How to determine the minimally viable launch: Getting started with the Agile Marketing Navigator

Work as an entire delivery team with your business stakeholders to quickly gain alignment.

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We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers in the article, A new way to navigate agile marketing. The navigator has four major components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-pieces for implementation. Over the next several weeks, we’ll dive into each piece and give you practical, actionable ways to use them at your company.

The Collaborative Planning Workshop is the first step in your agile marketing journey. There are four distinct pieces within that: Guidepoint, Brainstorm, Minimally Viable Launch, and Blueprint. Last week we took you through how to conduct a Brainstorm. Now, let’s take all of those generated ideas and determine how to determine what the Minimally Viable Launch should be.

Traditionally, marketers have worked using the “Big Bang” campaign approach, where planning was done up front, and marketing was released without any built-in time to inspect, adapt and make smart pivots. With today’s easy and instantaneous access to campaign performance data, agile marketing allows marketers to become real business leaders — taking what works and scaling up, looking for under-performing assets and stopping.


This way of thinking starts with the team and its business stakeholders having a shared understanding of what’s minimally viable — meaning what is just enough of the marketing campaign or plan to test and learn from, committing to just those items, and deciding later if the remaining ideas will come into play or not.

To get to this shared understanding, it should happen in real-time during the Collaborative Planning Workshop. After everyone has come up with a ton of ideas, now it’s time to figure out which ones are believed to have the biggest impact on the Guidepoint, which is what the team is striving to achieve.

One way to force these decisions is by giving a false timeline. The facilitator can say, “If the team only has two weeks, which items are the most important to tackle first?”

With a visualization tool such as Mural or Miro, a virtual team can draw a line and move around the ideas, with the agreed-upon most important ones falling above the line and the ones that can wait to go below the line.

Example: Minimally viable launch from a healthcare company

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Time box this activity so people don’t overthink it. The team can go back later and validate the effort and viability of the ideas, but they shouldn’t strive to get it perfect in a collaborative session. Here are some steps that you can follow:

Step 1) Organization

  • Spend 5 minutes organizing the ideas. 
  • Add headers to the ideas such as “Social Media” or “Advertising.”
  • Move the sticky notes to the appropriate headers.
  • Delete any duplicates.

Step 2) Prioritization

  • Spend 10-15 minutes prioritizing the ideas in each category by discussing them as a group and how well they align with the Guidepoint. 
  • The most impactful idea should go to the top of the column right below the header, then follow down the line in order of priority.

Step 3) Minimally viable launch

  • In this step, the team will determine the minimally viable launch. This is the time to discuss a shorter timeline or a more refined goal or target market to narrow down the ideas.
  • Time box this step to no more than 15 minutes.

By working as an entire delivery team with your business stakeholders, you’ll quickly gain alignment and be well on your way with agile marketing by thinking about minimally viable rather than a Big Bang approach.

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About the author

Stacey Ackerman
Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all."

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