A lot of the marketers I know have Swiss army knife-level skills. They're not specialists in one channel or discipline. Rather, they're focused on reaching customers in ever-increasing places, while keeping an eye on the latest and greatest technology applications to engage customers better.
This jack-of-all-trades mentality is where the concept of Agile marketing comes in.
On this week’s episode of the Marketing Cloudcast — the marketing podcast from Salesforce — we’re discussing how to use an Agile framework to become better, more versatile marketers. For all the details, we talked with the expert himself: Jeff Julian, author of Agile Marketing: Building Endurance for Your Content Team.
Take a listen here:
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways about Agile marketing from our conversation with Jeff. Hopefully after hearing his insights, you'll understand how you can apply this software methodology to your marketing strategy.
Jeff has spent two decades in content marketing, but his background is in software and web development. As he explains, Agile marketing and technology are misunderstood terms. “Agile is all about finding a way to perform better and allowing that performance to change over time,” says Jeff.
The original Agile method was a set of principles for software development that involved cross-functional teams working collaboratively to solve problems. We all know that cross-organizational collaboration is the future of the customer experience, so now it's time for marketers to learn a few things from these Agile software developers.
So what exactly is an Agile framework? “Most Agile frameworks [place] a high priority on customer satisfaction, plus the ability to work within a sustainable pace, react, and change. You also have to have a frequent delivery model and be able to reflect and make those changes in your process.”
When asked how Agile marketing applies to the current landscape, Jeff points to the common assembly-line approach to creating content. You can’t just be a writer or a videographer. Marketing in 2017 requires the ability to wear many hats. “You need to become more well-rounded as a marketer. I call that the cross-functional marketer or the content developer.”
As Jeff points out, content marketers are really content developers: “The beautiful thing is the word content absorbs so many other things. The word developer has the same absorption factor.”
For example, if your video specialist isn’t available and there’s work that needs to be done, a team should be able to respond by having other members learn or apply the skills required. Projects shouldn't rely on just one person. This is an Agile approach — it’s all about keeping the chain of production moving. “It balances the team more so there’s never a stopping point during the time that we’re building content,” he says.
You’re a savvy marketer that wants to increase your Agile marketing habits. What traits should you have in your back pocket? Jeff says it's about empathy, passion, and focus.
As he explains, “A good content marketer will say: When I’m producing this white paper, what is my audience going through? If I don’t know, let me go and experience that and sit with someone in that role. What can I create that will add value?”
You also need to have a passion for what you do. “A lot of marketers treat this as work. Would you still write, blog, vlog, or create video or a podcast if it wasn't your job? The really good marketers would say yes,” says Jeff.
Lastly, you need focus. “A savvy content marketer is able to get the work done and stay focused on it until it’s done. Then they celebrate, plan, and do it all again while staying focused,” says Jeff.
A lack of commitment is one of the things that’s hampering most marketing efforts today. This is the a reason why Jeff included the idea of building endurance in his book's title. As he explains, marketing is a lot like running. You start by jogging, and if you stick with it and practice, you’ll eventually be able to run faster. “You need to commit to it, but with that commitment comes a desire to grow more,” says Jeff.
He elaborates, “You need to ask the questions that get you out of your comfort zone and make you grow because that’s the better way to deliver value — something different from what everyone else is doing.”
Does becoming more Agile sound like a goal for your team in 2017? Listen to the full conversation with Jeff (@jjulian) in this episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.
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