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Building An Offshore Agile Marketing Team

By Syed Zainul Haque February 06, 2019 - 2,875 views
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For a long time now, businesses have been using the Waterfall approach to execute marketing plans. The Waterfall method involves implementing the marketing plan in a linear manner. Each phase would follow the next in a cascading manner. Unfortunately, this method is time-consuming and not efficient in a world that requires a more dynamic and flexible approach.

Why Agile marketing?

Agile Marketing is influenced by Agile development framework, allowing for a flexible and collaborative approach to execute projects and communicate with teams. An Agile Marketing strategy is particularly suited to manage offshore marketing teams and to coordinate with them quickly and efficiently in order to complete several disparate marketing processes simultaneously.

With multi-channel marketing becoming crucial to reach customers wherever they are, Agile Marketing promises clear communication between teams. It helps you to assign roles and targets to your offshore teams and monitor them on an ongoing basis via Scrum meetings.

In this article, let us take a look at how you can build your own offshore Agile Marketing quickly right from the scratch.

Before you start building a team, keep these pointers in mind

Start with identifying agencies which specialize in multiple disciplines. An agency that only specializes in digital marketing may not be able to help you with certain technical aspects of your marketing campaigns. 

  • Your team should be pulled from a group of multidisciplinary generalists, according to Gartner.
  • The team should be able to connect with several pain points that your customers may have and intuitively use their skill sets to build, execute and monitor marketing campaigns autonomously.
  • Only those agencies that specialize in multiple skills such as digital marketing, design, development and consulting will be able to achieve such a feat.
  • Look for an agency that can work autonomously and lead itself. Gartner specifies this to be the second most important quality while identifying a team. It also adds that you should choose a team which proves its strength in data and analytics.

3 tips to make your offshore Agile marketing team a success

  • Begin to view your offshore team as a partnership, rather than as a vendor
  • View your offshore marketing team as an extension of your in-house team
  • Use Scrum methodology to manage, collaborate and measure your offshore team’s performance

Identify the roles you need to fill

According to us, most marketing teams can be divided into 5 groups.

  1. Content team: This team works with everything related to the content of your campaigns. This includes text, audio, video, and images. You will need a great copywriter, a blogging team, and a social media team.
  2. Sales team: They are responsible for everything related to lead acquisition and making sales. This team may also have marketing professionals involved or if you want to create a separate marketing team to develop campaigns, you can do that too.
  3. Monetization team: This team is responsible for converting leads into customers by taking on multiple roles. This could be client-servicing, customer service, or plain old sales.
  4. Data and analytics team: You should prioritize on hiring people who are good at data and analytics. Agile marketing depends on data and you will need people with strong IT background to work with analytical tools that can derive market insights.
  5. Strategy team: The strategy builders should be multi-disciplinarian in their approach and should combine insight with creativity to come up with marketing and sales campaigns. They should also be experts in Agile management and should be able to conduct daily and weekly Scrum meetings.

How many people should be in each team? The answer to this question is not simple. It depends on the size of your own company and also your marketing goals. Agile marketing revolves around the idea of scalability and it makes sense to keep the team(s) as small as possible. There are cases where just a single team manages all the functions described above. Sometimes, just 2-3 members can form your offshore Agile marketing team, and their roles may overlap. In other cases, you can have multiple teams with as many as 10-15 members in each team, and each led by their own ScrumMasters.

Organize your offshore marketing team and assign leadership roles

To build your high performing offshore Agile marketing team, start small and identify your marketing approach. The crux of agile methodology is to be able to scale. A good vendor will only assign those members who are required to complete your project. This can be as few as just two individual members, one of whom could be the ScrumMaster. As your marketing requirements grow, newer members can be added to your team. With each additional member, the prospects of dividing your team into multiple ones increase. At this juncture, you can refer to our guidelines regarding a full fledged marketing team.

Agile leadership varies across organizations and there can be different kinds of leaders. Some of the leadership roles that companies often hire externally include

  • Editorial Director – Leads the video, blog, image, social media and community management roles
  • Director of Acquisition – Leads the data analytics, sales, and marketing teams
  • Director of Monetization – Leads other roles such as monetizing campaigns, measuring Agile success, and achieving targets.

The one who leads the team should have an above-average intellectual capacity and should be able to arrive at solutions in a creative manner. These are the primary qualities you need to look for in an agile marketing team leader. This person can also double up as the Scrum Master if you are looking at a very small team.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit
  • Multidisciplinary skills
  • Creativity
  • Individuality
  • Leadership skills

Managing your offshore Agile marketing team

Once you have a team(s) in place, it is time to start managing the offshore Agile team as your own. Agile marketing works similar to Agile development, and the basis of Agile marketing is tracking and measuring success via Scrum meetings that are held regularly.

  • Daily standup meetings, also known as Scrum meetings, should not be held for more than 15 minutes. You can hold these meetings video conferencing tools or even on JIRA.
  • Conduct weekly reviews to make sure that your marketing strategy is aligned with your offshore Agile marketing team’s progress.
  • Assign KPIs for each role and for each team. Measure these KPIs regularly and track job responsibilities and accountabilities.

It makes sense to assign the role of ScrumMaster to someone from the offshore Agile team, instead of assigning the role to someone from your in-house team. This way, the ScrumMaster can conduct daily 15-minute standup at the offshore location, while the weekly reviews can be done alongside your internal representative. This is an easier way to manage and monitor campaigns while keeping team dynamics flat.

Key points to remember:

  • Plan and assign tasks to different teams/team members
  • Coordinate with ScrumMaster to receive daily Scrum meeting reports
  • Conduct weekly review meetings
  • Insist on iterations and test the campaigns on an ongoing basis
  • Scale down or scale up, as and when necessary

Use chaos to your benefit with Agile marketing

As you can see, building an offshore Agile marketing team is not an easy task. It is important to consult with vendors who stick to Agile philosophy strictly and build your team slowly. Begin with identifying your marketing goals and fill roles that suit your strategy. Once you have identified and filled the offshore Agile marketing roles, work with ScrumMasters and regularly receive updates about Scrum meetings and conduct reviews. Learn from iterations and scale up/down depending on the situation. Agile marketing provides you with the perfect methodology to put order into a chaotic marketing environment and helps you to leverage seeming chaos to your benefit. Starting small and scaling up or down as per your growth requirements is the perfect recipe for successful offshore Agile marketing.

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