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Leveraging Agile Marketing for Fortune 1000 Brands

The Promotion & Loyalty Solutions team initially started with high-volume, standardized, digital chance-to-win promotions over 20 years ago. But as technology advanced and new channels emerged, our capabilities and offerings evolved to include a mix of programs from standard to extremely custom. We began investing not only in our solutions, but the processes in place across different teams.

In 2017, we focused on transforming the way we produce and deliver work for our clients, which eventually led us to our very successful agile marketing model that we use today. But before we tell you how we did it, let’s talk about what it is. Or what it is not.

What agile marketing is not

While you may have a general idea about the sprint-based and collaborative agile methodology, the first step to going agile is dispelling industry myths.

Myth One: Agile marketing is all about speed

While 56 percent of respondents from our customer engagement report said they switched to agile marketing to improve productivity, 45 percent said they wanted the ability to change priorities, and 43 percent said they wanted to increase innovation. As our team can attest, mastering the agile methodology does decrease project turnaround time, but it also leaves room for collaboration that isn’t available with a more siloed approach.

Brands may also want to look at agile to reduce any number of common issues, such as:

  • Scope creep
  • Unplanned work
  • Errors
  • Make goods
  • Poor expectation setting
  • Firefighting
  • Lack of team accountability

Myth Two: There is no flexibility with agile marketing

The basic approach to agile is one- to three-week sprints, where all work is planned out and assigned in advance. And while this works for many teams, it also locks them down on very specific deliverables and timelines. Because we work with a variety of Fortune 1000 brands who all have their own methods, processes, and strategies, we’ve taken on a hybrid model for agile marketing that allows for flexibility. We collaborate in workstreams that allow us to adapt and change, based on client needs. By implementing workstreams, Merkle significantly improves scope management, change management, quality of deliverables, and client and employee morale.

Myth Three: The agile approach lacks direction

The siloed approach may be easier to determine who owns what aspect of the project at first. But we’ve found that a cross-disciplined team can be specifically configured to what the client needs out of its Merkle team. Workstreams have allowed us to go from a shared resource pool to client-centric production and marketing.

Results achieved with agile methodology

Over the last few years that we’ve adopted our own agile marketing hybrid, we’ve seen significant results internally on our Promotion & Loyalty Solutions team, as well as externally for our clients. Here’s what we’ve learned, along with some results we’ve achieved:

  • Clients are more satisfied, as seen through TRR results
  • Project volume continues to increase 15 to 20 percent YOY, while work is done by fewer team members
  • Team member engagement is improved
  • Live program issues decreased 30 percent after launch of agile methodology
  • Time to market is quicker than ever
  • Overall project profit margin is up more than 20 percent

If you need even more reason to work with our Promotion & Loyalty Solutions team, we are always happy to chat about our capabilities. Talk to an expert to see how we can align to help your brand meet its business outcomes efficiently and pain free.