How Marketers Use Agile to Create Effective Content

As a first-time conference goer, September 7-11, 2015 was a whirlwind! I met marketing professionals ranging from Australia, Florida, Montana, and even my native Washington, DC. I attended spotlight sessions from famous authors (cheers to you Jon Ronson) and even cracked up at a stand-up session by the ultra-hot comedian from Trainwreck (that’s right, be jealous – Amy Schumer).

Easy Dynamics Consultant Lauren Strayhorn listens to Jon Ronson's spotlight speech at Inbound 2015 Easy Dynamics Consultant Lauren Strayhorn listens to Amy Schumer's stand-up show at Inbound 2015

So what conference did I attend, you ask? Well, Hubspot’s annual Inbound in Boston, MA, of course! So as you can guess, and probably correctly, all thousands (yeah… 14,000 of us)  who attended are writing blog posts about their experience and what they learned. While that’s great, I want to be unique and write about how I can take my newfound Inbound knowledge and apply it to something from the fantastic software developers I work with here at Easy Dynamics… and that’s Agile

Software’s Role in Marketing

I highly anticipated this session on Friday afternoon called “What Can Marketers Learn from Software Developers” because of its relevance to the information technology industry (the one Easy Dynamics is in!) and how I could implement his talk into my everyday practice. Scott Brinker, CTO of ion interactive and blogger at Chief Marketing Technologist, began with describing the “intersection of marketing and technology” and how his talk would focus on what marketers can learn from software developers. First, he emphasized the differences between ambient and conscious software and how it impacts everyone’s daily life. 

Ambient software: Software that you use but don’t really think about using it or that it’s a software (i.e. Google)

Conscious software: Essentially the opposite of ambient software, something that you use knowingly (i.e. Hubspot)

As Scott Brinker noted after this description, “marketing is dominated by the dynamics of software,” and even becoming a software-driven profession (the entire reason we were all at INBOUND). So it only made sense that these two industries were meant to collide. And in the best way possible: Agile. He explained the workflow in this way: 

  1. Marketer
  2. Marketing software (i.e. Hubspot)
  3. Web services
  4. Client software
  5. Customer

Leading us to the next logical step and the crux of the post: what marketers can learn from the agile management software developers use on a daily basis. 

What Can Marketers Learn From Software Developers?

The four main areas he centered his argument around were agility, innovation, scalability, and trust. I will summarize his key points from each of those areas, then talk about how you, my fellow marketers, can use the methodologies in your marketing strategies and/or campaigns. Here we go! 

1. Agility

Scott Brinker: Here’s the process: (1) Plan (2) Produce (3) Deploy (4) Review. In Step 1, you create 2-4 week sprints, planning that includes your daily stand-up (what you need to accomplish that day) and your sprint review (what you DID accomplish that day). In Step 2, you produce the coding or developing you planned and Step 3 involves deployment and seeing if what you produced is effective. Finally, in Step 4, you review the entire process, called your sprint retrospective, and outline the next steps/sprints. 

What’s the benefits of this agile methodology? Here is the short list: it provides opportunities to reap the benefits of smaller deliverables, adjust their approach based on feedback, stop wasting time on ineffective processes, and experiment with new ideas. For instance, you can read about how Easy Dynamics uses agile to keep our customers happy

Marketers: In crafting a social media strategy around a product launch, you proceed through each of the 4 steps mentioned. In Step 1, you plan out which channels you will utilize, write the copy, and schedule publishing days and times. Step 2, you produce the content for your plan and in Step 3 you deploy the content, otherwise known as posting/tweeting/sharing. Finally, in Step 4, you review your content and plan, making note of metrics such as views, visits, likes, shares, etc. to provide basis for improvements in future sprints. 

2. Innovation

Scott Brinker: The incremental approach, like I mentioned in the first area, offers developers a chance to adjust their trajectory based on their deployment and review. He also points to the iterative approach as a way to analyze each step and continuously refine the deliverable to enhance the agile process and decrease time to deployment. 

Effective copy to achieve audience interactionMarketers: Like I mentioned in the first area, in the pursuit of crafting an explosive social media strategy to promote a product launch, you can adjust your content along the way in order to respond to consumer reaction to your posts. That way, if something is very effective, you can mirror the format or content to continue its success! To the right you can see an example of a post I published recently that received many clicks, which encourages me to repeat the copy or formatting to achieve similar results in the future. 

3. Scability

Scott Brinker: Once you’ve implemented the Agile process and planned and produced in new ways, you can expand the approach on a much larger scale. Microsoft utilized the Agile process in crafting Windows 10, creating small deliverables over short periods of time, then using customer feedback to make slight improvements. They then were able to scale and standardize it, providing a ‘fail not’ frame of mind. 

Marketers: Looking forward, you can standardize your social media messages, after careful analysis of metrics, to consistently post material and content that your customers respond to favorably. Thereby, you can eliminate formatting or content that receive low feedback or traffic and focus on what DID work. 

4. Trust

Scott Brinker: So you’ve been Agile, you’ve innovated, you’ve produced and developed on scale, and ultimately, you’ve created trust in your work and its process for your customer. That’s something invaluable to all companies, whether in the IT industry or health care. Trust enables software developers more freedom to experiment (even further) and yield even better results. 

Marketers: Because your social media strategy has been crafted effectively and you’ve adjusted accordingly along the way, your content will be trusted more than if you published content without any adjustments or if you ignored your audience completely, or even somewhat. 

Take-Away

Easy Dynamics Consultant Lauren Strayhorn posing in front of Inbound 2015 sign

At the end of the day (and at the end of the conference), one of the most significant lessons I learned was to constantly try new things. As goes the famous saying, “Innovate or die.”

Without trying new things, we don’t go anywhere. Innovate, measure, adjust, repeat. Always be aware of what you’re doing to move forward and progress. 

Thank you to Hubspot for putting on an amazing conference! I believe I can speak for most attendees in saying that I can’t wait to see what’s in store next year at #INBOUND16.


 

Want to read about how we use Agile to create stellar code and build software? Explore our Agile Methodolgies topics and how we apply it in our current projects to see for yourself! While you’re here, make yourself comfortable and check out our blog home page to explore other technologies we use on a daily basis and the fixes we’ve solved in our day to day work. To make your life even easier, subscribe to our blog to get instant updates sent straight to your inbox:

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