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The Right Way to Organize Agile Marketing Teams

How do you organize Agile marketing teams? Is the organization of Agile marketing teams different than that of traditional marketing organizations? Is there one right way?

The answer is yes, it is different, both because of the use of Agile and also because modern marketing is very different from traditional marketing and demands a different organization. And no, there is no one right way, but a number of alternatives to choose from.

Traditional Marketing Structures

Traditional Marketing Organization

In traditional marketing structures, people are often organized by their skill sets. Marketing strategists are in one group, copywriters and graphic artists are in another group, data scientists are in the analytics group, web developers in yet another group, and those who are responsible for building email marketing campaigns in a fifth group.

To get any meaningful work done, work must be passed from group to group, from skill-set silo to skill-set silo. This traditional marketing structure leads to many challenges, including communication issues, too many meetings, and conflicting priorities.

If you’d like to learn in more depth about the challenges of traditional marketing structures, check out our micro-learning series about Organizing Agile Teams.

Cross-Functional Teams

Agile cross-functional teams

Cross-functional teams have all of the skill sets on the team that they need to accomplish their goal, with a few exceptions like legal or videographer or other skills  that are used only occasionally.

Cross-functional teams may also have a product or marketing owner who is responsible f0r the prioritization of work and ensuring that the team is delivering value.

Cross-functional teams should also be long lasting, rather than brought together for a short time to address a particular issue, what is better known as “tiger teams”.

Organizing Around Value

An alternative to organizing marketing teams around skills sets is to organize around value. The value can be value delivered to the customer or value delivered to the business.

Here are some common ways to organize Agile marketing teams around value.

Alternatives to organizing Agile Marketing Teams
Organizing Around the Customer Journey
Customer Journey map

For example, in the image above, we have a customer journey consisting of five main stages: awareness of the problem or motivation, searching for preliminary solutions, browsing our website for information, evaluating solutions and making a decision, and paying. An Agile organization might stand up five teams, each one dedicated to one of the five stages.

Organizing Around the Sales Funnel
Hubspot Sales Funnel Organization

Hubspot, one of the first companies to adopt Agile marketing, organized their teams around the sales funnel. Beginning with awareness, then moving through the top of the funnel to attract leads, middle of the funnel to nurture leads, and bottom of the funnel to deepen product awareness and convert leads to sales.

The Goal of Organizing Around Value

The goal of organizing around value is to increase our awareness of the customer. We should have a clear vision of the value that we are delivering to the customer. We create feedback loops around the value we are delivering, course correcting when we don’t get it right. 

When we organize around value, we are closer to the customer, we know the customer, and we’re regularly interacting and testing with the customer. We continually produce material that we put in front of the customer in order to get to know the customer better over time. We see what resonates with the customer and gradually get better at meeting customer needs.

Where to Learn More About Organizing Agile Cross-Functional Teams

If you’d like to learn more about how to organize Agile cross-functional teams, try our micro-learning module on organizing marketing teams and earn your badge.