Agile, a methodology originating in software development, is a process that helps teams move quickly to create, test concepts, and iterate based on customer feedback loops. By creating a continuous feedback loop, ideas can be tested quickly and inexpensively, thereby increasing overall effectiveness and success rate. Born in the world of lean startups, the promise of agile teams is continuous innovation coupled with disciplined execution. While agile teams first started in software development, they are now being used in more standard business management practice.
Additionally, agile teams buck the traditional hierarchal management structure. Agile teams are made up of cross-functional team members from various disciplines. Bypassing the typical manager-employee structure, teams are assembled based on their skill set and allowed autonomy to act. Teams come together to work on a project (or part of a project), maximize their efforts, and disband when the project is complete. Faster time to market, higher productivity, better quality, happier customers, and lower risks: what’s not to love?
These cross-functional teams allow for rapid prototyping and testing. Put together the team, create a project or initiative, test and review the results. Then, improve on the results, iterate and do it all over again until you achieve success. When facing a complex problem, the parts are broken down into smaller pieces, which may be assigned to different teams before being reassembled into a final solution.
Managers have put agile teams in place at companies like USAA, Tesla, SAP, SpaceX, Spotify, Netflix, Google, and Salesforce. That’s a list of heavyweight companies with a total market cap of more than $1.3 trillion.
Using the agile methodology, along with new innovation tools, the same strategies can be applied to the creative process. This process allows for significant advantages over the creative process most companies currently use.
The current range of options to execute creative marketing campaigns varies, from external agencies, to in-house teams, to hiring freelancers.
While agencies make sense in many situations, they typically come with a longer commitment and a large sticker price, so are not appropriate for the agile process. That leaves us with building in-house versus outsourcing to freelancers. While your in-house team may be able to iterate quickly and adjust to strategic shifts as you see fit, you’re stuck with long-term overhead and may suffer from a lack of fresh creative perspectives. On the other hand, freelancers may have fresh creative perspectives, but finding them, vetting them, and making sure they fit well with your brand can be time intensive, costly, and risky.
There is a fourth option that combines the best of all three options: the agile creative model.
To execute the agile creative model, we recommend creating a small, core in-house team to drive the long-term vision of the company. Then, teaming up with a flexible, trusted, world-class network of external creatives that can work directly with your in-house team. This allows you to create content on demand, scale up (or down) as needed, and bring a continuous stream of new and exciting creative ideas to the company.
The agile process will be a partnership between your in-house team and your outside creative team. Here are the six steps to take to implement the agile creative process in your organization.
Six Steps To Implementing An Agile Process
Focus on creating small experiments and testing them in the market to gauge customer response and create feedback loops. Instead of going all in on one big campaign, you can execute many small campaigns in collaboration with various external teams, and then test them to learn which messages are performing best in the market. Your in-house team can guide this process and ensure that all of these tests stay on brand and within your company’s long-term vision.
The agile creative model allows for rapid deployment. Agile teams can create content fast and put it out into the market faster and more efficiently than traditional external partners. Instead of waiting for a long creative cycle, you get speedy real-world feedback to help improve your messaging. Additionally, A/B testing allows you to gauge the effectiveness of multiple approaches.
Create. Test. Learn. Iterate.
This feedback loop provides a mechanism for constant improvement before you risk your budget on one large campaign.
One of the biggest advantages of the agile process is that it interjects the customer into the middle of the project rather than waiting until the end. Once you’ve found the creative path that really resonates with your target customer, that’s when you invest more in the content. This process can save you from throwing big dollars into something that may or may not connect. Quite simply, it allows for many small experiments instead of one big bet.
Assemble creates agility for organizations by connecting your in-house team with a world class network of vetted creative talent, such as directors, copywriters, editors, animators and more. Instead of spending time and money on hiring or recruiting freelancers, Assemble can instantly connect you with a trusted agile workforce and give you instant scalability with limited fixed overhead.
Our platform streamlines the entire process of sourcing talent, scoping, budgeting and project management, so you can initiate projects within minutes, not days. These efficiencies allow us to create high-quality work at lower costs while allowing the talent to focus on the creative.
If you would like to know more about our team at Assemble and what we can do for you, contact us here or check out our online pricing model.