How to Organize Cross-Functional Agile Marketing Teams

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The quickly changing marketing landscape inspires businesses to adjust their approach to marketing organizational structure. For many companies, traditional marketing is no longer the most viable option. In fact, it can easily put you behind the competition. That’s where agile marketing comes in.
Agile marketing has been around for a few years, which shows that adjusting the way your marketing department works to the constantly changing customer needs, Google algorithms, privacy laws, and the like is a smart way to go.
By building cross-functional agile marketing teams, it’s possible to take a newer, faster, and more efficient approach to marketing while cutting costs and holding on to your market share.
Organizing cross-functional agile marketing teams requires full immersion of all marketing specialists and leaders. Let’s take a closer look at how to do it the right way.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself,” – Henry Ford

What Is a Cross-Functional Marketing Team?

A cross-functional marketing team consists of different professionals, including PPC experts, content writers, SEO specialists, etc. working toward the same goal.
Instead of dividing your marketing experts into different departments (PPC, SEO, content development, email marketing, etc.), you create smaller cross-functional teams.
Benefits of such marketing teams include:

  • Speed — instead of waiting for one department to get the job done, so another can start working, decisions are made within one team. This speeds up the process tremendously.
  • Communication — communication between large marketing departments can be hindered, especially in a remote environment. Communication within one cross-functional team is much faster and easier.
  • Initiative — smaller cross-functional teams are likely to take the initiative and work autonomously to complete projects faster and more efficiently.
  • Focus — cross-functional teams have an easier time focusing on the task at hand since they don’t have to deal with traditional internal constructions.
  • Revenue growth — according to ANA’s research, a cross-functional structure is more effective in generating revenue growth for the company.

Traditionally, the key goal of cross-functional teams (not just in marketing) is to complete specific short-term projects. The ability of these teams to combine the expertise to produce fast results makes them perfect for agile marketing purposes.

What Is an Agile Marketing Team?

Agile marketing uses data and analytics to find promising opportunities or solutions to problems in real-time. The goal of an agile marketing team is to keep tabs on the ever-changing customer needs, marketing trends, and search engine requirements. This is done to adjust the marketing strategy before its ROI starts dropping.  
Large agile marketing teams can run several campaigns simultaneously, analyzing results, and making changes on the go.
Benefits of an agile marketing team include:

  • Revenue — according to McKinsey, companies that implement agile marketing see revenue growth of 20% to 40%.
  • Speed — projects that usually take months to complete with traditional marketing require only a few weeks.
  • Measurability — by dividing projects into smaller sections, it’s much easier to measure the team’s success and make quick adjustments.
  • Communication — marketing teams depend on transparent communications with other departments like sales. Regular agile sprints make it easier for other departments to provide input.

Agile marketing allows companies to arrange a much faster delivery and release cycle, allowing your company to create a highly effective campaign.

What Is a Cross-Functional Agile Marketing Team?

A cross-functional agile marketing team is a team that consists of several key marketing experts and follows the agile marketing methodology.
By building such a team, you can achieve a variety of marketing goals quickly, efficiently, and on the budget.

How to Organize a Cross-Functional Agile Marketing Team

Organizing a cross-functional agile marketing team (CFAMT) doesn’t have to be complicated. 
As long as the entire marketing department is on the same page, teams come together quickly. It’s up to the managers and senior leaders to set goals, arrange sprints, and analyze the way each team performs.

Choose Team Members  

The perfect setup for your CFAMT depends on your goals and the immediate projects the team is working on. The majority of these teams includes:

  • Project manager
  • Analytics lead
  • SEO lead
  • UX designer
  • Media lead
  • Copywriter
  • HTML developer

Additionally, you may also include:

  • Tagging developer
  • Art director
  • Marketing lead
  • Business unit owner
  • IT expert
  • Legal expert

It’s up to the senior marketing leaders to figure out which experts are required for each CFAMT. The optimal number of team members is 10 +/- 2. While a smaller team can succeed, a larger team can’t reap speed, efficiency, and communication benefits.

Provide Guidance

The toughest part about organizing a CFAMT is to get everyone on the same page. If your marketing experts have a traditional mindset (which they most likely do after years in traditional marketing), switching to a cross-functional agile mindset can take time.
You need to choose agile leaders, who study their team members, engage with them, and help these people become productive. This may take time. So expecting the CFAMT to start producing results immediately after you assemble it is out of the question.
Training, pairing, and providing the necessary learning resources are integral for the team to function properly. It’s up to the leaders to provide the necessary enablement and guide the team through its initial stages of work.
Don’t forget that a CFAMT needs three core things:

  • Autonomy — you must allow it to function autonomously to achieve the set goals. This includes freedom of action and independence from other teams and departments.
  • Expertise — when building a CFAMT, you must make sure that the members have the necessary expertise for autonomous functioning.
  • Purpose — team members must have full transparency about the purpose of their work and understand how it fits into the bigger marketing picture.

The toughest part about achieving success with CFAMTs is bringing their work together. Figuring out how to do it before you organize your first team can help you structure the work in the future.

Understand Roles

When you create a CFAMT, you focus on people with specific skill sets. However, these specialists are used to working in specific departments, sharing responsibilities with like-minded experts.
As they start working in a cross-functional team, these professionals need new explanations of their roles. It’s up to the senior marketing leaders to define them. Otherwise, you may create an “it’s not my job” environment, which is highly detrimental to the team’s success.
Be specific about each member’s responsibilities and your expectations about their work. Even if one of your team members starts working outside their role, they can slow the entire team down. Arrange meetings for new teams specifically to help each person understand their roles.
It’s important that the autonomy a CFAMT team has comes with certain freedoms. That’s why senior leaders must be especially careful about not micromanaging CFAMT members.

Define Parameters

If cross-functional agile marketing is a new concept for your team members, you need to be extremely clear with definitions. Besides defining roles, you need to define:

  • Budget
  • Resources
  • Tools
  • Deadlines
  • Business and marketing goals

With CFAMT, vagueness is out of the question. You need to provide full transparency to the team members and enable them to get the job done.

Review Goals

According to Harvard Business Review, 75% of cross-functional teams are dysfunctional. Cross-functional teams working in an agile environment are even more likely to fail without proper organization.
One of the main aspects of this organization is a clear goal definition.
Since cross-functional teams consist of members of other teams, they often have different, or worse, conflicting agendas. If you fail to set clear goals, such differences could lead to a disaster.
Besides explaining roles to each team member, you need to make sure the entire team understands the goal you’re working toward. With agile marketing, these goals can change quickly. For free-flowing collaboration, a full understanding is a must.
By arranging regular big picture checks, it’s possible to keep all teams on the same page.

Arrange Communication

While placing the entire CFAMT at one table is ideal for your needs, it’s rarely possible. In the COVID-19 environment, in-person interactions are tough to arrange. Even without the pandemic, many members of a cross-functional team can be located in different parts of the building.
To organize a successful team, it’s imperative to arrange seamless communication. Make sure to give team members access to teamwork and videoconferencing tools like Asana, Trello, Slack, Zoom, Skype, etc., and provide training if necessary.
In many cases, marketers have a superficial understanding of how these tools work, failing to explore their key features. It’s up to the leaders to make sure teams take full advantage of the available communication tools.

Enabling Your Cross-Functional Agile Marketing Team with Welcome

A healthy cross-functional agile team uses the diversity in its skills to achieve a variety of short-term goals that fit into a bigger picture seamlessly. Doing this requires highly effective leadership and top-notch organization.
To make sure these teams function properly, they must have the right tools. With Welcome’s marketing work management software, it’s possible to ensure a seamless transition to a cross-functional agile marketing framework and increase CFAMT efficiency.
Get started for free today!

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