Agile Marketing Explained

scrum vs sprint

WHAT AGILE MARKETING IS AND WHAT IT ISN’T

If you’ve been halfway tapped into the marketing zeitgeist lately, you’ve seen this phrase: Agile marketing.

Everybody’s talking about it as the “next thing in marketing.” It even has its own manifesto. Despite all this hooplah, however, you shouldn’t feel too bad if you can’t quite put your finger on what Agile marketing is.

Take a look at the Agile marketing groups on sites like LinkedIn, and it becomes clear that more than a few people are a tad confused about it. Is it simply restructuring your marketing and in-house creative teams and their processes to be more nimble? Sort of. Does it just mean streamlining your process and jettisoning any baggage that slows your team down? Kind of.

To give you a nice, clean 20,000-foot explanation of it, Agile is a work management methodology that has been dominating IT work management for the last several years. It has been known to increase teams’ flexibility and ability to react to demand while improving productivity. Now that it’s proven itself effective, the marketing folks have taken notice.

Agile-driven creative teams have reported that their creativity has experienced a major boost once freed from the endless development cycles that can happen in traditional marketing work management. Creative teams have seen their productivity explode by 400 percent and with less fuss. Marketing teams can test and iterate on campaigns faster.

If you’re like most marketers looking for ways to get creative and campaigns on time and with less fuss, here is a quick crash course on Agile and how you can use it to make your marketing and creative teams as creative and effective as they deserve to be…

 

What Agile Marketing is not

Some less-informed marketers will talk about agile marketing (with a lower-case ‘a’) as simply a mindset or philosophy. Their comments focus on streamlining processes or looking for ways to make your team more nimble and faster to react to opportunities. And it’s easy to see where these ideas come from, since they are basically just going off the adjective ‘agile.’ Not coincidentally, these things are some of the biggest benefits of using Agile (with a capital ‘A’) in marketing.

Unfortunately, this confusion can lead to lots of talk on the subject without the power to actually make those benefits a reality. It’s only when you understand what Agile marketing really is that you start to make progress.

 

What Agile Marketing is

Simply put, Agile marketing is the application of a specific work methodology (Agile) to the way marketing projects and non-project work is executed.

Where most creative teams produce projects sequentially from step A to step Z, also known as a waterfall methodology, Agile marketing seeks to put your team’s resources into creating a minimum viable product as quickly as possible. It’s also built not to plod along on a single project for weeks, but to accommodate all of your most important tasks—from multiple projects and even ad hoc requests that can be completed in a short timeline.

To accomplish this, Agile requires that all work be broken down into “stories,” which can be chunks of larger projects or small ad hoc requests. Each story tells your team, in a nutshell, what needs to be created. With that information, your team assigns to the story the number of hours they think it will take them to complete the story. Your team divides their time up into periods of time called sprints, which are a week or two weeks. Naturally, every sprint has a set number of hours which will be filled by stories and is intended to be a period of focused creativity that allows ample time for creative team members to explore a number of approaches to a story before moving forward. Again, the stories are chosen for a sprint based on their priority, and the creative team goes to work. Stories are placed on a public burndown chart, where team members and stakeholders alike can see them move from ‘incomplete’ to ‘approval’ to ‘complete’.

As you can see, Agile is quite different from the traditional workflow most creative teams are used to, but the benefits are undeniable. Agile eliminates the bottlenecks and wasted time in found in conventional methodologies and empowers creative teams to collaborate more, and make on-the-fly decisions about a project’s direction, task order, or priority. Hence the name Agile.

This increased productivity and quality, of course, have a direct impact on the companies that use Agile. In fact, studies show that Agile firms grow revenues up to 37% faster and increase profits as much as 30% more than their non-Agile counterparts.

Advertisements

Everyone Everywhere True North

customers 14.jpg

I learnt early in my career that Service organisations have millions of brand touch points delivered everyday by colleagues who interact with customers. Once you have defined the Customer Offer and Brand Story, aligning all the Brand touch points to give a consistent Brand Story is critical for success. This is the  essence of the “True North” turn around plan at Co-op Food. There are lots of ways to do this:

Tesco has implemented Yammer – an ‘enterprise social network’, allowing them to realise a vision of having ‘over half a million valued colleagues effortlessly connected and aligned:  Everyone, Everywhere’. To make this work, Tesco had to also change policies and processes: Tesco added in-store wifi and changed their policies to allow store staff to take their personal mobiles onto the shop floor.

Coop has changed the policy that allows colleagues to use their own mobile phones in the convenience shops , and they have uses several different tools ( WhatsApp, Slack ) to enable colleagues to communicate more clearly with each other. Posting pictures, chating and solving their own problems.

This has helped to create a sense of community between colleagues that extends across stores. Colleagues use the network to celebrate success, share learnings, ask questions and find answers. For example, bakers might share images of their morning display – and the service has even been used to share excess stock with nearby stores that are running low

Yammer has encouraged greater cooperation and a healthy sense of competition. Directors are also able to monitor conversations and can react quickly if required.

Quick in, quick out. I like

Vikden groceries

#data pulse # 41

Easy in and easy out are key elements of convenience retailing, and Robert Ilijason a 39 year old IT expert has used digital and data to create the first unstaffed convenience retailer in a remote part of Sweden.

It was a chaotic, late-night scramble to buy baby food with a screaming toddler in the back seat that gave Robert Ilijason the idea to open Sweden’s first unstaffed convenience store.

Home alone with his hungry son, Ilijason had dropped the last baby food jar on the floor, and had to drive 20 minutes from the small town of Viken in southern Sweden to find a supermarket that was open.

Now the 39-year-old IT specialist runs a 24-hour shop with no cashier.

 Customers simply use their mobiles to unlock the door with a swipe of the finger and scan their purchases. All they need to do is to register for the service and download an app. They get charged for their purchases in a monthly invoice.

The shop has basics like milk, bread, sugar, canned food, nappies and other products that you expect to find in a small convenience store. It doesn’t have tobacco or medical drugs because of the risk of theft. Alcohol cannot be sold in convenience stores in Sweden.

“My ambition is to spread this idea to other villages and small towns,” said Ilijason. “It is incredible that no one has thought of his before.”

He hopes the savings of having no staff will help bring back small stores to the countryside, so you can have more distribution with longer opening hours in remote areas.

Ilijason receives deliveries at the shop and stacks products on the shelves. Then he lets the customers do the rest.

He has installed six surveillance cameras to discourage shoplifting in the 480-square-foot store. Also, he is alerted by a text message if the front door stays open for longer than eight seconds or if someone tries to break it open.

“I live nearby and can always run down here with a crowbar,” Ilijason said laughing, but added that hasn’t been necessary since the store opened in January.

A bigger challenge has been getting some of the elderly residents in Viken, a town of 4,200 people, to get the hang of the technology involved.

Tuve Nilsson, 75, said there were many more shops in the town when he moved here with his family in 1976. He welcomed Ilijason’s new store, saying it could be convenient for elderly people living alone.

“But if they can manage this (technology), I don’t know,” Nilsson said. “Sometimes I don’t understand it.”

Ilijason is considering other ways to unlock the door that wouldn’t require using an app. He’s ruled out face-recognition or fingerprint scanners, but is thinking of installing a credit card reader like some banks use. He’s also considering having one person man the store for a few hours a day to help customers who aren’t comfortable with modern technology.

Other customers loved the speed of the no-service store. Raymond Arvidsson, a friend of Ilijason’s, did his shopping in less than a minute.

“No queues,” he said, smiling. “Quick in, quick out. I like.”

Vicken sweden

 

Predictive analytics running shops

sainsburys milk.png

Energy usage accounts for 60% of the operational carbon costs in running shops. In with its 2020 vision for sustainability, Sainsbury’s set in motion a series of CSR strategies. A revamped refrigeration strategy prioritised carbon reductions, although not necessarily reduced costs.

sainsburys

Fridges and freezers were all fitted with devices to monitor performance (primarily energy usage and temperature). This information, pushed every 15 seconds, provided an alarm strategy so that any unit that strays from its optimal temperature can be identified immediately. This systematic approach ensures that all food types are kept at the right temperature for as long as possible, so that customers always receive the freshest goods.

Sainsbury’s then transitioned from active management to predictive management. With the data being produced by refrigeration units, it was possible to identify which types of cabinet performed best, which refrigerants are most efficient, and to predict which units would need to be serviced and/or have parts replaced. In this way, Sainsbury’s could stay ahead of the curve and react before technical failures caused serious losses.

Data and digital technology is being used to deliver solutions to business problems making it Better for customers ( more environmentally friendly and always available fridge and freezers) Simpler for colleagues in store ( central predictive control means fridges are never down and have to be emptied and repaired) and Cheaper for the organisation ( less energy, better refrigeration contracts less stock wasted)

cutting the corners using data

UPS 1.png

data pulse #22

UPS generates rich data through devices, vehicles, tracking materials and sensors throughout its operations. Using advanced data analytics it aims to ‘turn that complex universe of data into business intelligence’.

Route optimisation delivers immense value for UPS – a reduction of one mile per driver per day results in up to $50 million each year. Telematics sensors in UPS vehicles monitor speed, direction, braking, RPM, oil pressure, shifting, idle time, seatbelt use, and hundreds of other data points, including geographic and map data. The analytics team now runs advanced algorithms to crunch all of this information, factoring in delivery routes, customer information, business rules and employee work rules. These algorithms can determine the vehicle’s performance and condition, and can even recommend driving adjustments.

Through these analytics, UPS reduced total miles driven per year by 85 million. Idle engine time was also reduced by 10 million minutes. The information UPS receives allows fully informed decisions about vehicle replacement, and helps determine best driving practice so that drivers get the best possible training.

“We don’t look at initiatives as ‘analytics projects,’ we look at them as business projects. Our goal is to make business processes methods, procedures and analytics all one and the same.” – UPS Senior Director of Process Management.

 

how to connect customers lives?

#data pulse 17

Times have changed significantly since we built the first unified view of customers in Tesco in 2005 working with Clive Humby and the team at dunnhumby. We were cutting edge at the time and had to build all the systems and processes from scratch. Technology has improved with the likes of IBM Infosphere providing MDM systems , and new agile , start-up mentality ways of working changing delivery timetables.

Gone are the days of 12-24 month development programmes, with waterfall methodology and timescales that mean the business imperatives have moved on before they can be addressed.

Hello to technology and ways of thinking about data problems for the 21st Century where leaders can focus on the business problems and organisational process changes required to solve the problems for customers.

met life 2

The MetLife Wall is a good example in financial services of creating a unified view. It joins all linked customer information in a single place, with one screen that gives all of the information needed to serve customers quickly and effectively. The Wall provides a simple 360 view of each customer across MetLife’s businesses. The interface shows interactions across all touch points (e.g. call centre, in-person interactions with agents, claims, policy updates), connecting more than 70 legacy systems. The application allows customer service agents to reach the information they need with far fewer clicks, and makes it much easier to effectively cross-sell.

The first prototype of the system took just 2 weeks to build. The entire development process, from conception to final product, took just 3 months.

The lessons to learn from Met Life are

  1. a clear focus on what problem you want to solve with the Unified View of Customers.
  2. an agile, start-up mentality where you build minimum credible product and then continually improve.
  3. unified view of customers is a start point to solve business problems not an end point,