How a corporate giant can work like a small start-up with agile marketing
An agile organization says no to projects that don’t add a lot of value, leaving space for experimentation to foster creativity and innovation.
Agile marketing is a lot like running a small start-up company. People have to wear many hats, you have a small team, you work quickly and you innovate. If you’re a big corporate giant, this may feel impossible, but thinking and working like a small start-up will help you achieve better agility.
Create small, autonomous teams
The reason small start-ups move quickly is they’re well, small. A small group of people has the ability to communicate, collaborate and make decisions much faster.
If you ask any entrepreneur who ran a start-up, she’ll reflect back on how quick and innovative they were when they were small and how procedure and hierarchy began to plague them as they grew. That’s why most people who start companies leave when this begins to happen. What they loved about a start-up gets lost.
I’ve worked with a lot of managers who think adding more people to a team will result in getting more work done, when in fact it’s just the opposite. Ramping up someone new is disruptive to the team and changes the team dynamic.
An easy way to create a start-up feeling in a large company is with small, autonomous teams. But it’s not enough to put together a group of marketers and leave everything else about how they work the same – that’s just a re-org.
This small group needs to be autonomous, meaning they have ownership over their work and the ability to create and execute from start to finish. When the team takes ownership of the work, they incorporate a start-up mindset rather than one of a worker who only does one job.
This autonomous team still works from a higher level direction for strategy and key business objectives, so it’s not a free-for-all, but they have more of a sense of ownership.
When you own your own home, you’re going to do the required maintenance and make sure it stays nice. When you rent a home, you probably don’t care as much because you don’t have an ownership stake.
Empower a single marketing owner
There needs to be one person and one person only on your agile team that can decide the priority of work and what work the team should be doing. This allows marketers to do something they don’t often have time to do – focus.
While the marketing owner may be working with several stakeholders to determine priorities, the biggest advantage to the people doing the work is that they’re shielded from all of this noise. The focus then becomes about delivering real value rather than helping the person with the loudest voice or biggest paycheck.
Leave room for experimentation
In managing marketing work traditionally, plates are so full that there’s no room left to breathe, let alone experiment.
An agile organization says no to projects that don’t add a ton of value, leaving space for experimentation, which fosters creativity and innovation.
Marketers struggling to meet unrealistic deadlines will never be able to do this, and therefore what’s produced can become overly safe, stale and just plain boring to our customers.
By following some of these techniques even a large enterprise can move and act (and benefit) as a start-up.
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