Agile in Action: Creating a Marketing Transformation

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As organizations shift their marketing mix towards digital, they face pressures to be faster, more accountable and collaborative with the lines of business they support. While adjusting to the new environment, marketing leaders are discovering a wealth of best practices from “agile.”

But what does agile in the Marketing context really mean? We have heard agile used in disciplines such as software development, but in digital marketing, agile ushers in a fundamental mindset shift towards analyzing market tactics and optimizing — continuously. Digital tactics are measurable on most every level, equipping marketers with the data required to assess where they are today and prioritize what activities are most impactful. Armed with detailed insights, a cross-functional team can test tactics and evaluate results in near real-time. Based on the findings, the group iterates to improve outcomes and improve return on marketing investments. The process is continuous, building and refining the outcomes for future iterations.

With the speed of digital, many organizations aspire to be “agile” these days. But to be successful and scale, a cultural shift needs to occur. The organization needs to truly and fully embody the values and principles set forth by the agile methodology. Over the past few years IBM iX has partnered with clients to kick off their agile transformation. Marketing organizations have recognized the growing need to transform marketing operations to connect with customers in a more meaningful way, being customer centric, data driven and outcome oriented.

This shift to a new way of thinking, working, and collaborating takes time. There will be early wins, late wins, and lots of learnings. There will be operational, organization, and fundamental changes needed prior to adoption. IBM iX offers the expertise, coaching and design to get there.

Transformation in Action

  1. Build a culture that believes in openness, trust, respect, and courage.  The precedent of how the organization will work and the goals of the initiative should be set by the leaders of the marketing organization.  When setting goals for the marketing teams, leadership must encourage teams to be transparent, identify blockers, and learn quickly.  When leadership leads by example, the activation teams more quickly follow suit.
  2. Empower teams to run as self-starting tribes. Once individuals have a foundational understanding of the values and principles of agile, the team dynamics that lead to success, and are equipped with the relevant insights, they are enabled to execute the activities to achieve the desired outcomes. Team members should feel ownership in their role on the team and feel responsible for prioritizing and completing the agreed upon tasks to drive forward. The composition of the team may vary and flex based on scope and objectives, but no matter the structure, milestones must be clear and shared.
  3. Be data-driven, customer-centric, and outcome focused. The marketing team must have a clear sense of who they are targeting, the problem being solved and what needs to be accomplished in each iteration. The outcomes identified for the iteration must be achievable and measurable within the set time. When prioritizing and setting objectives, the team needs near real-time data and insights along with the ability to clearly know when an outcome has been achieved.
  4. Habitually iterate.  Live by the values and principles, apply them consistently, and iterate continuously.  Wins along the way will include a noticeable improvement in cycle times, a decrease in the number of blockers, and a feeling of increased empowerment in the work they are doing.

Building and enabling an agile organization requires full support from leadership, employees, and business partners.  IBM iX can help your team get started on your transformation and guide you through the strategy, technology, and business design to create better experiences for your customers.

Talk with us at Adobe Summit in Booth #301 and start planning your strategy at our Design Thinking station.

Not attending Adobe? See what else we have done for our clients.

Partner, Digital Strategy & Interactive

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