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Coordinating agile marketing across dispersed teams requires strong planning, judicious use of meetings and more PHOTO: leoplus

Agile marketing is fast-paced in every sense of the word, designed to keep up with — and stay ahead of — the constant evolutions in digital engagement and customer needs that change minute-to-minute around the world.

Agile marketing is focused around core teams that are always innovating, testing, analyzing and revising, an approach that’s made even more challenging these days by two fast-growing organizational trends: freelance employees and remote teams. One result of these trends is that companies — even small ones — must find ways to collaborate across time zones to deliver competitive marketing services to their clients and customers.

4 Techniques for Staying Agile

My company is just one of numerous marketing agencies that strives to align these shifts in organizational culture with the philosophy of agile marketing. With a full-time CEO and a team of eight freelance employees located in four time zones, we have found that maintaining an agile marketing strategy has required adaptability, dedication and communication.

However, even within such an unconventional organizational setup, agile marketing has proved to be not only possible, but potentially even more effective. Here are four ways we’ve found to implement agile marketing strategies when in-person communication is difficult or nonexistent:

1. Get Your Digital Workplace Into Formation

With limited possibilities for in-person communication, having a tight system of reliable online applications in place is crucial to maintaining an agile marketing strategy across a remote team that operates in different time zones.

These demands place your project management system at the heart of your operations. This tool should be the central hub of all communication about all aspects of a project.

Then, as a stand-in for the rapid-fire pace of actual in-person discussions, team messaging platforms, like Slack are a great way to organize and maintain constant contact throughout each working day.

That way, with everything documented systematically, agile marketing doesn’t need to stop when team members in one time zone sign off for the evening. Instead, as the sun comes up in a new time zone, the team members located there can respond to new changes and adapt strategy at a constant rate.

2. Make Maximal Use of Minimal Meetings

At the core of the agile marketing philosophy is the need to develop short-term teams that meet to develop short-term campaigns, metrics to measure the success of each project and timelines for assessment.

Even with a remote team, ‘face-to-face’ meetings via video conferencing are still effective and necessary for brainstorming, delegating and ensuring that all team members are on the same page.

Determine a weekly time — preferably one where no team member has to wake up in the middle of the night — and maximize that time by targeting key information to push each marketing experiment forward:

  • What are team members doing?
  • What metrics support this?
  • What should team members be doing next?
  • What data is being collected?
  • What can be learned from this data?

Meetings should be short, but long enough to establish accountability, delegate responsibility and ensure that all team members are in sync and on track to deliver the desired results.

3. Make Data Accessible and Actionable

Every campaign in agile marketing stems from customer data. With a remote agile team, data needs to be housed and analyzed in a central system that is readily available to all.

Whether using a marketing platform, such as HubSpot, or generating customized reports for each campaign, all data and analysis should be distributed to team members via the project management platform and additionally saved in a collaborative document sharing system, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

That way, with each new test campaign, the data can remain organized and part of the ongoing conversation. That practice encourages collaboration, and paves the way for extracting additional insights from the same data in the future.

4. Define an Agile Team Manager Role

Every aspect of maintaining an agile marketing approach requires efficient coordination, which might sound impossible when a team is made up of individuals located thousands of miles apart.

That’s why designating the role of an agile team manager is crucial to ensuring that responsibilities are clear and that every task involving information and data is efficiently executed according to the agile philosophy.

The agile team manager is a leader for all forms of communication and information that are necessary for the operation of the agile marketing team.

  • When it comes to the digital workplace, this means cleaning up tasks and aligning messaging with the appropriate channels
  • When it comes to meetings, that means creating and adhering to a firm agenda and managing the workload and tasks of other team members
  • When it comes to data, this means pulling the relevant metrics, distributing and providing initial analysis and ideas for the next campaign iteration
In short, although agile teams should communicate openly and freely, a remote team requires a core figure to keep up the pace, call the shots and keep the team on track, despite time-zone differences.

Keeping a 24-Hour Eye on Performance

Agile marketing is possible in unconventional company configurations with only slight adaptations needed to account for the geographic dispersal of the core agile team unit.

When managed effectively, a remote agile team can harness the power to take the marketing world by storm with an almost 24-hour eye on campaign performance. With the right infrastructure, remote marketing teams can guarantee their clients that they will gain all the benefits of an agile marketing strategy without having to modify their existing company structure.