GoldilocksWhere is the “Sweet Spot” for Agile Marketing? Startups, Small companies, big companies, agencies? While I think that Agile Marketing can work for companies and agencies of all sizes, the sweet spot can be defined in terms of the size of the marketing (or agency) team. Teams from about 5 marketers up to perhaps 100 marketers are most likely to benefit from Agile Marketing. Smaller than that, and the overhead tends to overwhelm the benefits. Larger than 100 people, and I think it becomes very hard to coordinate and to sell the organization on the merits of Agile Marketing against the weight of corporate process, culture and history. In other words, Agile Marketing, at least at this point in time, is subject to the “Goldilocks Principle”: not too big, not too small, but just right!

Note that I’m referring to team size, not company size. I firmly believe that the largest companies can benefit from Agile Marketing, but only if they empower small (under 100) teams to make decisions and to own deliverables.

What about startups? People who are starting their own firm are often curious about Agile Marketing, and ask me if they can apply it to a startup. My advice: read Steve Blank, Eric Ries and Ash Maurya. Implement Lean Startup. When you get large enough that you have at least 3-5 marketers, then you can start formally implementing Agile Marketing. Before that, you should already be implementing the build-measure-learn feedback loop (part of Lean Startup) in your customer development strategies. Maybe you’ve even used a lightweight Kanban tool like Trello to manage your To Do list (also known as a simple version of a marketing backlog). Perhaps you’ll even implement daily (or 3 times weekly) Scrum meetings. But full-on Agile Marketing can wait.

What do you think? Where is the sweet spot for Agile Marketing?

Jim Ewel

I love marketing. I think it’s one of the most difficult and one of most exciting jobs in any company. My goal with this blog is to evangelize agile marketing and help marketers increase the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change of the marketing function.

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