Why doing less is more in agile marketing

Build a culture of doing less and providing more value.

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For years marketers have been scrambling to produce more content, leads and events. However, this excess mindset often leads to burnout with minimal business success. The teams that really nail agile marketing do less work with more focus on outcomes.

“Busy-ness” doesn’t equal business value

When numbers are soft, it’s natural for panic to set in and to respond with the need for more marketing. However, more marketing doesn’t necessarily improve sales numbers. In fact, if marketers are pressured to produce more, quality often suffers, and the business results are worse, not better. 

Companies that can take a step back and treat their marketers as consultants, not just executors, find less output is needed to achieve the same business goals. 

Fuel for your marketing strategy.

Collaborate from the beginning

Agile marketing uses a Collaborative Planning Workshop to bring together the stakeholders requesting a project or campaign and the marketing team responsible for it. By gathering all of the team, not just leaders or strategists, everyone is aligned on what outcomes are desired.

This workshop should begin with the project’s business owner coming to the team with goals or metrics the company is trying to achieve. The two parties should then create a shared Guidepoint, a success metric around the work that aligns with the larger business goal.

From there, everyone should do a creative brainstorm on what tactics would support the Guidepoint, generating as many creative ideas as possible without limits. After this, the group decides which ideas best align with the Guidepoint and agree on a minimally viable subset of work to do first. All other ideas may come later.

Stop the floodgates

Doing less and getting more business value with agile marketing, requires looking at how work gets requested. If anyone can submit work for the teams to work on, you’ve opened up the floodgates. So what do successful organizations do to manage the madness? The best companies don’t allow work submissions to happen without conversations around business goals. It shouldn’t be automatically considered if work comes in through a workflow management tool. It’s best to avoid these automated processes altogether because they overwhelm teams. However, if you don’t think that’s possible and work comes in via the creative brief, have those submitted only as extra supporting documentation following a Collaborative Planning Workshop, not beforehand.

Empower teams to stop low performing work

The teams closest to the marketing should have full authority to stop marketing that isn’t acheiving desired results. Teams must have the time, space and access to gather performance data and discuss it. Then, they should be able to cancel low performers without needing external approval. This allows teams to double down on the work that will give better outcomes and not just execute something because someone put it in a brief.

When we stop overloading marketers, give them a seat at the table from the beginning and allow them to stop low-performing work, we can build a culture of doing less work and gaining more value with agile marketing.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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."

Fuel for your marketing strategy.