How To Implement Agile Marketing For The Best Results

Agile marketing for b2b

This article was originally published in the Elevate Your Marketing newsletter and has been repurposed and republished here with the author’s permission. Here is the link to the original article. 

If you are in the tech or project management space, you are most likely familiar with the concept of agile methodology. Agile marketing is an extension of this idea into marketing. While the idea is quite simple and self-explanatory, the following questions might arise:

  1. How do we include agile marketing in our daily marketing practices?
  2. What are the best practices in agile marketing that will set your team up for faster execution and better results?
  3. What are the parallels we can draw from the tech and development world to finetune our approach to agile marketing?
  4. Above all, from a practical standpoint, can agile marketing really move the needle for your business?

We will try to learn these in this blog post.

What is Agile Marketing?

Agile methodology in the development domain refers to managing a project in multiple stages rather than looking at it as one large block of tasks. These short stages are called sprints – which together constitute the entire project. An approach like this calls for extensive collaboration among all the stakeholders with regular discussions and exchange of information.

Some of the advantages of the agile methodology include:

  • Faster and more effective detection of bugs and issues with the ability to resolve them quickly.
  • Better collaboration among team members with easier communication and regular discussions.
  • Enhanced visibility of the complete project for individual team members – eliminating silos and scattered efforts.
  • Ability to make continuous improvements to the overall output without waiting for the end of a project.

In a nutshell, it improves the overall quality of the project output. The following diagram illustrates the agile process in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand manner:

Agile process diagram
Agile process (source:

Agile marketing is the process of replicating the same approach in marketing. Instead of planning campaigns for months, you implement shorter sprints that give the marketing team the flexibility to make improvements much quicker in order to achieve better results and ROI.

However, the idea is not to eliminate the long-term view in marketing. You still need to have your 1-year marketing plan, long-term objectives, continuous ABM (Account Based Marketing) efforts, etc. The objective is to rather align your individual activities to meet the team-level goals faster with as little friction as possible.

Drawbacks of a rigid and non-agile marketing team

Before we learn what an agile marketing team looks like, we must understand the drawbacks of a rigid marketing engine.

One of my other articles spoke about the importance of having internal marketing alignment (check out the article here). So the very first drawback is not having that alignment between different teams and functions within marketing.

In addition to this, following are the other challenges you might face as a non-agile marketing team:

  • Multiple teams targeting the same set of customers with different campaigns – an example of this can be the ABM team running an email campaign to a set of target accounts while the performance marketing team runs LinkedIn ads targeting the same accounts without any integration between the two campaigns.
  • Inability to compound different marketing efforts owing to lack of integration between them. Think about the same example I mentioned above. The ABM and performance marketing teams could have worked together to create an ad and email nurturing sequence campaign for their target accounts. Further, such disintegrated efforts could also lead to one campaign adversely affecting the impact of the other.
  • Unavailability of information and lack of direction due to team members of a particular function not knowing what’s happening in the other.
  • Investments in redundant marketing tools. For instance, I have seen ABM teams and product marketing teams using different email marketing tools for no specific reason. This causes unnecessary spending. This might also lead to compliance issues owing to the fact that user opt-out data lies in disparate tools.

What does an agile marketing process look like?

When we say that agile marketing is about replicating the agile methodology, we are not talking about doing a copycat (from the project management space). Rather, we will attempt to adapt the methodology to fit the needs of a new-age B2B marketing team.

In a way, agile marketing is an extension of the concept of internal marketing alignment. The key difference is that the primary objective of the agile process is speed – the ability to turn things around quickly, fix and fine-tune problems fast, and improve outcomes without too many dependencies.

The agile marketing approach can be seen along two different lines:

  1. The agile marketing process
  2. Going agile marketing with integrated marketing

The former refers to defining processes and workflows that help a marketing function become truly agile. The latter is about how different teams within marketing join hands together to approach marketing cohesively while still maintaining the flexibility to easily adapt on the go.

1. The agile marketing process

The following diagram illustrates the agile marketing process:

agile marketing flowchart
Agile marketing process

Applying the agile methodology in marketing helps marketing leaders and team leads gain better control over daily and weekly marketing activities.

The role of the CMO or the head of marketing in an agile marketing team is to convert team-level goals into marketing activities that help achieve those goals. This could include:

  • Converting lead/pipeline goals into individual and integrated marketing campaigns for different teams.
  • Communicating these activities to all the team leads.
  • Brainstorming with the team leads to further optimize the marketing activities designed by the CMO.
  • Offering the necessary support in terms of budget, hiring approvals, onboarding tools, etc., for the team leads to be able to get to their respective goals and targets.

The CMO will then have regular review meetings (preferably once a week) to measure and analyze how far the teams have traveled in terms of achieving their targets. He/she will also provide team leads with essential guidance and advice to improve their teams’ results.

Once this step is over (which usually happens at the beginning of a financial year or a planning phase like a quarter). it is now for the team leads to work with their teams to execute the plan. This will be characterized by:

  • Dividing marketing campaigns and activities into sprints.
  • Designing and reviewing the sprint backlogs.
  • Conducting sprint review meetings.
  • Distributing the available resources (budget, tools) among the team members.

Essentially, the team lead will act as the scrum master by leading from the front to manage the execution project from the beginning till the end. He/she will continuously keep a check on the progress of the team – making interventions whenever necessary.

2. Going agile with integrated marketing

An agile marketing team is not just about following agile processes. In a development or IT project, it is relatively less complex to ensure every team works coherently towards the same goal.

For instance, as the dev team completes a sprint, the testing team knows that it has to keep the test cases ready to perform the testing process. Once testing is completed and bugs & issues are fixed, the module or sprint is set for release.

When it comes to marketing, it is tougher to attain this level of clarity. This is mostly because of the difference in the nature of teams within the marketing organization. For example, an ABM team might have a lead target from a specific set of accounts, whereas the website team would be having KPIs like improving website speed, eliminating 404 errors, removing duplicate pages, etc.

So how do you ensure that teams with different types of goals work in tandem?

This is where integrated marketing comes in. When combined with agile practices, it can ensure that your marketing function works like a well-oiled engine (more about the reasons why you need integrated marketing here).

The following diagram is a very simplistic representation of this idea:

agile marketing and integrated marketing
Integrated team for agile marketing

The very basic characteristic of integrated marketing is collaboration. Every team member knows what is happening within his/her team as well as the other teams. Every individual is aware of his/her own goals, plus the goals of all the teammates.

This collaboration should happen in five different phases:

  1. Strategy phase: This is where the senior management sets and communicates the goals to the CMO or head of marketing.
  2. Planning phase: In the planning phase, the CMO works alongside the team leads to further qualify and optimize the strategy for the current period.
  3. Execution: As the term suggests, this is where the marketing team members get their hands dirty by doing all the groundwork.
  4. Measurement and analysis: If you read the integrated marketing diagram together with the agile marketing process diagram, you can see that measurement and analysis take place at two different levels. One is at the sub-team level while the other is at the marketing team level. The former happens between the team leads and their respective team members and the latter happens between the CMO and the team leads.
  5. Finetuning and improvement: This requires a multi-tiered approach where all the marketing stakeholders get together and attempt to enhance marketing campaigns and activities.

The marketing scoreboard

Like the agile dashboard, the marketing scoreboard collects all the necessary data that helps analyze the progress each team is making in the direction of the team goals. While review meetings act as a tool for in-person updates and interactions, the marketing scoreboard becomes the single source of truth for all the outcomes of the team’s activities.

I am calling it a scoreboard to evoke a sense of competition in terms of working towards individual team goals (say the SEO team might have certain goals while the social media team would be working on a different set of goals).

Now, the next natural question is, what should constitute the marketing scoreboard?

First, we need to understand that the objective of the scoreboard is to give you visibility into team-level goals, and not dive deep into every KPI. In that context, the scoreboard should have two types of metrics for each team:

  1. Team-level goal status (say pipeline achieved, SQLs generated, etc)
  2. Core sub-team level metrics (say MQLs for each individual or sub-team)

The following image is a good representation of what the marketing scoreboard could look like:

scoreboard for marketing
The marketing scoreboard

The idea is that the marketing scoreboard should give you the ability to see what you have achieved against the target as individual teams as well as the overall marketing team.

A practical example of agile marketing

We already partially touched upon an example of agile marketing (Remember the ABM team vs. performance marketing team case we discussed?). But that covered only a few elements of agile marketing. In this section, let us dive deep into a real-life example of how agile marketing can be – and should be – applied.

Assume you lead the content marketing function at a B2B SaaS company. You are just starting to actively invest in content marketing. As a part of this whole exercise, you are tasked with the following:

  • Work with the product marketing team to understand the new positioning and messaging of your product.
  • Revamp the website copy based on this new messaging and approach.
  • Focus on SEO-led content by targeting relevant keywords in your niche.
  • Leverage video marketing as a channel to improve top-of-the-mind recall of your brand and product.

For each of the above responsibilities (except the first one), you need to follow a trial-and-error approach where you experiment with different types of messaging, copy, hooks, keywords, pillar topics, etc.

But you can’t have the experiment duration to be 5 to 6 months since your total evaluation period is one year. You need to be able to quickly adapt to market changes and modify your strategy accordingly. The agile marketing approach is a perfect framework to follow here.

For example, let’s say you are selling an AI-based writing assistant. You used the following statements and taglines on the home page of your website:

  • Create long-form content in less than 5 minutes
  • Save more than 85% of your content creation time
  • Repurpose articles into social media posts in minutes

Assume you have a CTA button against each of the above statements. If you were to follow the traditional (rigid) marketing approach, you would wait for 7 to 8 months to analyze the impact of your copy (you could do this by looking at # of CTA button clicks and overall click pattern – using a heatmap analysis tool).

In the agile marketing approach, you would do this more frequently (say once every 2 months) as long as a certain threshold is met in terms of traffic and CTA button clicks (to make sure the data is statistically significant).

If you see any of the messaging lines not resonating with your audience, you will go ahead and test new messaging. Agile marketing enables you to do this fast without any bottlenecks.

You would be able to follow a similar process when it comes to SEO-led content and video marketing too. The higher the number of activities you extend this methodology to, the better.

Final words

Though agile marketing can be applied universally to teams of all sizes, it has limitations when it comes to large marketing teams. This is because cross-team collaboration within the marketing organization might be practically difficult. In such a case, you can scale down the agile marketing approach to an individual team within marketing (say social media, or sometimes even a business unit – if your marketing team is aligned to a business unit or division).

In addition, how you apply the methodology might also vary depending on your marketing org structure. As I always say, any approach or framework I suggest needs to be adapted to your business environment. A ‘one size fits all’ approach never works.

Further, I believe that the topic has more depth than what I have covered in this piece. However, I had to limit the content for brevity. I would suggest you go back to the beginning of this article and look at the 4 questions I put forth related to this topic. Try to answer them for your own business based on the frameworks and tips I discussed. That will put you in a better position to practice agile marketing flawlessly.


Skalegrow – B2B marketing agency

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About the author

Naseef KPO

Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.

Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.

You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.