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Agile Marketing: The Shift from Nice-to-have to Must-have
By: Dan Naden
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“Yeah, we're agile,” the Chief Marketing Officer says to the rest of his c-level colleagues. “We are flexible, nimble, able to respond to whatever the market needs.”

The CTO looks quizzically in the CMO's direction. He knows the disorganized chaos that always plagues the marketing team from delivering on its promises.

“John, do you believe the team is organized to be successful?” says Phil, the seasoned CTO. “Do you think your team understands the basics of agile — not just the 'term,' but the practices and principles of consistent, continual value delivery?”

John stares into the distance, trying to digest Phil's question. It hits him like a brick that he and his team don't have a deep enough understanding of agility to be high-performers.

So what can John's team and other teams do to not just talk agile in the abstract, but practice it as a high-performing team?

1. Learn from your development team: More than likely, your development team has been following agile practices for years. Sit down with a few key players and get an understanding of how it works and how you could borrow some practices for your marketing team. Be comfortable with tweaking the principles and practices to make it work for you. Agile need not be a rigid rulebook.

2. Take baby steps: A transition to agile practices, principles, and mindset is not an overnight thing. Find one activity (incorporate a daily standup or retrospective into the team) and test it. What works? What doesn't work? Encourage all team members to be open and vocal about which aspects of agile are working and which aren't.

3. Share the results with management: Trust me. Management is all for testing new ways of doing business that promise higher levels of efficiency, transparency, and collaboration. Once you've been practicing agile for a few weeks, share your findings with leadership. Be honest and truthful in your assessment of the results. Management doesn't want "spin"; they want to know what's being done to make marketing a more effective business driver.

Go ahead, marketers and communicators: take agile from a glitzy, fancy-sounding concept to a business-changing, transformative practice.


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About the Author
Dan Naden is a creative, effective, focused product leader. Dan's been blogging about product marketing, product marketing, customer experience, and leadership for 7 years at dannaden.com
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