Build an organisation around the needs of your customer

Willemijn SchneyderAdapt faster to customer needs, increase the speed and quality of the marketing-outcome and improve working culture. Sound too good to be true? For Willemijn Schneyder from Number8 this is what agility can result in. “It’s about bringing agility into marketing by adopting agile principles mostly known from start-ups and IT developments. It is all about building a team of skilled professionals that put the needs of the customer in the centre of things.”

Agile in marketing is continuous learning and adaptation

“By revolving around customer needs, and designing teams and work-flows around these wishes companies become more flexible to change. This way it is easier to respond to customer feedback and market changes. By creating a team that offers all skills needed, solutions can be swiftly developed. Services and products are then tested early, Customer validation  is brought on board as part of the process and outcomes are incorporated into new solutions. These are again tested in the market place and the circle can repeat itself. This leads to early and continuous delivery of customer value. And this is how to stay ahead of the competition.”

Why is there such a need to be agile?

“There is an ongoing digital revolution raging and to keep up you have to be quick, nimble and alert. That’s the actual dictionary definition of ‘agile’. The marketing field is changing rapidly and consumer demands and service expectations are changing at the same rate. We have all seen the companies who couldn’t keep up. Who would have thought established businesses like Nokia or Motorola would have to take a step down? Agile start-ups have a huge advantage over existing complex companies in the marketplace. Building around customer needs makes a business more adaptable.”

Which changes do companies need to make to become more agile?

Willemijn: “Many companies are still designed around silos and hierarchy. Numerous layers diffuse the communication and reduce speed and quality. Put the skills needed to solve customer needs together in a cross-functional team and empower them to make their own decisions. Have them understand the brand vision of the company, the one common goal and then enable them to determine their route towards this goal. This means practicing hands-off management and making sure there is just one sign-off manager instead of layers. Cut away all the slack, speed up workflow and improve work culture. People are happier when they can step up and take responsibility. Besides, continuous improvement and growth lead to a more satisfying work environment.”

So how do we get started?

“Agile in marketing is new in The Netherlands. We can learn from businesses like Netflix and AT&T in the US. Closer to home Coolblue is an inspiring example of a company who applied agility in to back end processes and then translated it to the business teams resulting in an ever increase growth As with many things, getting started with agile marketing is about going out there and take the first step. Dare to fail: fail fast and often, learn quickly and move on. The future can’t be predicted and you can’t be perfect so give it a try. Start small, celebrate success, collect evidence and grow.”

Ready to go?

During the B2B Marketing Forum you can get introduced to what Agile in Marketing is and how it can work for you. Learn from businesses who have applied agility to their marketing. Then hit the ground running and leave the competition lengths behind.

Below is the video interview that Shimon Ben Ayoun from spotONvision had with Willemijn Schneyder