Form your agile marketing teams around the customer
How work gets delivered by different agile teams
Agile marketing is all about putting customers at the center of everything we do. Yet, so many marketing organizations struggle to form teams this way. One of the biggest benefits of agile marketing is being able to have teams that can deliver meaningful experiences to customers, getting away from silos that cause us to have tunnel vision.
While there’s no right or wrong way to form an agile marketing team, there are a few recipes for success that I’ve observed over the years that work better than others.
Funnel teams are formed around how the customer engages with your brand. This works if you have multiple agile teams and you form different pods related to lead generation, consideration, sales and retention. The challenge, however, is making sure that all of the teams have a line of communication built in with one another so that the entire customer journey is understood.
Agile has a meeting called Scrum of Scrums where a representative from each team comes together to communicate what’s happening across all of the teams. This is typically done as a 15 minute standup a few times a week.
Persona teams are built from your company’s primary customers that you’re trying to reach. If you’re working at a health insurance company, you may have some distinct persona groups such as human resources professionals, employees, small business owners or medical personnel.
By centering teams around these major persona categories, each team gets to really dive deeply into their unique needs and has a full picture of the customers experience, reducing the risk that a prospective customer is hit up by multiple people in your company and, potentially, causing them to tune you out.
Product teams are the tried-and-true way that software development teams have worked for nearly two decades. If you’re part of a product marketing group, this is a natural alignment. Other marketers can benefit by organizing around the product as well, especially if you have multiple products and unique customers and ways that you market to each product.
Service teams are marketing groups that provide in-house agency services to their company. We often see teams like this made up of graphic designers or content writers. While these types of teams may be necessary if you have a small number of people supporting a large organization, you should form service teams with caution.
The problem with service teams are that they often create a dependency for all of the other teams, delaying time to get marketing out the door. If you have a company with six product teams and one service team, all six product teams may have to wait in line for graphic design work.
The ideal scenario is for designers, writers, social media specialists and any other type of marketer to form cross-functional teams that can deliver marketing from strategy to execution with minimal reliance on people outside the team. This is how agile marketers are able to deliver campaigns much more rapidly than having to go from department to department.
Agile Teams Don’t Require Company Reorganization
There’s a big misconception that agile marketing teams are going to require people to report differently and to have to restructure where they sit on the company organizational chart. The teams or pods for agile marketing are simply how work gets delivered.
It still makes a lot of sense for graphic designers to report to a Creative Director and other commonly formed hiring scenarios. The reason this is still important is because career development, best practices and standards for a skillset are still needed and valued.
The main difference when forming a cross-functional team is that a designer would sit on an agile marketing team with people from different skill sets, and work would not be assigned by the boss, but through the team’s product backlog.
So while the Creative Director may find it a little strange to not assign work, their role becomes more strategic, future-oriented and about developing people’s skills.
Cross-functional team members should regularly meet with their same-skilled counterparts to provide consistency and quality across all teams, learn from each other and nourish that peer-to-peer relationship.
When forming agile marketing teams, think about the best way that you can deliver value to your customers from a small group of people. The smaller the team and the more empowered and diverse they are with skills, the faster they’ll be able to deliver value to customers.