Why Agile Marketing Agencies Are a Better Hire for Your Business in 2022
The key challenges faced by modern businesses can best be summed up with one word: volatility. From supply chains to pandemic diseases, businesses are facing a world that is simply far less certain than it seemed just a few years ago.
That’s why to survive and thrive, modern businesses need to be nimble, responding to changing circumstances at the speed our globalized world demands. One byproduct of this has been that many businesses now turn to external agencies for functions like marketing. Bringing on an existing agency enables these businesses to grow and evolve their marketing faster than building an internal team from scratch.
But external agencies also bring their own problems.
From quality to cost, often it’s hard to determine what you’re really going to get from an agency. Too often, external agency marketing can feel like just going through the motions instead of dynamically experimenting to figure out what’s going to achieve your goals.
That’s where Agile marketing agencies come in.
Agile marketing is ideal for the kind of dynamic, remote, client value-centric work that businesses today need. Let’s see what that difference looks like in practice.
What’s good for agencies is good for clients, too
There’s a reason marketers of all kinds are moving to Agile. It’s ideally suited to help agencies work more efficiently, deliver better results, and most of all, drive more value for their clients.
Makes Remote Teams More Accountable
With the massive shift towards remote work still ongoing, Agile marketing agencies look more appealing than ever. This is because when marketers, whether internal or external, go remote, it becomes even more difficult to coordinate activities and ensure everyone remains on the same page.
Often, remote marketers can feel they have no idea how their work is contributing to the company’s larger goals, fueling dissatisfaction and poor performance.
But Agile addresses this problem head-on. Visualization boards and daily standups ensure everyone has the context they need to work. Blockages get quickly flagged and resolved while backlogs ensure that once a task is done, it’s clear what should come next.
Beyond making remote work more effective, all of this also helps Agile agencies be more accountable to clients. Sprints, standups, and boards all make it clear who is doing what as well as ensure top client priorities get the attention they deserve.
Frequent, Iterative Delivery
Good marketing never rests on its laurels. The chances of a fantastic marketing strategy working just as well 5 years after it was first tried is vanishingly small. Great marketing agencies always have to be hunting for new tactics and strategies, testing everything they do, and ensuring they always have client value at the front of their minds.
Again, Agile is simply ideal for addressing this need.
Breaking work down into sprints or simply managing it on a visual board ensures value gets delivered more frequently. Then, retrospectives are excellent chances to reflect on what’s working and what isn’t. By building that reflection into the process, you avoid becoming an agency that just runs a single strategy into the ground before trying something new.
Focus on Client Impact, not Client deliverables
It sounds obvious but it’s worth saying, not all marketing is created equal. An excellent blog article or ad campaign can bring 100x the value of a mediocre one. That’s why it’s so important that Agile marketing shifts the focus from deliverables to impact.
After all, most businesses who have hired an external marketing agency have probably experienced this: you ask for four blog articles a month and that’s what you get. “Mission accomplished!” says the agency. But is it really?
Focusing on data and frequently checking to make sure the marketing you’re doing is delivering real value for the client is how Agile agencies avoid this trap.
Based on Our True Story
Automagically has been an Agile marketing shop since our humble beginnings in December 2019.
Becoming an Agile marketing agency was an easy choice as our founder and first hire had extensive Agile background. They’d met in 2015 while building a powerhouse marketing team at a process management software vendor and been trained up in Lean and Agile methodologies as well as Kanban and Scrum frameworks.
They had seen Agile work wonders in their in-house marketing team that eventually leveraged process practices from IT to become one of the highest performing teams in the organization.
When they branched off to form Automagically, there was no doubt how the process would be structured. They could not have imagined that Agile would allow them to 10X their output and outcomes while avoiding common agency pitfalls that prevent many traditional marketing agencies from succeeding in the long term.
The Way Agile Marketing Agencies Work
Our process success hinges on the five Agile marketing values listed below. If you’d like to read the entire Agile marketing manifesto, which includes values and principles, check it out at https://agilemarketingmanifesto.org
Focusing on customer value and business outcomes over activity and outputs
Unlike other agencies, we measure our achievements in outcomes over outputs. If an article is written and published, it means we’re only part of the way there. Along with our clients, we monitor our work to watch how it performs in the wild and analyze the results together. By co-creating with our partners, we are able to develop impactful marketing that is meaningful to our customer’s customers.
For this, we use tools like Value Proposition Canvases and emphasize tracking as a critical part of our development process.
It ain’t over til it’s measured and improved at least once, as we like to say.
Delivering value early and often over waiting for perfection
Perfection is relative and it can actually be very stifling to creativity. Our team adheres to the maxim GEFN – Good Enough for Now. GEFN doesn’t mean we will deliver half-baked work that isn’t viable in the eyes of our customers. Instead, we focus on delivering the smallest amount of work that will effectively deliver on the desired outcome, so that we don’t get bogged down in over-processing and over-development based on our internal assumptions. GEFN is a main culprit of our ability to operate as an embedded marketing team for 10+ clients at once, without allowing quality and, in turn, our impact, to suffer.
GEFN means never overdoing it, but always reaching your goal in a timely manner.
Learning through experiments and data over opinions and conventions
Through our prism and that of any Agile marketing agency, everything can be tested and everything can be treated as an experiment upon which to improve. This is a breath of fresh air for clients who are seeking product-market fit, are entering a new geography, are keen to promote a new product, or anyone at all that is dealing with VUCA – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
During the pandemic, many industries that had not paid attention to VUCA because it did not affect their bottom line as strongly as others, began to pay attention to changing circumstances. Now, being able to adapt to change quickly is a major advantage in any sector.
The way you promote your business and your products is the perfect way to de-risk the rest of the investments you make in human resources, sales, and development. By working with an Agile marketing agency, you can use your marketing to validate your direction, then go all-in on the approach that shows promise through customer data.
We believe in experimentation that proves and disproves our assumptions about our customers.
Cross-functional collaboration over silos and hierarchies
Agile marketing agencies are, first and foremost, self-managing, cross-functional teams. Unlike traditional agencies, where the hierarchical model dictates how decisions get made, Agile agencies work differently. As one ourselves, we share responsibilities and work towards becoming t-shaped marketers every day, teaching each other about our different areas of expertise. In this way, our projects are rarely delayed, because someone can always pick up a piece of a project to move it forward in case someone is sick, absent, or unavailable.
To track all the activities in flight and stay transparent, we use a visual workflow. Each client’s work is mapped on a digital Kanban board with stages that reflect its status. Each Monday, we assign work and groom our master backlogs to get a bird’s eye view of everything that is going on in a given week.
We also limit the amount of work we have in progress using work in progress limits so that no one team member gets overburdened. WIP limits allow us to take on smaller subsets of the work at once, finish it, and only then move on to the rest. It keeps us sane and customers satisfied.
Simplicity – maximizing the amount of work not done is essential.
Responding to change over following a static plan
Unlike traditional in-house marketing teams that work off of an annual marketing plan, we know that the rate of change we’re usually dealing with in high-stakes B2B environments calls for a different way of processing work. That is why we work off of a smaller set of iterative plans, rather than huge static ones.
Weekly touchpoints with our customers allow us to make sure that the strategy from last week is still relevant and, if not, gives us a chance to adapt it to the new reality together.
Instead of derailing our process, this approach allows us to infuse our in-progress work with pertinent feedback from customers and the environment on a weekly basis. We only change the plan when we see there is business value for our customers to do so.
We believe in harnessing the opportunity from implementing change, not just changing just for change’s sake.
Hear it from our clients
Don’t just take our word for it. Our way of work has meant that we have grown alongside our clients, some of which have been with us for years. We may have started as a marketing-team-for-hire to fill the gap at a certain stage of some of our clients’ journeys. However, for many of them, we are now a trusted partner that consistently delivers results and manages itself, so they can focus on building high-quality products. Some of our clients include:
Agile Marketing Consultancy
The client is a boutique enterprise consultancy for Agile marketing transformation. Their clients are the marketing operations leaders at Fortune 100 organizations. Automagically has been working with this team since January 2020. We develop email marketing as a main MQL channel, curate and contribute weekly blog content to grow organic traffic, build case studies to support sales, and develop landing pages on the website.
Since Hiring an Agile Marketing Agency
- 38% average increase in MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) since Automagically began to support this client’s marketing
- 4X increase in their addressable audience
- +18K new high-value website visitors in the past 6 months
The client is a Colorado-based web app for online Agile retrospectives. It is used by teams mainly in the US, UK, FR, and GER. Automagically has been working with this team since January 2021. As their marketing team for hire, we develop email campaigns for engaging users, build content for their blog and resources, and run successful Google Ad campaigns to bring in trial users.
Since Hiring an Agile Marketing Agency
- 21% average increase in MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) since Automagically began to support this client’s marketing
- 10% increase in open rate of email marketing campaigns
- 185 new paying customers acquired
E-commerce Suite Provider
The client is a European e-commerce suite provider developing research and analysis software for Amazon sellers. Their products are used by apparel and booksellers mainly in the US, UK, Germany, and Canada. Automagically has been supporting their growth efforts since August 2021, with a focus mainly on digital advertising and email marketing.
Since Hiring an Agile Marketing Agency
- 19% average increase in monthly product trials since starting to work with Automagically
- 30% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) of email marketing campaigns
- 1000+ new users attracted through advertising
Do you want to see how an Agile marketing agency would capitalize on your opportunities differently? Learn more about hiring an external agency that takes this proven approach, so that marketing can happen automagically.