Celadon improves productivity and creativity through Agile marketing approach
In a bid to manage work requests more effectively, trucking company Celadon came across Agile marketing. Danielle Howe finds out how this new approach enabled the team to complete work 20–25% faster and reduce status meetings by 50%
Founded in 1985, Celadon is one of the largest transportation and logistics companies in North America, employing over 4000 associates worldwide. Just under a year ago, its marketing team was having to cope with the dual challenges of team cutbacks and an increasing workload.
Acting as an internal agency and inhouse marketing team, the marketing and creative services team of nine was supporting incoming requests from over 50 stakeholders. Work requests would come in via email, voicemail, sticky notes left on desks, and conversations in the corridors. The team was developing full campaigns based on requests and then having to start again from scratch because a stakeholder didn’t like an idea. With things evolving so quickly and the company's culture of change, they had to be more resilient and able to manoeuvre better without sacrificing productivity.
Could Agile be the answer?
The team relied on Wunderlist to keep track of all work requests, however there was no central place to communicate to stakeholders about the work and therefore no visibility on what was being done. Ben Green, senior marketing and creative services manager at Celadon, came across Agile marketing as a result of switching to Workfront’s work management software. He realised Agile could not only facilitate transparency across the marketing team, but also help them keep up with the increasing workload and keep stakeholders in the loop. He explains its immediate appeal: “We need the ability as a smaller team to be able to prevent rework and cut down the amount of project status update meetings, and these are all things that Agile seemed like it could do.”
Since implementing Agile, the team now prioritises projects in short bursts of work, called Sprints, and has a weekly stand-up meeting to discuss all Sprint work. It started by implementing a KanBan board and dividing all work into small chunks so that an entire digital and print campaign didn’t need to be completed at once. The team also uses Workfront’s Agile View, a feature that allows teams to plan work using a traditional top-down waterfall approach with an option to view and manage those projects and tasks in an Agile way.
Ben Green, senior marketing manager, Celadon
“We need the ability as a smaller team to be able to prevent rework and cut down the amount of project status update meetings, and these are all the things that Agile seemed like it could do”
Implementing Agile hasn’t been plain sailing for the team – making the transition to Agile ways of working while ensuring it doesn’t interrupt ongoing work has been a particular challenge. Ben explains: “The big challenge for me was transitioning – basically change management. I didn’t want the employees to notice a huge change… we’ve completely changed the way we work and I didn’t want it to become an interruptor for day-to-day business."
Another challenge for the Celadon marketing team has been sticking to the rituals of Agile – an important factor in ensuring its success. “I’m definitely still adjusting – on a weekly basis we miss our daily stand-up meeting – a key part of Agile working”, says Ben. He mentions that it seems counterintuitive, but ensuring these daily meetings happen makes a noticeable difference to the productivity of the team: “If you want to cut down on meetings, why go from a weekly meeting to daily meetings? I think it does [make a difference], because it gives me an idea of where we are with delays and what’s holding us back. I like to focus on the painpoints and what we can do to make stuff happen faster.”
Although Celadon has fewer resources now than a year ago, it has been able to keep up with a steadily increasing number of work requests and deliver faster on its objectives. The team now completes work 20–25% faster, and there are now 50% fewer status meetings, saving Celadon employees' time. There are fewer staff attending fewer project update meetings because all communication is centralised in the work management solution. With an Agile mindset and the Agile features in Workfront, the Celadon team has been able to reduce missteps by 25%. This all comes down to making sure a new creative concept fits the business need, before expanding it out into a full campaign.
Now, eight months down the line after having first moved to an Agile approach, Ben says: “Our turnaround time is faster and there are fewer mistakes because we now give requestors an early, quick idea of what to expect. They are impressed and we can move forward with more confidence.”
Wondering how Agile marketing could help your team? In this guide we remove the mystery that surrounds the practice and explain exactly what it is, whether it's right for you and your team, and how you can go about implementing an Agile approach.