CMO Insights: Reappraising Agility For Marketing How To Use Agile Methods To Become Truly Agile


Our recent Chief Marketing Officer roundtable was another really enjoyable get together. It feels like we’ve hit a sweet spot with a good central venue (Gezellig), a decent yet light menu and an informal but purposeful format.

This time we welcomed senior marketers from Bacardi, British American Tobacco, Britvic, Canon, CarWow, Cisco, HEAD and EY. Our theme was ‘cracking the code: getting agile into marketing’.

It quickly emerged that we had a wide range of experiences and perceptions around agile methods in marketing:

Cynicism: agile can be whatever you want to be as it’s a buzzword to describe what marketers do naturally i.e. work quickly, find effective short-cuts, get in a huddle to fix things
Passion: applied with rigour and pragmatism, agile methods can vastly improve the quality and efficiency of marketing delivery, although you can’t expect the whole organisation to embrace agile methods
Apprehension: the whole organisation is committed to being more agile, yet we’re not sure exactly how we’re going to do that
Weariness: we’ve tried agile and it just didn’t produce results

Through discussion and later reflection there was some level of agreement that we need to reclaim the language around agile working. Agility is very much the goal that organisations need to be effective in today’s hyper-dynamic world. Agile Methods are the way to achieve the desired agility, using techniques such as Lean (for optimising marketing processes) and Scrum (for increasing the velocity of change initiatives like new product development, testing of new channel strategies, etc.).

There was also widespread agreement that introducing Agile Methods need not be an ‘all or nothing’ choice. ING Bank famously have made that ‘big bang’ change whilst most other organisations choose to introduce aspects of agile or full agile in discrete teams, so that the change involved does not become unmanageable.

Flock shared guidance for where, when and how to introduce Agile Methods into marketing:

  1. Apply Lean Methodology to make established processes better (simpler, faster, higher quality). This requires training and potentially some work on roles & responsibilities and the clarity with which current processes are described
  2. Apply Scrum Methodology to the development of new marketing ‘stuff’, including the development of new marketing processes. Again, this requires training and some clarity on roles.
  3. And that’s it, watch how 1 & 2 combine to make all aspects of your marketing more agile, as marketers start to apply what they learn to their everyday repeat tasks

We’re hoping that everyone left the Roundtable feeling good about agile, either with validation that their commitment to agile methods is right or a willingness to reappraise agility and what it could do for their business.

And we know for a fact that everyone left with a copy of Jeff Sutherland’s scrum masterpiece, “How to do Twice the Work in Half the Time”.

If you’re a marketer and would like to know more about how Flock can help your marketing team become truly agile, give us call. And also let us know if you’d like to be invited to future CMO Roundtables.