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3 simple questions to make your marketing team agile | B2B Marketing

Still questioning if your team is agile? Joanna Betes provides the questions you should be asking yourself

Agile, agile, agile. It’s all you hear about across every industry in the tech world. According to Deloitte,


of software companies say that agile is important. Unfortunately, Deloitte has also shown that only 6% of companies today say they’re “highly agile.”

This is true for marketing teams, which struggle to use agile methodologies to improve the speed, productivity, adaptability, and responsiveness of the marketing process, both internally and externally.

So how do more marketing teams make the shift to being highly agile?

To start, it helps to go back to the roots of agile methodology. Nearly 20 years ago, at the Snowbird resort in Utah, USA, a group of software engineers gathered to create the

Manifesto for Agile Software Development

. The manifesto called for collaborating with customers and cutting back on development cycles, and it upended the way technology companies work, including the field of marketing.

To best implement agile methodology, marketing teams should answer three questions.

1. Who is the target audience?

When it comes to agile software development, the relationship to the customer is key. “Our highest priority,” the Manifesto for Agile Software reads, “is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.”

The same is true for agile marketing. That is, the highest priority is to satisfy the prospective customer through continually delivering marketing materials that lead prospects to a purchasing decision. This requires careful research, but it also requires constantly updating your understanding of your prospects so you can effectively exceed their needs.

The Manifesto for Agile Software says to “welcome changing requirements, even late in development,” and an agile marketing team must be able to do the same. That is, the team must be flexible and nimble enough to adapt their materials to new information as well as ever-changing demands from prospects.

It’s not enough to use survey data from half a decade ago and call it good. Instead, the point of an agile methodology is to be constantly updating your understanding of your prospects – both qualitatively via personal interviews and quantitatively via data and analytics.

2. What is the intention?

At times it might seem like process and intention are completely separate – that the way you do something isn’t tied to why you’re doing it. But in practice that’s never the case. No matter what the project is, the process can’t help but be influenced by the intent. That’s why the Manifesto for Agile Development requires its adherents to “build projects around motivated individuals.”

Motivated individuals are those who recognise that what they do matters to society. Their work gives them as a sense of purpose, which Angela Duckworth says is “the intention to contribute to the well-being of others.”

People with purpose are constantly refining their work processes to achieve real results. They work in an agile method not because it’s the latest fad, but because they know that if they’re not constantly adapting to the needs of their prospective customers, their intention is flawed, and they aren’t contributing to the well-being of others. That’s why process and intention are inherently tied together.

3. How have we changed?

One simple way to tell if your team is highly agile or not is to ask how much you’ve changed in the past year. “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective,” the Manifesto for Agile Software reads. It adds that after the team reflects, it “adjusts its behavior accordingly.”

In other words, if you aren’t changing from quarter to quarter in light of evolving technologies, prospective customer demands, and new insights, chances are that you aren’t very agile. You aren’t paying attention to how the market is evolving.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should completely scrap your primary messaging documents every quarter. And it absolutely doesn’t mean that you should change simply for the sake of change – because you’re bored of the flavour of the month and randomly want to shake things up.

Instead, change in this instance means to be willing to adopt enough flexibility that you’re able to refine your approach in light of new information. You’re not stuck in the past in age that’s moving faster than ever. You’re not crippled by old ways of thinking. In a word, you’re



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