There are tons of different approaches to marketing out there, each with its own particular uses. Even so, most approaches can benefit from agile marketing principles. But how do you do that?
When you start working on a marketing project, it can seem overwhelming. You may have a lot of ideas on how to get to your desired end goal, you may have trouble defining what that end goal is, or you may wonder about the best way to keep your team on track and organized.
Beginning a project can seem like the hardest part. That’s why your first step should be to have a well-thought-out plan for execution.
Luckily for you, you’re not the first person to face this challenge! There is an entire school of thought centered around figuring out the best way to accomplish a specific project or task efficiently and effectively.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the idea of establishing your ideal agile marketing workflow. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the following topics:
- What is a “workflow?”
- What does “scrum” mean?
- The benefits of outlining your workflow.
- An example of the ideal comprehensive workflow steps.
- How to map out your workflow.
- The ideal agile approach for marketers.
- Why you should use a project management tool for your marketing team or marketing department.
Let’s start by defining what we mean when we say “workflow.”
What is a “Workflow?”
Your client comes to you at 4:45 p.m. on a Friday. You’re all set for the weekend, but you now have your marching orders: they need a social media campaign to promote their new product, and they need it fast.
Your first instinct is to panic. Where do you go from here? How do you ensure you not only complete this project but complete it in a high-quality, comprehensive way?
The first thing you’ll want to do is identify what team members you need, what each team member is responsible for, and the order in which everything is done.
These steps to complete your project, or actionable items, are known as your “workflow.” An agile marketing workflow refers to the process you establish to move a project from conception to execution, with a focus on flexibility and timeliness.
Here’s a general overview of what a typical workflow might look like:
- Your team is either assigned or identifies a project or task.
- You list out all the steps needed to complete it (this will come to be defined as your “sprints“).
- Your team completes each step.
- Bring the team together daily for a “standup” meeting to discuss your progress as well as identify any obstacles to your progress.
- Once the sprint is complete, your team submits the project.
Sounds easy enough, right? While this may not make the actual work that goes into your project any easier, it will help you stay organized and up to date. Having clarity of purpose at each stage of the process is invaluable to helping your marketing team stay on target.
What is “Scrum”?
If you’ve heard talk of an agile marketing workflow, you may have also heard the term “scrum.” It is a specific subset of agile methodology based on a project workflow style used in software development.
Scrum is a framework for adaptively approaching complex tasks, allowing your team to stay nimble while they address a project that’s either gone due or has not yet been addressed.
Scrum requires a scrum master to lead the process. It generally goes like this:
- The owner of a product (or client) requests a project dealing with some sort of product backlog.
- Using the task you’ve received, the project’s scrum team takes a portion of the job needed to be done and turns it into an “increment of value” to be completed, or a sprint planning.
- The team does the work quickly; the owner examines their results. They either move onto the next project or adjust accordingly for the next iteration of the sprint.
Whether you’re using a general agile marketing process or scrum specifically, it’s useful to have your process laid out ahead of time. But why?
The Benefits of Outlining Your Workflow
The benefits of outlining your workflow may be patently obvious to anyone who has tried to execute a marketing strategy without an outline or plan in the past. It’s not just a nice-to-have feature of your project, it’s effectively a necessity for any successful marketing team.
Here’s why you should outline your workflow to benefit your team:
- An outline sets up clear roles and responsibilities. No one on your team will wonder what they should be doing or what the next step in the process is. It keeps everyone on task and in the right lane, reducing overlap and encouraging teamwork.
- It establishes deadlines to keep everyone organized. Each stage of the process will have an end date in mind, letting you know when you can move from one stage to another. There are some tasks you can’t complete until an earlier one is finished; having deadlines allows you to track progress.
- You can envision the finish line. Sometimes teams are in such a rush to get started on a project, they don’t stop to reflect on where they want to go with it. An agile marketing workflow helps you define your finish line so that your entire team can envision your campaign goal from the outset.
Planning and Outlining your Comprehensive Workflow
Let’s use an example to identify what an ideal agile marketing workflow looks like, say a social media campaign. Here’s how you’d outline that process:
- Hold a kickoff meeting to discuss the goals of the project, assign tasks, develop a schedule, timeline, list of deliverables, and determine which metrics you’ll use to measure success.
- Have the social media team or content marketing team draft the content. Draw up a posting schedule that aligns your content with the most effective time frame for the delivery of each post.
- Hold daily standup meetings to talk about progress and get feedback from your content creators on how the process is going, including and any roadblocks they’ve encountered. This will help you prevent silos and bottlenecks, helping everyone maintain awareness of the project’s status.
- Have your strategists or leadership review the content to ensure it checks the boxes you need checking.
- Do a quality assurance check on the copy, so it’s free of errors and matches your campaign’s tone and style.
- Meet with your client to review and give them a chance to provide feedback.
- Incorporate the client’s feedback.
- Deliver the content as a final product.
How to Map Out Your Workflow
Your team’s workflow will vary depending on the type of work you do. But on a macro level, every process will incorporate three major steps:
Let’s take a closer look at each phase:
This might be the most crucial step; comprehensive project planning is crucial to lay the groundwork for your success later on. Initially, you’ll meet with your team, identify your overarching goal, and outline how you plan to get there.
This stage requires you to roll up your sleeves and put in work. Your team members will need to provide solutions to the challenges you’ve identified during the planning process.
This stage also encompasses the quality review process. Have different members of the team weigh in on the project overall, examining if it hit the mark or still needs refining.
You may also need to pull the client or original project requestor in at this stage of the game. Quality review at this stage of the agile process is what makes agile marketing strategies particularly effective, allowing you to pivot when necessary for continuous improvement.
Once your team has completed the project, it’s time to launch! This is when you’re rewarded for your efforts, and you can begin evaluating your campaign based on the metrics you’ve defined.
The Ideal Agile Workflow for Marketers
The ideal agile marketing workflow for marketers includes all the steps outlined above. But what else can help make the process effective? What helps keep agile marketing teams sharp and moving quickly?
Here are some additional tip, tricks, and tools you may want to include in your agile marketing workflow:
- Checklists. When you have multiple tasks, you’ll want to keep them assembled in one place, marking them complete as you go.
- A schedule, timeline, or calendar. Do you know when your project needs to be completed? A timeline will keep each part of the process in its proper context and aligned with related deadlines or concurrent tasks.
- Visualization tools. Tools like whiteboards or Kanban boards put each stage of your workflow in front of your team members and can streamline the agile process further.
- Project management software. Documenting everything is critical to an organized workflow, so you’ll need reliable tools. Using software to keep every task stored and managed in one place will help maintain your peace of mind.
Use a Project Management Tool for the Ideal Agile Marketing Strategy
In short, adopting an agile marketing workflow will leave your team feeling less stressed and more prepared for potential roadblocks. However, embarking on the agile path of marketing can be overwhelming without the right tools to align your efforts with your goals.
Any team leader worth her salt understands this difficulty and understands the importance of organization and team alignment to productivity. That’s why you’ll want to have a platform in place to facilitate and execute your new agile marketing campaign.
Welcome is that project management platform. We take every aspect of your workflow and help you track, manage, and account for each step of the process, all from one dashboard.
You can bring your entire team together here, ensuring everyone’s in sync and on-task. For more on how we can help you level up your workflow, sign up for a free trial today.