How to build feedback into your agile marketing workflow
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Once your team has gotten down the basics of working in agile marketing and can deliver work in short, iterative cycles, feedback is key. You’ll want to ensure that feedback is getting collected, talked about in a regular cadence and used effectively to inform what your team will work on next.
Feedback should be part of your daily cadence
A great agile marketing team that I worked with really nailed how they handled feedback. As part of their morning standup meeting, each team member would share any feedback they had gotten from any piece of marketing that had gone live recently.
Shannon would give a quick update such as, “The Facebook ad we are running on our new hospital is performing better than expected. Our benchmark was 25 clicks a day and we’re averaging 40.”
Next, Dan says, “The webinar we held yesterday had a lot lower attendance than the ones we’ve held in the past. I think it may be caused by the fact that we sent fewer emails this time promoting the event.”
At the end of the standup meeting, a few team members would gather to discuss some of these learnings, especially if it meant they could alter how they would work differently today. Other team members went back to work and didn’t need to stay.
Since Dan was already working on marketing the next webinar, he and a few team members chatted about what they could do differently and decided to send out a more targeted email to see if that would drive attendance. While they had already planned to send an email, their conversation led to a tweak in the messaging.
Every two weeks this team would have a Sprint Review with key stakeholders. Not only did they use this time to show examples of recently launched marketing, but also to discuss how the campaigns were performing, what they had learned and what they could do differently in the future.
In the case of the webinar, the team and the stakeholders came to the conclusion that too many webinars were causing an attendance drop and they would not even do the next one.
In traditional marketing organizations, feedback typically happens one time and one time only — at the end of a campaign when it’s too late to change anything. With agile marketing, the idea is to constantly inspect and adapt and make little tweaks along the way.
Data and analytics are great, but not required
So many times teams will tell me that they can’t collect feedback because they don’t have the right software or the right data person on the team.
While marketing data is by all means wonderful and helpful, it’s less about having the data and more about the ability to pause and reflect on what’s happening with your marketing and using whatever information you have — hard data or just anecdotal, to make better decisions.
I once worked with a large bank that was new to agile marketing. They’d contracted an ad agency to write 10 articles about budget travel. They were so focused on the output of the 10 articles, that they never stopped to inspect and adapt and ask themselves, “Does the content resonate with our target audience?” “Are the readers making the connection between budget travel and opening a retirement account?” And because the agency was being compensated for output (write 10 travel articles) rather than achieving a business goal, there was no incentive for them to get feedback and pivot.
Agile marketing isn’t just about faster delivery — it’s about the ability to experiment and pivot when necessary. Feedback doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to be timely, relevant and acted upon.
Feedback can come in many simple forms such as clicks, attendees, etc., but one thing that will help here is for the team to decide on criteria or a baseline for “Yes, we’re on the right track” or “No, we need to adjust.”
As the team is preparing the work in the backlog, they often meet in a ceremony called Backlog Refinement. This is a great time before the work begins to align on the baseline. For example, they may discuss a webinar that they’re planning on marketing next week. This webinar is part of a series and they have some attendance data from the past. From the past six webinars, you’ve had an average of 100 attendees, but your goal is to reach new people and retain ones from the past. Therefore, your team decides its baseline for success is 120 attendees. If it’s lower than that, you’ll discuss changing something. If it’s that number or higher, you’ll continue working as planned.
By taking a little time to evaluate what metrics mean you’re able to proceed with no questions asked. You know in advance what will cause the team to reflect and revisit a strategy. You can incorporate feedback into how you work without any expensive tools required.
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