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SaaS Marketers are Agile by Nature

If you’re a SaaS marketer then there a two things that are likely: you’ve got ready access to a development team; that development team is using agile to get their work done.

What does agile development have to do with marketing?

Well, marketing is alot like development. Both departments have a backlog of projects or activities to perform and both departments interact with an end-user of some sort.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to an agile development team, then you’re already primed for agile marketing. And most likely your leadership team is too. If you’re stuck in a traditional marketing model (do a bunch of work then ship a big project all at once) then proposing a shift in how work gets done won’t be so drastic.

A good place to start is to sit in a sprint planning meeting and observe how projects or features are discussed, planned and agreed upon. It is a helpful exercise in understanding two things: how to work through a backlog and how to allocate the time and resources needed to complete the work.

Once you’ve got a good hold on that process then you’re ready to test it out on your team. Don’t overdo it at first, sometimes change is tough for people to swallow. Start with a small project that has say, a copy component, a creative component, some tracking and some light development. While your team may be used to working together, they may not be used to just focusing on one project at a time, completing it and moving to the next one. Most likely they’re juggling 3-5 other tasks at a time which inevitably draws out the production phase.

The first thing you need to do is establish why you’re thinking about performing the upcoming project, what is a desired business result and how are we going to track success.

The second thing you need to do is list out all of the activities necessary to launch the project successfully. Some examples of these activities may be:

  • Email Copy
  • Web Copy
  • Email Design
  • Web Design
  • Conversion Tracking
  • CRM setup
  • Testing

Next, assign these task to the team, or better yet let them assign themselves to whichever task is best suited for them. Also, get from them how long they estimate to complete. Remember, they don’t have any other tasks to interrupt them so they shouldn’t be padding to accomodate non-existent tasks.

At the end of this micro-planning session, you should have a good idea of a) how long it’s going to take b) who’s going to do the work c) what the end deliverable will be.

The final step is to deploy the project and track the results against your original hypothesis. Did the project meet your expectations? did it fall short? what did we learn? These are questions to ask yourself post project launch. One, very important thing about agile marketing is that you want to base decisions on results and focus your team on activities that turn the dial, not turn the clock.

To learn more about agile marketing, visit agilemarketingmanifesto.org. There is a great resources section along with the values and principles agile marketers use.

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I'm a skier, hiker, biker and runner. In my free time I write about the world of marketing. I also started this company, but who cares.