“When we are focused, we’ve been very successful in moving quickly and utilizing the right process to get things done. We have to be able to get a lot of things done but prioritize to make sure we’re all marching down that same path.”—Brian Kagen, EVP and CMO, Medifast.
In an agile marketing organization, initiatives are focused yet flexible. This set of principles--from a total of seven Agile for Marketing (A4M) that we will share during the next few weeks--are not as impossible as you think. Agile marketers tie projects to organizational priorities and overarching strategies with a clear purpose and scope of work that keep teams focused on high-value activities. Data and testing create the flexibility to respond to changing requirements and new opportunities. Clear prioritization processes ensure alignment across the team on key priorities and provide the opportunity to change direction based on what’s needed given market demands.
• Manage work in progress: It’s not about doing more projects; it’s about doing high-priority projects that drive KPIs. This reduces the overall number of assignments and keeps workload manageable, so output is faster and of higher quality.
• Use shorter planning cycles: Agility requires faster planning and more opportunities to measure, adjust, and modify. Long-term strategies executed on shorter time frames and based on what we know today make it easier to adjust.
• Prioritize constantly: Continually evaluating what’s important prevents new tasks or “emergency” projects from distracting teams. They stay focused on completing initiatives of highest value to the organization and acting on changing conditions and new developments.
“Actively prioritizing what’s on the plate at any given point in time is superimportant, and that allows you to have a good plan going into a quarter, into a year, whatever your planning horizon is,” explained Tom Vogl, newly appointed CMO for The Clymb. “You’ve got an ongoing process for adjusting on the fly to all the new stuff that comes up, when something slips, or if the scope of a project ends up being bigger than you thought it was going to be.”
Why You Should Care
If you’re struggling to achieve agility in your marketing organization, then it could have to do with the amount on your team’s plate, members’ ability to be proactive versus reactive, and the clarity they have around the overall direction marketing is heading. Focus and flexibility reinforce the team’s shared goals and objectives and align employees around priorities while building in the flexibility to change.
Any work group benefits from more focus and flexibility, but this is especially important for groups with highly variable workflows, rapidly morphing customer or market demands, or an unpredictable velocity of work. Becoming more focused on mission-critical assignments and less distracted by other tasks accelerates time to market garners better results and creates more marketing capacity.
Assess Your Organization
Here are some questions to consider as you gauge your organization’s flexibility and focus:
- Are you focused on a few key strategic initiatives, or are you always putting out fires?
- Is your planning process long-term or short-term?
- Does it allow for flexibility and adjustment throughout the year almost on a real-time basis?
- Do you prioritize your workload on a weekly or regular basis with your teams? If so, how?
Flexibility and focus is just one set of seven Agile Marketing principles identified by CMG Partners’ upcoming CMO’s Agenda, an annual study founded on insights from more than 40 lead marketers who are exploring and embracing the agile advantage. Next week we will explore the "data-driven" principle.
Request your early copy of the Agenda today.