Agile Marketing Best Practices
Five U.S. businesses that are still striving despite the coronavirus pandemic are PhoneSoap, Domino's Pizza, General Mills/Blue Buffalo, Amazon, and Zoom. Four common features of agile marketing are sprints, stand-up meetings, tracking progress on projects, and teamwork.
Businesses Thriving Despite COVID-19
- PhoneSoap produces "devices to clean phones and other items with UV light."
- The Utah-based company experienced year-over-year growth of 1,000% "in the past week" (per an article dated March 3, 2020).
- The president of the company said that its products will soon be on backorder, as a result of surging demand.
- According to PhoneSoap, its sales surge mainly occurred after the CDC and U.S. government "started speaking out more about the outbreak and threat to the U.S."
- CDC guidelines recommend that areas that are frequently touched be cleaned during the pandemic, which is a factor likely increasing the sharp uptick in PhoneSoap's sales.
- PhoneSoap offers a unique cleaning product for phone screens which uses UV light, compared to more-traditional methods that can damage screens due to the soap or chemicals used.
2. Domino's Pizza
- Domino's Pizza is a business that's still thriving despite the pandemic.
- The company recently "announce[d] it will hire 10,000 workers" as a result of the demand for delivery food.
- The U.S. government's recent request that people temporarily stop eating out and some states' restrictions on restaurants to only provide delivery or takeout are factors that appear to have boosted Domino's sales.
- Domino's was well-positioned for increased consumed demand for delivery because (1) "[d]elivery accounts for about 55 percent of [its] sales", (2) 65% of Domino's sales are generated through digital channels, and (3) the company's "proprietary ordering platform called Domino’s Hotspots . . . service[s] more than 200,000 nontraditional delivery locations."
- Another factor that might be helping Domino's thrive during the pandemic is that it has implemented a policy of "contactless delivery in the U.S. to" to protect the health of its workers and customers.
3. General Mills/Blue Buffalo
- General Mills, along with its Blue Buffalo pet food brand, is a business that's still thriving in the U.S. despite the coronavirus pandemic.
- During the pandemic's early stages in the U.S., the company's sales of pet food increased rapidly.
- The CFO & Chairman of General Mills, Jeff Harmening, stated that since early March 2020, retail sales of pet food have risen. General Mills' overall retail sales in the U.S., including sales of pet food, "for the week ended March 7 were up low double-digits." General Mills expected that its overall retail sales in the U.S. "for the week ending March 14 will be many times higher across all channels."
- A factor that's likely contributing to General Mills' increasing sales of pet food is that Americans are increasingly adopting pets from animal shelters, as a result of people mostly staying at home during the pandemic.
- As an example of the extent of pet adoption, New York City-based Animal Care Centers requested "200 applications to its fostering program [and] they instead received 2,000." Another example is Kansas City-based KC Pet Project, which "reported 250 foster requests [within a five-day span] . . . in contrast to their normal 10 requests in a day."
- Amazon is a company that's still thriving in the U.S. amidst COVID-19.
- The company recently announced that it would be hiring "an additional 100,000 employees in the U.S." due to surging demand resulting from the pandemic.
- A key reason for Amazon's success during the pandemic is that million of Americans are now opting for "online deliveries at an unprecedented pace."
- A further demonstration of Amazon's success amidst the pandemic is that the company, in citing the uptick in online orders, recently announced that it's "prioritiz[ing] more essential items coming into fulfillment centers in order to 'more quickly receive, restock, and deliver these products to customers.'"
- Zoom, a company that offers a video calling platform, has excelled despite the pandemic.
- An article dated March 11, 2020, stated that "Zoom stock is up more than 20 percent in the last month, a major outlier as the stock market as a whole is plummeting and fears of a recession are on the rise."
- As a result of the pandemic, "Zoom has been adding infrastructure to meet rising needs, and it’s still hiring, despite that everyone is working from home."
- The fact that a tremendous number of Americans are working from home, whether by requirement or choice, during the pandemic is a key factor contributing to Zoom's success, as more people seek ways of connecting remotely.
- As a further showing of the company's success despite the pandemic, on March 18, 2020, "'ZOOM Cloud Meetings' topped the free charts in the Apple and Google mobile app stores in the U.S."
Common Agile Marketing Features
- Four common features of agile marketing are sprints, stand-up meetings, tracking progress on projects, and teamwork. We included each of those common features of agile marketing because they were expressly described as such by multiple sources.
- Marketo by Adobe described the aforementioned four features as "[t]he most commonly known aspects of agile marketing."
- Workfront, Inc. described the same four features as "key pieces of an agile marketing implementation."
- Sprints, in the context of agile marketing, describes the amount of time a team has to complete a project and is often a "short, finite period of intensive work."
- For agile marketing, that time frame typically ranges between 15 days, on the short end, and six weeks on the long end. Large initiatives sometimes require more than one sprint.
- The starting point for agile marketing is to hold a session for sprint planning.
- When a sprint is completed, the agile marketing team "measure[s] the impact of the project and then continuously and incrementally improve[s] the results over time."
2. Tracking Progress on Projects
- A second, common feature of agile marketing is tracking progress on a sprint project in a centralized manner.
- Two main ways that Scrum teams track such progress on agile marketing projects is through burndown charts and Kanban boards.
- Kanban boards have been described as "massively beneficial in terms of keeping the team aligned and on track to meet Sprint goals." Project management software, such as Trello and Active Collab, is another way that some agile marketing teams track their sprints, though some teams also opt for the traditional whiteboard.
- Regardless of which method is selected to track progress, it should provide the following information: (1) Sprint backlog (items not yet completed), (2) "[t]he relative priority of each backlog item according to the Product Owner", (3) which members of the agile marketing team bear responsibility for the items that are backlogged, (4) every backlog item's status "in terms of which stage of the team’s workflow it currently resides in", and (5) whether items that are backlogged "are currently facing impediment."
3. Stand-up Meetings
- Stand-up meetings are a third, common feature of agile marketing.
- Industry source Dijital Farm noted the following about stand-up meetings: "When marketing teams begin to think about adopting agile marketing, one of the first things they hear about is the daily agile marketing stand-up. And with good reason: this is easily one of the most visible ceremonies in Scrum framework, which is one of the most popular forms of agile marketing."
- As its name implies, stand-up meetings are meetings where the members of the "agile marketing team . . . stand-up . . . for the entire meeting . . . ."
- The goal of the meeting is to update everyone on the team about what was achieved on the sprint during the prior day, as well as "what work the team is tackling" in the current day.
- Stand-up meetings are brief and typically last about 15 minutes or less, but can be very effective.
- Industry source Dijital Farm opines that "[t]he secret to effective (and fast) agile marketing stand-up meetings is only asking team members three very specific questions: What tasks did you work on/get done yesterday? What tasks are you working on today? Is anything blocking you from completing your tasks?"
- A fourth, common feature of agile marketing is teamwork.
- Agile marketing teams are designed to be highly collaborative.
- That collaboration is bolstered by the team-based goals, instead of goals for individuals on the same agile marketing team.
- Accordingly, the failure or success of a sprint is the result of the work done by everyone on the team.
- Marketing source The Drum explains that the goal-setting inherent in agile marketing "is supported by the notion of servant leadership, in which the leader of an agile marketing team won't prescribe what to do, but rather focuses on making sure the direction is clear and removing impediments to progress. This leads to a very flat hierarchy, with little micromanagement and empowered team members who are all working together to achieve the same things."