It is not a spelling mistake. Intrepreneurial is a real word. It is a term used for marketers like me, who have been employed in a large established company, to develop and execute a marketing plan with access to endless resources. It has been entrenched in my marketing management style since the beginning of my working career. And then I was introduced to this amazing methodology called Agile! This is my journey of how Agile broke the Intrepreneurial back and set me on a path of growth as a Marketing Manager.
I come from a marketing background in the retail industry, in travel and tourism. For the past three years, Mi-C3 International Limited has been my home away from home, and Affectli, the product that I live, breathe and believe in.
Settling into marketing of digitisation products, in the ICT industry, was a challenge in its own right. After a few months of being a fly on the software development wall, I overcame the first stage of fear of being in the technical space, not understanding the jargon and methodologies – but over time, it became second nature. I was pulled into every aspect of the business so that I really got my head around the world that was so new to me. Now, three years down the line, I feel like I have been in software development all my life.
The second and most challenging hurdle from a marketing manager perspective, was not the transition between working for a corporate with budget and resources for marketing, then moving into a “start up” tech environment. No – not by a long shot! The second most challenging hurdle was managing a team of technically minded resources, and preparing a platform strategy to sell a tech product into a very new market in terms of technology. 4IR tech, AI, M2M, Digital Twins, Contextual Collaboration, Single View of Operations, IoT to name a few of the daunting capabilities that I had to make sense of and to boot, I had to brief a team of creative people to deliver real estate and information in this very competitive space.
The third most challenging hurdle has been managing people globally. Mi-C3 International Limited is a global business, with resources located across 4 continents and various time zones.
But I will tell you one thing. It has been such fun and a learning experience that no university or college can teach you. Hands down the best career path to date for me.
Let me tell you a little more about the methodology I spoke of earlier, the ever present and efficient Agile, and how I battled to get my head around it, for marketing purposes…
Agile has been one of the most challenging hurdles yet. Agile Marketing is an approach to marketing that obviously takes its inspiration from Agile software development. Truthfully, once I got the hang of it, it has made the world of difference to managing my team, to remain included in all projects of the business, and to be in the loop of the product developments so that the market is constantly updated with the latest product offerings. Not only has the Agile methodology enabled efficiency in how we do our work, but it is a methodology that is also present in the very core of our flagship product, Affectli. Affectli has enabled me, as a marketing manager, to provide a platform for communication within our business teams and to effectively manage my team.
Never would I have ever thought that having a scrum would be part of my daily routine. I always thought a scrum was only relevant on the Rugby field! So now, I am not only a Marketing Manager, but I am a Scrum Master too. Our daily scrum session allows me to increase alignment with Mi-C3’s business objectives and targets for sales staff, to improve communication both within and outside our marketing team, and to increase the relevance and responsiveness of the marketing messages we deliver. We plan our sprint for the week. We meet the sprint deliverables, and we review those sprints. Anything that wasn’t done or needs improvement, becomes a backlog item and we push it into the next sprint. This process allows for short marketing experiments, frequent feedback and the ability to react to the changing market conditions.
The methodology values of traditional marketing principles don’t make sense to me anymore. And here is why:
Traditionally, and to a lesser extent now, following a plan is key to marketing manager principles. Yes, granted, we have a marketing plan, but now it’s AGILE. Our team now responds to change, rather than being stuck in our ways because there’s a “marketing plan”!
There are no more Big Bang Campaigns! I remember the joy on our Marketing and Creative Director’s faces when we came up with a Big Bang Campaign. I now live for the daily rapid iterations that I am tasked with. These wins are more frequent, and make my job so much more pleasurable.
Well. Never ever did I think that QA and Data would pip Opinions and Conventions in marketing. That was a big surprise. Testing and data. These are the new gold nuggets – Platinum actually – and they make so much sense now. In the digital world, everything can be proven through measurement & tracking. It’s so satisfying.
Pumping money and energy into a few large bets was the way to go back then. Now, like the small daily wins, many small experiments win the race every single time. It allows the team to test and change campaigns and marketing messages constantly.
One size does not fit all. The Millennials will tell you that over and over. From this blog you can probably tell that I am a mature marketing manager… This old dog learns new tricks every day. The team markets to individuals and we interact with businesses and understand their challenges, and we give them individual solutions. This is so much more satisfying.
And my personal favourite, collaboration over hierarchy and silos! The Agile methodology is about teamwork. It’s about collaboration. It’s about getting input from the most unlikely sources, and gathering information and opinions from the developers and all team members to produce meaningful material that talks to all who encounter our software.
As an Agile Marketer, my goal is to improve the transparency, predictability and speed of my marketing function so that I can in turn, satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing material that solves problems and creates value. As a marketing manager for Affectli, I am making you effective.