and the ability to maintain clear communication will always be needed.”
Marketing work management: A snapshot
What it is: Marketing work management platforms help marketing leaders and their teams structure their day-to-day work to meet their goals on deadline and within budget constraints, all while managing resources and facilitating communication and collaboration. Functions may include task assignments, time tracking, budgeting, team communication and file sharing, among others.
Why it’s important today. Work environments have changed drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has heightened the need for work management tools that help marketers navigate these new workflows.
Marketers have been at work developing processes that allow them to work with those outside their own offices since marketing projects—campaigns, websites, white papers, or webinars—frequently involve working with outside sources.
Also, with marketers required to design interfaces, write content, and create engaging visual assets today, more marketers are adopting agile workflow practices, which often have features to support agile practices.
What the tools do. All of these changes have heightened the need for marketing work management software, which optimizes and documents the projects undertaken by digital marketers. They often integrate with other systems like digital asset management platforms and creative suites. But most importantly, these systems improve process clarity, transparency, and accountability, helping marketers keep work on track.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.