New ‘Agile Marketing + Coffee’ meetup finds its footing

Many tech product companies in Indianapolis provide a software-as-a-service product aimed at solving problems for businesses. No matter what the core emphasis is or industry they serve, there are similarities amongst all of these tech companies. Each has a tech stack of developers and engineers who produce a product, a sales team to bring in revenue, and a marketing team that generates leads and attention.

Indy is home to dozens of meetup groups for software developers and product managers. Now, there’s a meetup group for marketing professionals who utilize the agile methodology with their teams.

Eva Jackson, senior marketing manager at Emplify, uses agile to effectively manage the work her marketing team produces. She recently launched Agile Marketing + Coffee to meet others who use agile with their marketing teams so that everyone could learn from each other’s successes and challenges. PERQ hosted the first event and recently shared their own thoughts with us on how agile marketing works for their team. As the agile marketing methodology moves from trend to practice, I asked Eva a few questions to understand how the agile methodology works at Emplify and what she hopes this new meetup group will accomplish.

What inspired you to start this group?

I was inspired to start this group after attending another local meetup in town called “AgileIndy.” The group has hundreds of members and bi-monthly meetups, but most of the professionals I met at the event work primarily in IT or software development. While the fundamental principles of agile apply to any team wanting to adopt it, the context can be very different for marketing. Marketing teams are often driven by quotas rather than production goals, and marketing teams are often comprised of people in vastly different roles rather than multiple people in similar roles (like software developers). As we’re beginning to pick up steam with our own agile processes at Emplify, I was inspired to connect with other marketing professionals who are employing agile successfully at their companies or are aspiring to start using it.

Does Emplify use agile for marketing?

We do – we started to transition the team to agile in July of last year, but in December we hit the reset button and had some great conversations around how to actually make agile work for our team. I think it’s common for teams to think that if they’re doing work in two-week sprints and having daily standups that they are “agile,” but I think it goes so much deeper than that. At Emplify, we’re trying to empower our marketers to own their work and collaborate cross-functionally with others on the team to solve real problems. This required us to break out of a cycle where we were simply trying to cram as much work as we could into two-week sprints and rushing through projects just to get them done. That’s not what agile is about.

Where did you learn about agile?

I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by some highly-trained experts in agile at Emplify. I’ve also become super fascinated about the subject of Agile and just spend a lot of my own time reading up on it. Two great books for marketers to start with when it comes to understanding Agile is Scrum by Jeff Sutherland (it’s basically the OG book on Agile methodology) and Hacking Marketing by Scott Brinker.

What’s the biggest benefit agile has offered to your team that you wouldn’t have without it?

The biggest win for our team since starting to use agile is having clear owners for all of our projects. On our team, we’ve appointed owners for all of our different marketing channels, who is responsible for surfacing potential projects to the team. These owners are then also the stakeholder for the project, meaning that they hold the final say in calling the project done. One of our biggest struggles as a team before moving toward agile was not knowing who the project stakeholder was, meaning we would often have to redo projects because someone would unexpectedly step in at the final hour with a bunch of edits. Naming channel owners has helped us know who is going to approve project work so we can tailor it to their vision. It also puts responsibility on the channel owner to surface problems or work to be accomplished to the team in a timely manner so it gets on the sprint backlog.

Interested in learning more? Join Eva’s LinkedIN group and attend the next Agile Marketing + Coffee event!

Emplify

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Croft is the director of communications at TechPoint. She writes about Indiana tech companies, jobs, people and events. Reach out to Sara @saraelysecroft.