The sun was shining and the coffee was steaming; we couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off our Day of Marketing in Denver, Colorado. Thanks to Microsoft, and our guest speakers Carla Johnson, Andrea Fryrear and Jeff Julian, the day was full of relevant and applicable information about storytelling, content creation, and Agile marketing methodologies.
Carla Johnson - Experiences
Carla Johnson, of Type A Communications, started the morning’s discussion with the idea of storytelling, and what it means to create an experience for your audience. The first thing she challenged everyone to do was to determine if their content is relevant, or if we are just creating content for the sake of content creation. One example she gave was the Two Bellmen Movie by Marriott which told a story of how their staff would do anything to create an excellent environment for their guests to stay in.
The conversation didn’t stop there, we then broke into small teams and analyzed a company (someone from the group offered their own) and created a content mission statement; something that would guide our content creators so that what we produce is in line with what our audience wants. While this may seem like a daunting task to some, Carla gave us a simple outline to follow.
Content mission statement outline: “To become a destination for [target audience] interested in [topic] to help them [describe customer value].”
- Act 1 – Establish the hero – this is your customer and their pain point(s)
- Act 2 – Establish a vision – where the customer wants to grow to
- Act 3 – Create new world success – now we can introduce our product/service offering
Jeff Julian - Content Planning
After a quick break Jeff Julian, of AJi Software, picked up where Carla left off and spoke about content creation and estimating. The first thing he discussed was developing personas. From his perspective, the largest pitfall most companies fall into is completely making up data/information about their personas. Jeff’s example was a trucking client AJi has. If no one on our staff has ever driven a truck, then how can we assume what a truck driver’s biggest frustrations/pain points are? His recommendation? Talk to your audience! Ask them questions, get to know them, and then build your personas based on real information!
Next he discussed creating content items. This involves naming a task, listing items to accomplish the task, and deciding how high of a priority the task is; along with estimating how long it will take to complete. Everyone broke out into the same teams from earlier and practiced creating content items and then practiced estimating. This is always fun to participate in and watch; by using Planning Poker (developed by Mountain Goat Software) individuals of a team estimate how long a task, like creating an infographic, will take. When they’ve picked their number from the deck, they place it to their forehead and on the count of 3 everyone reveals their estimate. Not only is this funny to watch, as people awkwardly hold little cards to their faces, but it also creates a space to discuss how much time is needed for individual tasks. A designer will better understand the time it takes to create the images and layout for the infographic than the writer. So when they have two different estimates, they can now engage in a discussion about how long it will take collectively to finish.
Andrea Fryrear - Agile Marketing with Scrum and Kanban
To wrap up the day Andrea Fryrear, of MarketerGizmo, spoke about the different Agile Marketing methodologies; Scrum and Kanban. She gave a demonstration, with crowd participation, and set up some guidelines for the size and types of marketing teams that would benefit from each methodology. From her perspective, larger teams (5+) might benefit greatly from Scrum. Since there are more people and projects, the daily standup meetings would help keep everyone on track and in the loop with the other members of the team. It also allows for an unlimited amount of projects to be occurring simultaneously with an unlimited amount of backlog items.
For the smaller marketing teams Kanban can be a great way to get started. It’s not as strict as Scrum, but still allows for communication of where each team member is during a project and keeps a backlog full so that everyone always has a task to complete. The main difference with the backlog is that unlike Scrum, Kanban has a predetermined amount of items that are allowed in each step; Backlog, In Progress, etc. This way the smaller teams won’t be overwhelmed with a large Backlog.
Whether you think Scrum or Kanban is best for you and your team, the biggest thing Andrea advocates is starting somewhere! Each of these methods can be tweaked and altered to fit your individual team, so be patient and keep working through it.
For both those who have never used Agile practices and those who use it daily, the Day of Marketing was a success. Everyone was able to hear from three experts, and get hands-on practice with the methods and tasks that Agile Marketers use on a daily basis. For those of you who were unable to attend, you can find more information and wisdom about these topics from the guest speakers by checking out the following books:
Connect with the Speakers