In our previous blog, we talked about how we build our Strategic Marketing Plan or “houses” that help us attach our proposed marketing efforts with the overall goals of the business in a simple 1-page format. To make delivery of concepts easy, it's important to align the organization and set the marketing team up to prove ROMI or the return on marketing investment in the coming year.
One of the last steps to preparing your marketing house is to define the list of tactics you plan to accomplish in the coming year. Which is great, but how do we make sure that we accomplish all we set out to do? At 1 Bold Step, we use a process called Agile Marketing that helps us accomplish a few things.
- It allows us to consistently update/change/or pivot our current marketing efforts to stay aligned with the overall business goals.
- It keeps us focused on the tasks at hand and decreases the opportunity for “shiny object syndrome” to exist
- It forces us to work a chunk at a time, with start and end dates to keep productivity high
But first, what is agile marketing?
Agile marketing is a marketing execution process that holds marketing teams to a constraint of executing on 2 week “sprints.” Instead of consistently having work in motion, we load our “to-do list” with 2 weeks worth of work at a time, execute on that list, review what we have accomplished, and reload the to-do list for the next two weeks. The task board is broken down into 5 sections.
- The Backlog (all upcoming tasks in the next 90 days)
- Up Next (coming in the next 4 weeks)
- In Progress (to be completed in the next two weeks)
- Review / Blocked (items in progress that need to be reviewed)
Below is the breakdown of how we approach setting this up.
Load up the backlog for a 90-day timeline
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Looking at an annual plan can be intimidating when we see all of the things that we said we want to accomplish throughout the year.
So we start by splitting up the workload a quarter at a time. This shortens the to-do list in front of us, allows for quarterly reviews, and opens the opportunity for us to pivot tasks in case they are no longer applicable or relevant. So first, load the backlog within the first 90 days of work.
Bring 2 weeks worth of work into “In Progress”
Now with a prioritized list in front of us, we can get to work. But again, we want to take our elephant down a bite at a time. So we split the 90-day workload up into 2-week “sprints”. The only work that is in the “in progress” bucket should be work that will be completed within the next 2 weeks.
Bring the following 2 weeks of work into “Up Next”
To make sure the team is never stagnant, we fill a list of tasks that are up next for the following 2 weeks. This helps us get a feel for what’s coming up. It also gives us a bucket to pull things forward from and keep us moving.
Because we have a bucket of items for an entire 90 days of work, we utilize a “backlog” bucket that holds all remaining tasks that are neither in progress or up next. These tasks will get pulled forward as capacity allows. We also add new ideas from the quarter to this bucket, or drag things back from up next as needed as priority may change.
Hosting our bi-weekly sprint meetings
To manage our tasks properly and report from the external marketing team to the internal teams we hold biweekly “Sprint” meetings. These are usually 30 - 60 minute virtual or in person meetings hosted every other week.
In them we cover:
- Completed tasks in the last two weeks
- Tasks that are blocked by a person or externality or need review
- In progress tasks and the status of them
- And follow up with providing clarity where needed and leave room for updates or pivoting among tasks as needed
If we see there is capacity to bring more work into progress, we work as a team to pull them forward from the “up next bucket,” and repopulate the up next column from the backlog bucket, while setting due dates, task owners, and subtask as needed for each to keep the entire team aligned.
If you want more insight on how we operate as an agile marketing team, you can download our Asana SOP. This tool should give you great insight into what it is like to work with an agile team and how you could change the way you approach your marketing today.