Why leading an agile marketing organization requires a vision for change

Remind people of the “why” every single day to really inspire change.

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Leaders have many reasons for trying agile marketing, but most of the time they aren’t reasons that your employees care about. Also, if your organization has tried a lot of other processes or has had a lot of reorganizations, your people are likely to revolt against yet another process change being pushed on them.

As a leader, you need to give them a compelling reason why change is needed, and then you need to let them be a part of shaping that change.

When I ask most leaders why they want to begin agile marketing, I hear things like, “We need to get more work done,” or “We need to go faster” or “Everyone is trying agile marketing.” While those reasons may be true, they aren’t the types of rationales that motivate employees to get on board.

Dig deeper: Why collaboration and teamwork are essential in agile marketing

Change needs to be something that people will get excited about and it needs to solve a problem facing them today. By communicating this change with a compelling vision, you’re selling your organization on why they should make this change.

If you have other leaders that will be impacted by this shift, bring them together in a room to ponder the question, “What is the vision for this change?” Work collaboratively until you get something in writing that everyone agrees they can support.

Here are a few examples of good visions:

  • “Incorporating customer feedback into what we deliver is at the heart of everything we do.”
  • “We’re marketers who are innovative, responsive and collaborative based on changing customer needs.”
  • “We’re building empowered teams that we trust to deliver the right marketing at the right time.”
  • “We’re building a culture of expert marketers who we trust to find the desired customer solutions.”
  • “We are leaders who foster a growth mindset and empower teams to find the best marketing solutions.”
  • “Our company can only succeed with a collaborative, team-based approach where anyone can have good ideas.”

Now, if I’m a marketer at your company, I’d be pretty excited to work for a place that told me I could be empowered, be innovative with my ideas and be allowed to challenge ideas that aren’t what the customer needs. Wow, those visions are inspiring and powerful! It speaks to me so much more than a manager telling me we’re going to “do” agile marketing. Blah! Okay, agile marketing is really awesome, but I guarantee you not everyone will feel that way about a new way of working.

So start by crafting a compelling vision for change, and then share how you plan to support that vision. Make sure that it’s not just words. You need to live and breathe that vision day in and day out. Your team needs to see it, hear it, smell it (is that possible remotely)?

Post the vision statement at the bottom of your email signature and on your IM profile in your company’s shared workspaces. Remind people of the “why” every single day to really inspire change.

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."

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