Agile for Marketing is sheer genius

by Bruce Kasanoff on August 28, 2011

Hubspot has assembled a free marketing toolkit that is sheer genius. It’s called Agile for Marketing, and you have two choices: give it a try, or risk being outflanked by any competitor who does. It’s that good.

Click to see larger chart

Agile is a software development approach that relies on the completion of small chunks of ‘shippable code’ that can be defined, built, tested, and shipped quickly – usually 15 to 30 days. It accomplishes some amazing results, but hasn’t caught on widely. Still, I’ve long been convinced there’s a bit of magic in the Agile approach.

Improve marketing effectiveness, faster

For 18 months, Hubspot has been using Agile to execute their marketing plans. Kirsten Knipp says, “Anyone can apply the concepts to their projects or work to improve effectiveness and increase their ability to turn on a dime.”

Hubspot’s marketing team operates in monthly “sprints.” Instead of simply working towards their annual goals, they break things down to smaller monthly goals, such as a total leads number or a unique content piece. This makes everything much more manageable. Kirsten says they are able to focus and deliver on the things that matter.

Agile for Marketing delivers dramatic benefits

Hubspot has enjoyed these results:

1) Better focus – when you create a user story and success metric – both are part of the Agile approach – you give yourself a ‘checks & balances’ system. If the success metric doesn’t move the needle, then you might rethink working on that story. If you decided to stop working on it, would the business suffer? If the answer is “no,” stop doing it.

2) Transparency reveals what really matters – a lot of companies see marketing as magic. It’s not. There are key activities that drive success, and measuring them helps you figure out what they are. At HubSpot, Marketing shares their plans with the entire company – getting feedback and buy-in along the way. Because of this, they get more credibility, help, and engagement in the process.

3) Fewer bad surprises – Agile for Marketing uses a points-based system that allows team members to value different projects. They share statuses and blockers (obstacles) during daily standup meetings. So there are rarely big surprises. You don’t get to the end of the month and find that ‘stuff didn’t get done.’ This sort of personal ownership and team accountability can’t be replicated by a boss telling a team what to do.

4) Prioritization that sticks – Agile gives you a bit of a leg up here. You’ve got a list of what you are working on, and it’s public. Prioritization becomes a rational and productive conversation, instead of a tug of war.

In the chart below, you can see how Hubspot has organized their marketing teams to take advantage of Agile for Marketing. I especially love the “Marketeering” team, which is a combination of Marketing and Engineering. They make stuff. The lack of such teams has hobbled marketing since the web first arrived. You just can’t succeed without Marketeering.

You can download a complete Agile for Marketing toolkit here.

In this post I edited, adapted and supplemented the words of Hubspot’s Kirsten Knipp. (Read her original post.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kirsten Knipp May 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Bruce – thanks so much for continuing to share the love and enthusiasm for the ‘modern’ way of marketing! Try it out and let us know how it works for you …

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