Scrum for Agile Marketing

by Renata Lerch

In a recent MarketingTech article, I discussed agile marketing in the context of clearly defining one’s customer base in order to execute Scrum effectively and efficiently. More and more organizations are coming to rely on digital marketing these days and are drawing the majority of their customer base and advertising revenue from Internet and technological platforms. As a result, the demand for digital marketing has skyrocketed, making agility in digital marketing critical to an organization’s success.

Learning to be agile in digital marketing means learning to react quickly, fail fast, adjust accordingly, making iterative progress toward concrete deliverables. Oftentimes, Scrum is the framework that holds all these components together and makes agility possible. Scrum began in IT, so digital marketing, with its heavy reliance on Internet technology, is a field naturally oriented toward Scrum.

Learning to be agile in digital marketing means learning to react quickly, fail fast, adjust accordingly, making iterative progress toward concrete deliverables. (Click to Tweet)

But for Scrum and agility to work in marketing, companies have to make their customers the center of the enterprise. That means knowing the customer as the consumer — the one purchasing the actual endpoint deliverable — but it also requires getting a sense of the “customer” aspect of each internal team long before a product reaches the consumer in the external market.

At Scrum Alliance, for example, our endpoint audience is our community of members and customers. But when it comes to marketing, in order to reach that community, we first need to navigate the demands of our own product teams. That means working together and speaking the same language as every team — each of which often operates in different sectors and do business a little differently. It’s tough work, but it’s also imperative for making sure that our expectations for our products and services are clearly communicated and universally understood. It’s is marketing’s job, after all, to align communication through the entire customer journey across multiple products.

In order to reach the consumer, marketing teams must first navigate the demands of the internal product team. That means working together and speaking the same language as every team. (Click to Tweet)

Even though we talk and care about consumer outreach, all outreach efforts also need to be routed through our product development teams. This requires clear and effective communication between these teams — all but impossible in waterfall-type organizational structures. Scrum, on the other hand, provides organizations the freedom to include product team members on other projects and assignments, opening up opportunities for conversations and discussions about product goals on the front end — not just retroactively.

This is where tactical tools can help: things like having a refined backlog of goals with well-defined tasks that can hold everyone accountable in the long term, and like holding daily stand-up meetings that provide insight into achieved and forthcoming benchmarks in the short term.

Digital marketing isn’t just an organizational necessity in the tech age; it’s an exciting opportunity for companies to innovate, grow and adapt to agility.

Renata Lerch is the VP of Global Marketing & Communications and member of the acting Team CEO at Scrum Alliance.