If you’re looking to adopt agile, before you go out and start learning software development like Scrum, you need to get aligned around the desired outcome you’re looking for when adopting.
We speak with Jim Ewel, Trainer, Coach, and Author of The Six Disciplines of Agile Marketing, about why agile is more than just a buzzword and gaining alignment within your organization.
Why agile marketing has not been well understood
For many, they look at agile as just another of the latest buzzwords. But what they don’t understand is how much is behind agile when it comes to the software development world — a place where agile has become the most accepted way to develop software.
“80% of developers practice agile today,” Jim explains.
One small piece
Another way people are misunderstanding agile: Assuming that it’s just about applying Scrum and other similar processes to marketing. It’s so much more.
Imagine using a laptop only as a calculator — yes it’s a feature, but not even close to its full capabilities. Agile is the same.
”If all you’re doing is using those processes, to get more things done and track what you’re doing and all that you’re missing out on a lot of the power of agile marketing.” — Jim Ewel
Jim shares two of the biggest components to agile marketing that most people overlook:
- Individualization: Valuing the individual over a one-size-fits-all approach so that they don’t feel like a number.
- Validated learning: Taking an iterative approach where a team launches a small campaign to learn something about their market rather than a large campaign and declaring victory.
Increasing the pace at which Twitter does testing
Part of the validated learning process that Jim emphasizes is pace. While two tests a week might not sound like a lot, building all the facebook ads, emails, and other elements into the test takes time. However, the small learnings gained from these tests are too valuable to overlook.
”Getting pace of your learning: The faster you learn, the more success you can have.” — Jim Ewel
Jim shares the example of Twitter back in the mid-2000s. Starting with one test and working upward, Twitter immediately saw a dramatic increase in their acquisition of new accounts. With every new test and increase of pace, the company acknowledged more and more learning — helping them meet their goals.
Shifting marketer mindset with cultural shift
It’s easy to see why success is so important to a company. But, it can make it quite difficult to shift mindset when it comes to testing. Just because a test doesn’t show the results that you had hoped for doesn’t mean the test was any less valuable.
According to Jim, marketers may be the most risk-averse of any group within a company. This is why it’s most important for them to adopt this change in thinking if they’re going to benefit from these tests. Otherwise, they might throw away crucial data.
Focusing on the right logistics with meetings
After a big event for donors, the reports will usually focus on logistics such as the quality of food or room. Instead, the conversation should be around how much they engaged their audience, did the audience respond the way they had hoped for, and whether the message was delivered correctly.
Jim suggests putting on multiple smaller events rather than one large yearly event in order to gather more information.
”If companies have multiple events a year, and they learn and get better from each event, they’ll be better than if they just improved over the course of 40 to 50 yearly events.” — Jim Ewel
Outcomes over output
Jim shares one last common mistake with agile marketing: Using it only with the purpose of getting more output. Quantity does not equal quality and it’s time for marketers to adopt the mindset. Once the focus shifts to outcome, a company can start to ask the question of why they want to adopt agile in the first place.
A key takeaway
No one will contend the idea that success isn’t important to a business. But when you can collect 40 to 50 years of data in one year simply by shifting mindset, it’s worth a conversation about adopting agile and using it to its full potential.
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