Agile Marketing is the Answer to Marketers’ Woes: Data on Why

Time for the obvious statement of the day: marketing is a challenging field to work in.

Data from Workfront’s Marketers Stress Report paints a picture of harried professionals just trying to keep their heads above water. Take, for example, the things that make marketers dread their jobs the most:

  • Proving your value to people who don’t understand what you do: 55%
  • Juggling all of your work to get it done in a 40-hour work week: 51%
  • People who think they have great marketing ideas (but don’t): 42%
  • Constantly having to put out fires: 36%
  • Stakeholder approvals: 26%
  • Going to meetings: 19%
  • Having to report failure: 17%
  • Working with internal clients: 9%>

And now for a statement that may not be quite so obvious: Agile marketing can solve these problems, as well as larger organizational issues.

To show you how, let’s look at some recent data.

Who Is Using Agile Marketing

In the Aprimo/Forbes study, only 23% of respondents rated themselves as “highly successful” in using Agile marketing to deliver relevant, individualized customer communications.

This data is comparable to results reported by Wrike’s State of Agile Marketing Report last year, which indicated that while only 21% of marketing teams were using an Agile approach to manage their work, another 52% had embraced “some aspects of Agile methods.”

A 2016 report by Workfront provided similar numbers. When asked, “Do you use Agile work methodology to manage your marketing work?” 30% answered “Yes.” A somewhat confusing 32% said they didn’t know, and 38% said they weren’t using Agile.

If we take the average of all this data, we can confidently say that about a third of marketers are drinking the Agile kool-aid.

Why Agile Marketing Matters

Let’s return to the data on marketers’ stress levels for a moment. Here is how marketers in aggregate measure their team’s success:

  • Success of sales team: 16%
  • Lead count: 14%
  • Quality of the work: 13%
  • Delivering projects on time: 12%
  • Productivity/efficiency: 12%
  • Customer/client satisfaction: 10%
  • Contributed pipeline: 7%
  • Brand awareness: 6%
  • Staying on budget: 3%

If we compare these metrics with the benefits that Agile marketers report experiencing, it’s pretty clear that Agile holds the key marketing success however you measure it.

Aprimo and Forbes reported the following areas of improvement for Agile marketers:

  • Faster speed to market: 27%
  • Increased customer response: 22%
  • Marketing projects completed on time: 28%
  • Marketing projects completed on budget: 26%
  • Flexible approach to changing customer needs 26%
  • Increased accountability across the marketing function 20%
  • Increased marketing collaboration 20%
  • Faster shifts of marketing spend 9%
  • More efficient marketing iterations 21%
  • Increased real-time customer experience 18%
  • Higher marketing metrics and KPIs 23%
  • Fewer layers of marketing approval 16%
  • Transparency of marketing spend 11%

We can compare these to the multiple benefits of Agile marketing that respondents to Wrike’s survey shared:

  • Improved quality of work: 18%
  • Faster time to get things released: 17%
  • Better team alignment on priorities: 16%
  • Improved teamwork and morale: 14%
  • More visibility to the overall project status: 13%
  • Can identify roadblocks, problems, or schedule issues faster: 13%
  • Better division of work between team members: 10%

What’s the Hold Up?

If Agile can solve all of these problems and provide such substantial benefits to individual marketers AND their organizations, what gives? Why aren’t we all beating down the door of the Agile Alliance demanding to go Agile right this very minute?

Well, it turns out marketers need more information.

Workfront asked marketers, “When considering Agile, what barriers or challenges to you encounter within your department?” Here’s what they said:

  • I already use Agile, and did not face any challenges: 11%
  • I/my team doesn’t know what Agile is or how it works: 43%
  • We don’t have an internal expert to train and implement Agile: 29%
  • Getting buy-in from my team: 11%
  • Getting buy-in from leadership: 17%
  • Lack of the right tools: 18%
  • Getting over the learning curve: 19%
  • We prefer to execute against a longer-term plan: 15%

The results from Wrike’s survey are similar. When asked “What stops your team from more completely implementing an Agile approach?” marketers responded:

  • Lack of training or knowledge about Agile approaches: 24%
  • Our current approaches are working well enough for us: 18%
  • Management doesn’t see the value of Agile marketing: 12%
  • There’s not enough time or bandwidth to start a new approach: 11%
  • There’s generally not a willingness to try new approaches: 10%
  • We don’t have the right tools to implement an Agile approach: 9%
  • We don’t have a champion to lead this for our team: 8%
  • We have completely implemented an Agile approach: 5%

Despite Our Struggles, Marketers Love Our Work

Even though a mind-blowing 80% of marketers report that they’re under-staffed and over-loaded, 84% say they don’t regret their career choice.

Marketers love our work, and we’re sticking with the profession despite its shortcomings. So let’s put Agile processes in place to give us the work environment we deserve.

Because we’re not going anywhere, and neither are these challenges.

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