Strategy vs. tactical implementation in digital marketing

We face a fine line right now between Minimal Viable Product or Post and launching something with no sequel.

For those close to the software and technology sectors Eric’s Lean Startup and Agile principles push us to launch a product that will bring SIGNIFICANT value to the user but under the premise of minimal viable product. Make it “good enough”.

Costs, ROI and resources are ever more scrutinised. Despite this the #agilemarketing hashtag and the cause is still grass roots in volume despite the Klout scores of those involved and its ability to provide measurable returns.

I am scrum trained and an agile proponent as a product owner. Yet I can’t help but feel that there is a scalability issue vs. overall business strategy. Unless agile is embedded throughout the organisation.

Agile is a project management method that is hard to beat at a tatictal level. A Kanban or agile approach to “what needs fixing” on an existing website can be very effective and a base for building an understanding of agile within the organisation.

Yet try to explain this or fit it into an annual marketing plan or 5 year strategy and well…

In a way some of the basic principals of agile can be refreshing to an organisation battling priorities.

  1. Your backlog (list of things to do) is prioritised and you do the most valuable things first, not by who shouts loudest with the most seniority. Things that add value to the end user. It is however good to note that clients are not the only user. Your product or digital marketing has many users: clients, prospective employees and current employees. Fixing your CMS so that internal users can post content could be a high priority for example.
  2. The INVEST acronym defining a good story (the agile term for a set volume of work) means you’re investing in the right manor.
    • You break tasks in to Independent bites, you don’t end up waiting for someone else before you see the project complete.
    • You Negotiate, to understand how difficult those who have to do the task feel it is, conflicting values mean there’s more to it than meet the eye, and is raises flags.
    • Tasks must deliver Value to the end user or why do them at all!
    • Your tasks must be Estimable. To that end you should not attempt tasks who’s dimensions of success and scale are not well defined. E.G. “Make the website pop”
    • Small or sized, means tasks or “stories” are small enough to fit on a post-it. Refining a “register now” button to make it black is far easier than “fix our events site” as a task
    • finally the stories are Testable. Each one can be independently tested. Meaning we can see what ROI did we get from changing the register now button to green from red. This was possible because we defined success (and acceptance criteria) for the task before it was started

Starting out with Kanban, or Agile, and building your team into the process is the first step. With success and ROI your case builds and the groundswell develops. Those who’ve adopted agile see it as common sense, yet they all understand that common sense is rarely common or sensical.

But it’s with perseverance that the rest of the organisation will follow.

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