How to Make Your Marketing Team More Agile

This post is the latest in our series on scrappy marketing, and follows on from some tips that can help you accelerate your marketing campaigns. This post provides ideas on how you can get your team to join you in putting scrappy marketing into action.

Taking a scrappy approach to your marketing can transform your company’s fortunes, making it possible to bring more ideas to market, and at speed. But if your team isn’t flexible enough to take risks and start experimenting, you’ll never reap its benefits.

A word that sums up this flexibility is agile. While it’s often used to describe an approach to developing software, its broader definition refers to “having a quick, resourceful and adaptable character”. So how should you go about developing this in those you work with?

Get Buy-In for a Scrappy Approach

Resistance to change will be your biggest stumbling block when it comes to introducing the scrappy method, so before doing anything, ensure everyone in the team is on board.

According to Kotter’s Change Model, which provides eight overlapping steps for effecting change in an organization, you must first create urgency, which you might do by identifying potential threats, or opportunities to exploit.

This is followed by building a coalition, which would involve identifying who must lead the change, and ensuring the team is made of a mix of people from different levels of the business, who have different capabilities. Kotter’s model applies more to larger projects, but there are certainly some ideas that you can take from it.

Using data can be a great way to both drive urgency and build support. Look for spikes or dips in your analytics or engagement data, which can help spur on what could happen if you did something outside the norm. Share these around and ask questions to get people to think differently. Get people excited about the potential for better results while encouraging them to start taking action.

Remove Barriers to Productivity

Once you have the team on board, you must ensure they have everything they need to get started. Do they have the tools they need? Do they feel supported? Does everyone know what they’re doing, and how to do it?

You’ll also need to ensure your team is able to communicate effectively. Is everyone on board with the method? What tools will you use to communicate quickly? If they have questions, will someone be there to answer them? How will tasks be assigned, and how will everyone know they’re in hand?

To encourage the scrappy mindset, look at where people can set aside times to get stuck into the project. Eliminate any meetings that don’t add value. Look to cancel commitments that are cutting into your colleagues’ time. If some people prefer working elsewhere, allow them to be productive at a place where they feel they can get into a state of flow.

Encourage experimentation – remove the fear of failure and perfectionism

The more innovative you are, the more robust you are – you can roll with the punches that will inevitably come in a rapidly changing market.

In order to be innovative, you must foster a culture of experimentation. This means testing ideas quickly, and failing fast so you know what to do next – there’s no lingering over something that doesn’t work, and that will never work.

Testing things out on a small scale now to determine what works will save bigger failures in the future.

However, creativity in a business can only blossom if individuals aren’t afraid to fail. Sara Critchfield, founding editorial director of Upworthy, reportedly the fastest-growing media company of all time, says that in order to encourage a team to be more innovative, there must be a shift from a ‘best practices’ mentality to a dynamic ‘laboratory’ mentality, and that team members rather than managers should be made responsible for the results.

She also advocates ‘normalizing’ failure by setting a baseline failure rate and success rate, and measuring the team’s work by that baseline.

Publish and Promote at Speed

Publishing content regularly and consistently is the best way to grow your audience.

As Nick Westergaard writes in Get Scrappy, setting a consistent schedule and editorial calendar will establish audience expectations and help “develop your own content creation muscles and routine.”

This means you can’t be too precious about your work – there’s no time for perfectionism. As long as your content says what you want it to say, makes sense and is factually accurate, it’s fit to publish. Of course, the content you’re working on can always be improved upon. But resist the urge to keep tweaking and get it out there.

The same method can be applied to webinars. Rather than dwelling on might work well, producing one and getting it to market will provide an answer. Your best marketing webinars can be highlighted as always-on content, while those that didn’t perform brilliantly can be hidden further down the list of your website’s resources.

Maintain the underdog mentality to help people keep going

Keeping up a consistent and fast pace can be a challenge. To keep the scrappy marketing method alive in your business, you’re going to need a mascot. Make that mascot an underdog.

As covered in the first post, taking an underdog approach can endear you with your customers and help your team to keep going even when it’s tough.

The underdog is always looking for different ways they can win the game. They’re looking for a competitive edge, because they can’t rely on their size, or reputation, or firepower. They’re more resourceful. By definition, they’re more agile.