Agile Marketing

How agile marketing will make you a better marketer

How agile marketing will make you a better marketer

How agile marketing will make you a better marketer

How agile marketing will make you a better marketer...  

It is likely that most project managers in the tech industry have heard the term ‘agile’. If you haven’t, then sprints, stand-ups, reviews and retros might just sound like techno-waffle. But don’t be fooled by the jargon, agile marketing is actually a simple and effective approach for marketing teams to take, and it will make you a much better marketer as a result.  

What is agile marketing? 

Rather than a methodology, agile marketing is a mindset – one that is open and embraces collaboration and learning. 

In practice, an agile approach uses short, fixed time periods of planned activity (usually 1-4 weeks) known as Sprints. Each sprint is an iterative cycle that breaks down a large project into more manageable bite-size pieces. Within these sprints, activity focuses on continuous improvement using data insights, as well as looking at ways to adapt, problem-solve and learn along the way. At the end of each sprint, there is a Sprint Review and Retrospective, which is a chance to evaluate progress and ensure mistakes aren’t repeated.  

One of the most important drivers for success in agile marketing is effective collaboration and making use of cross-functional teams. Traditional ways of working tend to resist change and avoid experimentation. Often there are organisational silos and step-by-step processes which are followed to an end-point, offering little room for flexibility to iterate along the way. This risks spending lots of time and money on a big bang idea that fails to deliver, but you don’t know that result until the damage is done. 

Why should I implement agile marketing? 

Insights

There is plenty of evidence that suggests agile marketing is the right approach. In the 2021 Bright annual B2B marketing survey, 75% of respondents said they adopted agile marketing and were able to respond faster and adapt at pace. 43% also achieved faster time-to-market. Whilst 60% of traditional marketers still need to make better use of their data to respond to ongoing disruption – agile marketing proved the most effective way to achieve this. 

Continual improvement 

The ethos of test and learn with fast feedback loops provide the foundation for ensuring success. If something isn’t working… test, adapt or discard it. This reduces risk and shows you are focused on achieving results. 

Improved team culture 

As teams work closer together with regular open communication and transparency, it means individuals are supported and everyone within a team knows what is going on so issues are resolved promptly. Agile marketing methods help marketers gain better visibility of their tasks and expectations for delivery. As a result, happy employees are more productive! 

How will agile marketing make me a better marketer? 

Get stuff done quicker 

To work with agility, you are working at pace. Regular stand ups update on task progress, their risks and issues, and highlights blockers to be resolved and actioned faster. You deliver outcomes within each sprint, which shows tangible progress towards your goals. How many times have you had a campaign or branding project drag on for weeks and weeks with no progress? Agile marketing forces momentum by its approach. 

Achieve better results 

By being data driven and using the insights to inform your decisions, you strive for continuous improvement. You won’t need to deal with the ‘In my opinion…’ conversation, when you have the facts and figures to justify your decisions. Plus, with the sprint cycles you will see exactly how close you are to meet your goals and adjust activity accordingly along the way. Constantly learning is good for your project, as well as your personal marketing expertise. 

Stay focused and organised 

It is a myth that an agile approach is unplanned or disorganised. When putting agility into practice, the process ensures that you are always thinking ahead, but also responding to new information. You feel in control, as you have a plan, but you’re still ready to adapt and adjust as required. 

What could get in your way? 

Organisational culture 

Pursuing an adaptive and iterative approach means that you probably don’t know what the end state is going to look like. It can be uncomfortable for some to start with the minimum viable activity, rather than defining the perfectly polished solution from the outset. 

Legacy controls 

Typical hierarchical control doesn’t work in agile marketing. Instead, it’s all about working collaboratively, with leadership focused on supporting and empowering teams to succeed. Replacing old style vanity metrics with open, transparent communications and a culture of learning. 

Risk adversity 

Some people don’t like the idea of failure. Just because something didn’t work, doesn’t mean it has no value. Testing and learning means that risks can be responded to and new things can be tried. The key is to use the learnings to not fail the same way twice.  

 

So, while there may be a few obstacles, the benefits of agile marketing, both to you personally as well as your organisation are plentiful. Taking an agile approach will position you as a leading, results driven marketer who knows how to plan and adapt effectively to achieve success. 

If you would like to introduce agile marketing into your organisation, please contact us about our Agile Marketing training or marketing support. 

Kristi RoperHow agile marketing will make you a better marketer
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Four ways agile marketing accelerates company growth

Four ways agile marketing accelerates company growth

Networks help businesses survive. Getting the clients you don’t know, that’s how businesses thrive 

Marketing acts as a business accelerator by reinforcing sales efforts to push beyond existing networks and generate a new pipeline of quality leads. Your personal network will help your business survive but seeking clients beyond this will enable your business to thrive. Here are four ways agile marketing will help you achieve growth.  

1.  Refine your value proposition 

It doesn’t matter how amazing your offering is, if the messaging to present this to the market doesn’t instantly catch your target audience’s attention, then you’ve lost them without even showing your work. A value proposition is a promise of value and is arguably the most important part of your overall marketing messaging. This needs to be a clear statement that tells prospects why they should invest in you. 

Nobody wants the first thing they read about a brand to be a long-winded evaluation of something unrelated to the core offerings. People want to know how you’ll save them time or money, or where they can find some tasty chicken. And that’s why the following brands have thrived. 

Use Uber and you’ll get a ‘ride at the touch of a button’. Choose L’Oreal because ‘you’re worth it’. Head to the KFC, and you know you’ll leave with a ‘finger licking good’ meal. 

All these brands have spent time clearly defining their product or service offering. They have developed a unique value proposition, branded it, marketed it, and capitalised on it. All things that fall into a marketer’s remit In in the words of Kevin Hochman, brand president and chief concept officer for KFC: “When Kentucky Fried Chicken was at its best and growing the fastest, the Colonel and his values were at the centre of everything we did. … Those values are critical to what makes Kentucky Fried Chicken so great.” 

But what happens when your business has a little more meat on the bones and can’t be served deep fried in a bucket? 

“Marketing is invaluable in helping businesses to explain their services concisely, so that someone easily understands what you do and why they should buy from you – which is of course key to helping your business grow” – Steve Anderson, Managing Partner at Capitalise. 

In short, take time defining the values that make your business such a tempting service – it’s what separates you from your competition. Once established, amplify your value proposition to targeted prospects in a way that resonates with them long after they’ve engaged. In doing so, you’ll remove unnecessary hurdles and instead, give them every reason to invest. 

Read more analysis from industry experts in our eBook:  “Marketing as an accelerator” 

2.  Build a pipeline 

Less is sometimes more – even in the world of business. 

Forrester – a market research company – found that 99% of leads never convert to customers. While high numbers look impressive on paper, sales need revenue, not thousands of cold leads in the top of a funnel. This shift from quantity to quality in the B2B space is what prompted the evolution from lead generation to pipeline marketing and now maximisation of customer lifetime value. 

Rather than focusing on generating new leads, pipeline marketing concentrates on delivering customers. It does this by aligning marketing and sales’ decision making and goals with revenue generation – not campaign diagnostics. 

The pipeline approach is about specifically targeting the customers you want, and those who will benefit from your offering, rather than exhausting your efforts on everybody who owns a computer or email account. Paul Beaumont, Growth Director at Equiteq, views the pipeline as an extension of the value proposition; “once you’ve defined the value your business offers, you can be clear about the clients you’ll market to, and your messaging”.  

It’s also worth noting that when it comes to lead prospecting, the more successful businesses don’t buy their fuel from the pump. They also don’t rely solely on personal networks. Instead, they build and nurture a pipeline to maintain velocity in their sales stream. They keep their database up to date, too.  

According to LeadGenius data, more than one-third of a business’s contacts become outdated each year, with data becoming dormant at a rate of more than three percent each month. While GDPR gave companies a good reason to audit their database, cleaning data is a necessary evil that needs to be completed regularly. Not only does it keep marketing and sales efforts meaningful, it allows you to effectively monitor the health of your sales life cycle and tweak where necessary. 

3.  Establish your brand – inside and out 

While consistency in external-facing work is self-explanatory, internal marketing is just as important when it comes to sales. Why? It’s about recognising the foundations of your business, building a brand on those values and remaining true to these as you grow. 

  • It establishes a powerful emotional connection between your team and your products/services 
  • It creates staff loyalty, as you’ll give them a reason to buy into the company vision 
  • Without that connection, it’s likely your employees will undermine the expectations set by your advertising 

It’s often easier to live and breathe certain company’s values when these have remained mostly unchanged during a company’s history. However, when a company experiences a fundamental change (new management, acquisition, new team structure, etc.) most experience some form of internal resistance. 

Few people like change, and during this time, employees will be seeking direction from senior employees. Seniors on the other hand will be hoping to squash unproductive rumourmongering. These turning points are ideal opportunities for an internal branding campaign to direct people’s energy in a positive direction, to harbour a consistency of thinking across the business and to vividly articulate the value proposition. 

4.  Attract buyers 

If your company is already making the right noise in the marketplace, it’s likely buyers will come to you with interest. But this is just the first hurdle. 

Buyers often make judgements based on first impressions and gut instincts. Expect this and ensure the complexities of your business’s “story” are captured in marketing materials – not just the financial statements. Without presenting a strong narrative, buyers are unable to understand that last’s year numbers were down because a squirrel caused a company-wide blackout, costing the company in downtime –  it happens more than you think. 

Mike Altendorf notes, “buyers will often look for businesses that have an effective and proven marketing strategy and delivery model – but it’s also key to attracting the attention of the buyer in the first place.” 

Another important factor for buyers is the longevity of the business they’re about to buy. This includes having confidence in revenue streams and staff retention. 

A company is far more attractive to a potential buyer when their bottom line doesn’t depend on only one or two large clients. Having a holistic marketing strategy in place shows that you have considered activities that drive growth and new business opportunities. Using an agile marketing approach shows alignment between your marketing and sales team – a task your new investors will not have to orchestrate. A healthy pipeline is equally influential as it will demonstrate movement in the sales stream and pinpoint successful tactics to build on. 

Strong internal branding and communication can also bring confidence to investors, as employees are more likely to be loyal to the brand, rather than to individuals. This is important because potential buyers need to know that key employees won’t jump ship after a sale, and that the business is capable of growing with new management or in your absence. 

Accelerate with agile marketing  

Using our unique capabilities and agile marketing methodology, Bright helps build integrated campaigns and marketing transformation projects that drive success for your business in both the short and long term. We enable businesses to accelerate growth quickly and profitably — triggering a positive impact, without the disruption. 

For more in depth analysis on how you can leverage marketing to enable fast growth, download our latest ebook:  “Marketing as an accelerator” 

Elliot MundinFour ways agile marketing accelerates company growth
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5 reasons why agile marketing adoption will boom in 2021

5 ways agile marketing is set to grow in 2021

5 reasons why agile marketing adoption will boom in 2021

By Natalie Cannatella, Content and Communications Strategist

One of the biggest marketing trends this year was the growth of agile marketing. According to the ‘3rd State of Agile Marketing Report’, agile marketing adoption went up from 32% in 2019 to 42% in 2020Almost all of the growth is due to a reduction in the percentage of marketers identifying with the traditional waterfall model of marketing management. At Bright, agile marketing has been at the heart of our founding principles and processes since our inception. Here are five reasons why we believe agile marketing is set to grow even further in 2021. 

Pandemic panic   

Covid impacted pretty much every aspect of both our personal and working lives last year. Businesses in particular have faced disruption, uncertainty and a constantly changing landscape. This meant that the best marketing plans quickly went out the window as many businesses went into crisis mode. In these conditions, adopting an agile approach to marketing, where marketing departments could adapt quickly to changing circumstances, suddenly became more important than ever before. Even though we have (thankfully) now started the rollout of the first approved vaccine in the UK, the future remains uncertain and impossible to predict. For those who adopted agile marketing practices in 2020, there is certainly no going back. For those who have yet to embrace agile marketing, 2021 is the year to dive in as businesses continue to navigate their way through the pandemic and beyond. 

Data is king 

We live in a world where almost everything we do online is tracked, and organisations today are set up to capture volumes of data about their customers and prospects. Businesses that can fully capture, understand and utilise that data will gain a competitive edge. Data and agile marketing go handinhand. Having access to real-time data – and being able to analyse it  is one of the key pillars of agile marketing. It’s an approach that focuses on making decisions that are always driven by data, and businesses looking to thrive in a post-Covid world will want to ensure they are doing this effectively. 

Pervasiveness of agile  

The test, learn, improve model is now well established and accepted beyond the technology team. By applying this model to marketing processes and campaigns, businesses are able to make tweaks and amendments to optimise activity based on data to cultivate continuous improvement — another reason why we think businesses are likely to extend agile practices to their marketing function in 2021. 

Banish mediocrity 

One of the things all businesses have had to do this year is think creatively in order to survive. This most definitely extends to the marketing department. In 2020, mediocre marketing campaigns just didn’t cut it, and in 2021, standout creative campaigns will be another tool organisations use as they try to recover from the previous year and get back to growthAgile marketing supports teams in creating more effective standout campaigns that support your KPIs and business objectives. 

Need for speed 

Doing things faster, and better, than your competitors are the main ingredients for business success. Businesses are realising that agile marketing practices can significantly increase time-to-market. Getting those data-driven, creative marketing campaigns out to the market quickly, gives you that competitor-beating edge. 

Are you ready to embrace agile and accelerate your marketing? Drop us an email at hello@brightinnovation.co.uk  

Natalie Quinn5 reasons why agile marketing adoption will boom in 2021
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3 ways to inject agility in FinTech marketing

Exploring the power of agile marketing in driving FinTech marketing success

3 ways to inject agility in FinTech marketing

How does agile marketing drive FinTech marketing success?

If you’ve taken a look at our Traditional vs. Agile marketing infographic, you’re aware of some of the key benefits of agile marketing — but what’s in it for FinTechs and why now, during such a time of disruption?

Even prior to 2020, opening doors in Financial Services was a common barrier to FinTech’s lead generation success. But now, whilst the world is (still) awash with uncertainty and we’re pivoting on the edge of a recession, hammering home the marketing message agreed on in January 2020’s strategy session just isn’t going to support the pipeline. The world has changed, priorities have adjusted, and they will continue to do so as things settle down and the markets stabilise.

With Agile marketing, you can respond and adapt to what’s happening in the industry – staying poised and ready to optimise at a moment’s notice. The message your target audience will receive from a data-driven strategy is one of relevance, support and benefit to the current climate. The groundwork and elements involved in a full agile marketing mix are invaluable to the success of a campaign and the impact on the sales pipeline.

Here’s how to inject agility into your FinTech’s marketing activity to get more leads and boost your performance in the financial services market.

1.    Fine-tune your value statement

No matter how awesome your tech may be, if your value isn’t clear and focused in addressing the pain points and challenges of your prospects, it’s sure to get lost — leaving your audience feeling unimpressed and disengaged.

To form a powerful value statement, start taking note of the problems you solve and the solutions you deliver for your clients, as well as the benefits your tech and team offer from start to finish. People want to hear about people helping other people — Tell your story and make sure it’s backed up with stats and real-world evidence.

 

2.    Calculate your total addressable market

Don’t let data be the bottleneck to reaching your prospects. Define your target audience, create personas, then build and enrich the data to ensure your FinTech’s marketing efforts reach the contacts you want to engage.

Although at times this step can seem like a gruelling manual task, skipping it will only serve to limit your outreach, leaving you missing out on contacting key influencers and decision makers that may need your firm’s offering. Invest in the time and tools necessary to keep your database up to date and give you room to expand on markets where you’re a little thin on the ground.

 

3.    Embrace the power of content

Yes, content is still king. People don’t buy what you’re selling straight away — they like to browse, research, read a few blogs, or watch a few videos. They want to know that 30-minute call you’re asking for is going to be worth their time, so make it clear what you’re all about. Sharing content that illustrates your employees’ talent, your company’s timely offering and positive testimonials from happy clients can show prospects what they’ve been missing. Their personal data is precious, and they won’t give their email address away for nothing!

Use your data insights and audience personas to brainstorm topics relevant to your prospects’ interests and pain points, then discuss with your subject matter experts from across the business. Each piece of content should have a clear goal in mind.

 

Explore more FinTech marketing tips

These three tips are just the tip of the iceberg to transforming your marketing. If you want to dive in deeper and learn how to fully adopt agile marketing at your FinTech, find out more and get in touch. With a decade of experience in the world of FinTech, we understand what it takes to meet your business goals through stand-out marketing campaigns and projects.

 

Natalie Burrows is a driven agile marketing manager with a flare for FinTech and large corporate projects. With 8 years’ experience working in FinTech and Financial Services, she’s focussed on breaking the mould with new ideas and driving business outcomes.

Lydia Kirby3 ways to inject agility in FinTech marketing
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Are you getting through?

Are you getting through?

Critical success factors at the sharp end of communication

It is difficult to think of a time where there has been greater risk and turmoil in the world, especially in the last 50 years, and this creates a difficult position for those charged with communicating to employees, partners or clients.

Of course, Coronavirus is just one example of business disruption, anyone remember Brexit? Highlighting why the ability to communicate in tough times is so important.

The damage and cost in terms of lost clients, talent and reputation of poor communication practice is unquantifiable. High performance businesses know that clear, consistent and timely communication is key to business resilience and even more so during times of rapid change. Here are my top five critical success factors for communicating successfully, now and as we move through the downturn:

Don’t stop communicating

Never stop communicating, that’s it. Whenever faced with ambiguity there’s a natural reaction not to say anything until we are absolutely clear on our response. Employees and clients will usually already be aware of the issues, starting to worry about the impact and hypothesising on how best to deal with the situation. Even if you can share very little factual information, employees need to know their leaders are scenario planning and working on solutions. When things are uncertain that is when communication is most important. If there’s silence from the top, people will fill in the gaps themselves and it’s unlikely to be in a positive way.

Never speculate

Be as transparent as you can be. No one will expect you to have all the answers, but they will need to feel that you are sharing what you can and being honest about what you don’t know yet. Of course, the flip side is that it is equally important that you don’t feel pressurised into communicating something that you’re not totally confident about. If you are not 100% sure something is true, don’t share it. Validate your information before communicating it – never speculate! Let people know that you’re working on getting an answer and will come back to them as soon as you have it. Drip feeding progress updates is a good way to minimise frustration and provide reassurance to your team, clients and prospects whilst you fully understand the situation.

Show empathy

It’s important that communications are as much about giving people the information they want to hear, as it is about the information you want to tell them. Understanding where the areas of highest concern are, and ensuring you are providing people with the information that you can around those areas, will demonstrate understanding, empathy and ensure your comms are authentic. Have a plan and be upfront about when they will receive further information to keep them informed.

Take the information to the people

Too many organisations hide behind email. Although it is an effective channel of communication it should not be the default for everything. 

When people are worried, face-to-face is the best way to engage and when that’s not possible you need to think about how you can use tools like video conferencing to ‘bring people into the room’. The use of video conference has vastly increased since COVID-19 and as human beings we rely on sight more than any other sense so it’s not surprising. People are far more likely to trust a message when they can see the person delivering it and it can offer the opportunity for QA and sharing ideas that will help you plan further communications and really understand what the concerns are for your people or clients.

Digital channels should be understood and used to reach key audiences to enable effective communications. Comms leaders need to become masters of data and insight so they can understand performance through reporting on engagement across digital tools including email and collaboration tools such as teams, slack and intranet traffic to underpin recommendations for the next wave of comms or tactics to improve results.

Build in agility

Resilience and flexibility are key. As we all know, situations can change quickly so your communications planning needs to be agile. Introduce new ways of working so that your comms team and key stakeholders in the business can work as a cross functional team to adapt quickly, respond appropriately to ever changing situations and developing a test, learn and improve culture. Use data and insight to understand the performance of key channels, how well you are reaching your audience and inform your next communication activities to adapt your plan and ensure those that need to be informed and act on critical information, do so.

Of course, there is still the challenge of a recession ahead and those businesses who have the greatest agility and ability to adapt at pace will be most likely to survive and thrive. These are interesting times for everyone and having the right narrative and communicating with clarity so everyone understands key information, the role they should play and the actions needed is going to be critical in determining how well your organisation will be able to navigate through the downturn.

Tough times don’t last but agile businesses do. Find out more about agile marketing and communications and how it can help you.

Alexandra JefferiesAre you getting through?
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The 3 Building Blocks of Agile Marketing

The 3 Building Blocks of Agile Marketing

Although many forward-thinking and innovative marketers are already reaping the benefits of the more efficient, agile way of working, with 71% of our survey respondents adopting agile techniques to help them get to market faster this is a common first reaction when discussing agile marketing transformation. You might understand the concept in the general sense, but few can identify what agile marketing actually is, and perhaps even more importantly, what it isn’t.  

Incorporating agility is not about making quick, unfounded decisions as fast as possible to meet a deadline, but about strong, data-driven decision making at pace reacting to market change and continuously learning for optimised results that provide key takeaways for the next sprint of the project. 

There are three core aspects of the agile approach, all of which work together in a successful agile marketing delivery. Check out each component in terms of why it’s important to marketing as a wider function as well as why it is a focus of marketing with agility and pace. If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of what agile is, before deep diving into its components, see our introductory guide. 

Creating the culture 

As the first building block, People is one of the most overlooked and underrated assets of any business. Your team are the driving force that pushes your business forwardan unlimited creative resource and original idea generator that knows no bounds and a big part of the products or services you provide.   

When incorporating agility into your marketing strategy, it is people that will deliver to deadlines, meet campaign KPIs and ultimately ensure the success of this project and beyond.  

The core principles that drive success in an agile team are ownership and transparency. Individuals take responsibility for what they produce, avoiding siloed work by providing transparency to the rest of the team, or Agile Hub.   

Before any project begins, a culture of change and learning with team members is established, creating togetherness, alignment and a positive attitude towards achieving a shared objective. Stakeholder mapping is conducted so as to understand existing processes, dividing roles and responsibilities in a strategic, efficient way. With the internal marketing team’s skills and capabilities reviewed to identify gaps and to help identify how agile marketing experts, such as Bright, can best support throughout the project.  

The natural pace of agile marketing makes it an exciting environment for employees who are willing to embrace a move away from a more traditional approach and they are likely to come away with invaluable learnings for future projects. Without realising, you’ve created a more attractive place to work.  

 Pragmatic process and ways of working 

The second element of an agile marketing strategy is process. As we work towards the set KPIs, embedding new ways of working and improving performance is key.  

Within the sphere of B2B, marketing professionals can be all-too quick to deny the flaws of current processes, instead looking to blame external factors for underperformance. In fact, it’s often only when a project is exposed to a fresh pair of eyes, exploring the unexplored, that holes, flaws and areas for improvement within existing processes come to light. 

When adopting an agile approach, you actively seek and identify issues and risks, as well as the dependencies and barriers that can affect the outcome. By being proactive, you not only minimise the likelihood of risks becoming issues, but you also have a better idea about dependencies and can establish effective workarounds as and when required.   

By applying the test, learn, iterate model to developing processes, businesses are able to make tweaks and amendments to optimise activity based on data combined with previous experience to establish a closed feedback loop and cultivate continuous improvement. In addition, workplaces encourage a culture of learning within teams, empowering internal teams and providing the know-how to continually achieve fantastic results.  

Optimised technology and data driven decisioning  

Technology is seamlessly integrated throughout the marketing function, enabling pace, data visibility and informed decision making. This may sound too ideological; tech is often seen as a barrier and too regularly large investments are made only to be side-lined by excel docs, but it’s the third and final building block.  

Technology has revolutionised the marketing function to allow for capabilities marketing managers could only dream of a few years ago. According to a report from 2018, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each and every day, a number that is likely to have accelerated along with the growth of the Internet of Things.  2018, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each and every day, a number that is likely to have accelerated along with the growth of the Internet of Things.  

In order to inform your strategies and create data-driven decisions, it’s essential to put the right tech in place to gain actionable insight. Avoid vanity stats and focus on what can effect change in your results, having a large number of visits to a landing page has little value if they don’t engage with any content on the page or convert.  

Adopting agile ways of working removes the perceived barriers outlined above, recognising the role played by technology, championing the use of automation, CRM and project management software. Map your existing martech, identify the gaps and create an adoption plan to ensure your technology is being used effectively to support the wider marketing team. Learn more about how you can optimise your technology with our recent blog post, Making the most of your martech stack   

Could your team benefit from an agile marketing approach? Contact us today to talk further about your current marketing strategy and how the fantastic team here at Bright will be able to help.

Lydia KirbyThe 3 Building Blocks of Agile Marketing
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Agile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive

Agile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive

The Bright webinar, Agile marketing in action: Adapting to survive and thrivewent live on Wednesday, 29 April, 11am and safe to say we loved the experience! The virtual event attracted marketing professionals across a diverse range of industries, and it was a brilliant opportunity for us to drive the conversation on all things agile.  

So, What is Agile Marketing?

The session kicked off, after brief introductions to speakers, by defining the term agile, exploring the success of agility in a broader sense in relation to efficiency, pace, innovation, and reduction of issues and risks. Three core values and principles from the original manifesto were then drawn upon in more detail: 

  • Customer focus – spotlight on the buyer journey and how to engage and interact along the way 
  • Experimentation – using a test, learn, iterate approach to generate data-driven insights and results 
  • Minimal viable approach – using short, adaptive strategies to demonstrate success 

Given the current circumstances affecting businesses across the globe, it was important to mention the COVID-19 outbreak to set context and avoid the overused term ‘unprecedented circumstances’, from dominating the conversation. To do so, we explored why agile marketing is no longer a nicety but now business critical and how this ability to adapt to market disruption is crucial for companies of all shapes and sizes.  

We also discussed the challenges our clients and most other marketers are having to deal with at the momentincluding frozen budgets, organisational paralysis and poor change managementThat said, we are starting to see the most forward-thinking firms focus their attention on lead generation and client retention activities to ensure pipelines don’t fall off a cliff. This means they can build momentum and new business to safeguard their businesses and meet revised sales targets for later this year.  

Sian Heaphy, Agile Lead at Bright shared the results of our recent Future of B2B Marketing Report diving into the detail of the survey we undertook and its key findings as well as exploring what these insights actually mean for marketers now. Summing up with the benefits of agile marketing supported by the survey findings and the long-term, tangible benefits we uncovered for teams that adopt an agile way of working  

“It’s given teams greater flexibility, transparency and control over their project tasks. They’re more empowered to collaborate, experiment and react quickly to change when their ideas are validated through the test, learn and iterate approachcritical success factors for resilience.” – Sian Heaphy   

Next, Adrian Brooks, Change Lead at British Medical Association (BMA) talked about his experience of introducing agile marketing to take a new proposition to marketThis lively discussion detailed the BMA’s journey to inject agility and pace into their marketing practices, barriers to adoption (and how they overcame them) and the results and long-term benefits achieved through the adoption of agile marketing 

The session ended with an interactive Q&A, with Adrian and Sian fielding questions from the audience. There were lots of thought-provoking questions we didn’t have time to cover so we’ve created a complete Q&A below for reference.

Q&A

How would you implement agile as a way of working in a traditional environment? 

The key is to start small. You aren’t going to become an agile marketing team overnight. Find a pilot project (proposition development and / or go to market campaigns work really well for a pilot) where you can test a hypothesis using new ways of working.  

Work with an experienced partner (like Bright) and select a handful of your team to work on the pilot and establish an agile marketing hub (3-5 members is a good number) and get them bought into the vision and what you’re trying to achieve. Give them the support and resource they need to run the pilot independently from other activity, taking into account any BAU work they are responsible for.  

I see in the research and the Future of Marketing Report the biggest barrier to getting started with agile marketing is lack of buy-in from leadership – do you have any tips on overcoming this? 

At BMA we were lucky that at a project level, the leadership team was very supportive. We were working on a new proposition targeting a new market so from the get-go the project ethos was to be different and try new things. There was some resistance within the senior leadership due to the new ways of working suggested so we had to build the business case and confidence for this. Demonstrating why being agile and adaptable would help us get better results and help the in-house team get experience. 

BMA had a multi-pronged stakeholder management approach – engaging with the members, steering committee and senior management at a formal level and at a 1:1 level with key people. Regular reporting and transparency on project progress was really critical to generating their buy-inAgile focus on data and the ability to provide them with insight at every stage to demonstrate the learnings and value we were generating on a week by week basis was invaluable to getting engagement and buy-in. 

What tools do you manage each sprint?  

Tooling is a question we see a lot, and it was one of the biggest barriers to adopting agile marketing identified in our survey. 

From a project management perspective, there are a number of ways to get started. Trello is a great tool to get started with to build a simple Kanban board that you can use to create your sprint backlog and monitor progress throughout the sprint. 

For a lot of our projects we use Monday.com which offers the same benefits as Trello but is a much more robust project management tool where everyone can easily understand status and prioritiesIt’s also accessible anywhere by the team which has been important as project team hubs are working remotely.  

From a physical perspective at its simplest, creating a workspace in your office where you can create a Kanban board using a white board or post-it notes can be just as effective. In the current climate this isn’t possible, but it can be a great way of bringing the team together in one area to collaborate.  

The key to successful sprint management is to make sure that whatever tool or mechanism you’re using to track sprints is being utilised by the team, so you get the visibility you need to understand progress. 

Collaboration tools are also key for successful agile hub and management whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or any other communication tools, creating a virtual area where team members can interact, collaborate and communicate is critical. 

We also use Mural for many virtual creative ideation sessions and to capture retrospectives at the close of each sprint.  

Did your sprint targets vary or were they quite consistent over time? How many targets were identified for each sprint? 

The short answer is yes. It’s important to create an overarching goal or KPIs for the project or campaign as a whole and then break it down into specific goals or KPIs for each sprint that will move you towards achieving the project goal. 

The great thing about agile ways of working is that it’s data-driven, so you can regularly review your metrics and update and change as you progress. It’s about finding what works and optimising to help you achieve your goal(s). 

Culture – I find that is the major challenge, genuinely the hardest piece. Any suggestions? How do you get people to buy into the process? 

At BMA, they had a very traditional ways of working with siloed teams, so breaking down that culture was really difficult. It was the biggest challenge/barrier to success. We had really fixed ways of working. One of the ways that we started to break this down was to bring managers into the agile hub so we could talk about the process and resources required in real terms. What was needed at each stage and who would be responsible for it. And giving managers that clarity on how the different elements worked together really helped to break down these ingrained ways of working.  

Communication is really important and giving members of the team clear roles and autonomy over their tasks is really powerful, empowering the teams to make their own decisions. With any change you’ll find members of the team who are open to it (and can become great ambassadors for these new ways of working) and others who see it as a threat. Communicate the vision, what you’re trying to achieve and what role they can play in delivering that (and provide the training and support needed to help them) is a great way to start bringing them on that journey.  

If you missed our webinar but like the sound of what you’re reading, fear not, as the recording is now available! View the Agile in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive webinar today, join our Agile Marketing Club Meet Up group and keep an eye on our social channels for announcements of the next webinar, coming soon to a home-office near you!  

Sian HeaphyAgile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive
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Driving leads with agile marketing

Driving leads with agile marketing

CMO point of view: Testing agile marketing to drive results

“Those who can best manage change will survive.”

Whether you attribute this paraphrased statement to Charles Darwin or someone else, it’s as relevant today as it’s ever been – particularly for Chief Marketing Officers and senior marketers.

To see why, just look around at unparalleled disruption from Brexit, Covid-19 and environmental factors such as climate change, combined with the pace of digital transformation. Technology and data are the catalyst for keeping pace and adapting. For those of us in the business of marketing technology and the products and services that surround it, campaigns have to be just as fast (and agile) to yield sustainable success.

I know it’s easy to say (or write) that CMOs need to leverage agility at pace. But we all know it’s not that easy to incorporate agility and run effective brand building and integrated campaigns. Sometimes it’s down to not having the right tools, not having the time to research what your competitors are up to, or how to change an internal culture used to waterfall ways of working.

Agile is no longer part of start-up thinking — but it’s being adopted by some of the biggest global players

Transforming all this takes time, and that’s a commodity few CMOs have these days. If this all sounds familiar to you, involving external experts (such as Bright), who specialise in agile marketing, can help you work out the best way to approach embedding new ways of working into your team and the wider organisation without impacting the day-to-day marketing tasks you still have to deliver on throughout transformation.

Getting started with agile marketing

Injecting agile might sound simple, but it involves a change of mindset in your team culture, new processes and sometimes tools or tech. If you don’t have the right skills in your team today, then seeking outside support accelerates that change, minimises risk and avoids the common issues that could undermine the transition. Use a Proof of Concept to research, test and learn what would work best for your organisation and team to start the journey, maintain momentum and embed the right model.

Fintech company injects agility to drive better marketing results

To give you a better idea of this all works, we’ve broken down the true story of how a CMO from a Fintech software and services company championed agile marketing transformation.

Specialising in providing real-time transaction control and enterprise integrity solutions, their sales cycle usually falls somewhere between six and nine months. However, they wanted to accelerate results over a three-month period, and with target accounts in the US and UK, they needed to drive results in both of these territories.

With all this in mind, the CMO wanted to understand if an agile marketing approach was the way to go. Our team needed to prove that it would help the organisation achieve the following:

1. Become more results focused

The agile method of testing, learning and iterating would let the team take more risks, try new approaches and know early-on if their efforts were working.

2. Achieve rapid time to market
‘Sprints’ had helped them get their software to market faster, so they wanted to apply the same approach to their marketing strategies.

[Marketing strategies] need to be scientific. CMOs need to set hypotheses and learn and optimise from every experiment – Zoe Merchant, MD at Bright

3. Become more adaptable
Knowing that software succeeds only when it’s been developed iteratively with a Proof of Concept (PoC), a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or prototype, they wanted the same iterative approach when going to market to cover the expected, and unexpected, over the three-month campaign.

4. Make data-driven decisions
The marketing team needed a steady source of data to quickly understand their performance and validate and share what they were doing.

The end game: 12 high quality opportunities in 12 weeks

On top of these results, the Fintech firm gained a framework that they can use to scale as they grow and build more campaigns. Alongside the results, this is a major value-add from the journey.

The client can now execute ideas, understand their needs, and meet expectations much faster. They get continuous feedback from marketing, sales, and their data, helping them align their teams with results and insight. What’s more, they now feel free to experiment with less risk, and confident that marketing with agility and pace will support their future business goals.

Lydia KirbyDriving leads with agile marketing
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Getting started with agile marketing

Getting started with agile marketing

Agile Hubs are your key to unlocking integrated, sustainable marketing transformation

Digital transformation has been in the spotlight for nearly a decade and it remains well entrenched in the average business agenda today. But what about your marketing? How can it adapt to keep up with a changing business whilst meeting market demands?

There’s no doubt that organisation-wide transformation takes time, but marketing often seems to be preoccupied with business as usual or last on the list. Perhaps that’s because there are multiple forces at work in marketing that you’d have to bring into the transformation process. These typically include driving efficiencies, controlling costs, developing insight to drive continual improvement, and making effective use of emerging technology whilst improving your customer experience. And, whilst you make changes to your ways of working, you still need your marketing to demonstrate ROI, realise value in the short term and meet your business goals – smooth marketing transformation is therefore vital to the business as a whole.

It’s a lot to manage, think about and plan for all at once. So, where do you start? It is possible to transform your marketing to drive results that support your business goals, all whilst maintaining activity, but it’s a complex process. Having worked with many companies who are embarking on change, we know how important it is to approach this in a systematic, yet adaptable way – through testing, learning and building on success.

Driving results whilst changing at pace

Introducing Agile Marketing Hubs – your personal resource of marketing expertise and innovation. It’s where your in-house team, suppliers and specialists come together to work as one, strong, fully blended team of experts to effectively embed agile ways of working into your culture and operations.

Through hands-on experience in agile delivery of your marketing content, you’ll see greater productivity, energy and collaboration in your marketing team. Agile hubs are the answer to complex marketing transformation and a proven alternative to restrictive traditional techniques or reactive, ad-hoc and unstructured ways of working.

Demonstrating the value of your marketing

As you continue to work in an agile way, continually learning, building and improving, your team will begin to naturally work together more efficiently and effectively. You’ll also enable more cross-collaboration between different stakeholders and teams in the business – encouraging valuable knowledge-sharing and proving the power of your marketing to drive business goals.

Our tech and consulting clients in high growth and large enterprises have all reported seeing the following benefits from adopting an Agile Marketing Hub:

    Faster time to market   Data-driven decision making
 Proving marketing ROI at pace    Productivity and up-skilling
   Clear KP and objective settingScalable agility and innovation

 

In our recent survey, 75% of those who have been practicing agile marketing for more than a year had a better understanding of the power and impact of their marketing. It’s clear that these benefits increase exponentially with prolonged practice of an agile approach.

Fired up to ignite agility in your marketing?

As your company undergoes digital transformation or needs to rapidly adapt in uncertain times, your marketing needs to keep pace with the market and maintain daily operations. This is a complex challenge that requires time and resources as well as constant support from business leaders and marketing experts.  Many struggle to get started and simply lack the tools, support or know-how to embed agile ways of working into their marketing.

With Bright’s Agile Marketing Hubs, you can ignite agility and ensure seamless, integrated and sustainable marketing transformation – with the tools, tactics and concepts you need to drive better results and meet business goals.

Ready to get started? Get in touch to set up an Agile Hub for your marketing today.

Download our report on the Future of B2B marketing to find out the latest insights in B2B marketing and how agile plays a role in transforming the future of marketing.

Sian HeaphyGetting started with agile marketing
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