You Can Hire Me For Agile Marketing
A low-risk alternative to monolithic proposals
Many marketing projects are sold based on a retainer basis, or with multiple discrete deliverables packaged up into a single, large proposal. Sometimes this is the right approach, and sometimes it’s not.
When it’s not right, it’s because this `approach puts too much risk on you, or it acts as if things are predictable when the reality is much more uncertain.
For those situations, I engage with clients in a way inspired by agile software development methodologies. I (and others) call this agile marketing.
Agile marketing reduces risk to you, increases flexibility, and generally gets you to ROI faster than the more conventional “monolithic proposal” approach.
How We Work Together
I work with only one agile marketing client at a time, and I block out the most productive time on my calendar for your project. This builds in the headroom necessary to handle the small emergencies that arise from time to time in a project and avoids deadline collisions.
Often we’ll work together for a few weeks, maybe even a month or two, then pause for a while to evaluate the results of the work on your business. Then we re-engage to build on that success or alter approach to focus on a different area of improvement.
This approach gets lead generation assets into production faster, and helps us evaluate the business value of those assets more quickly and objectively than the monolithic approach. It’s just plain easier to see if something is going to work by getting a minimal version of it into production early. It’s easier to say “that didn’t work, let’s try something different” about the result of 2 weeks of work than about 2 months of work.
Often in a week or two of work I can make a substantial improvement in your lead generation and biz dev results. Very seldom does it take longer than a month to see results.
Each week we work together is a new iteration. A iteration includes three phases:
- Iteration planning
- Iteration review
In the iteration planning phase we’ll work collaboratively to update estimates, prioritize, and plan for the upcoming week of work.
During the build phase my team and I work to meet our goals for that iteration.
At the start of certain project phases, like website copy, we may schedule an additional planning session to clarify positioning, messaging, and other important aspects of the approach. I will also sometimes need your help coordinating interviews with your clients by sending an intro email, etc.
We’ll use daily standups and a Slack channel to communicate about how the project is progressing relative to the iteration goals.
At the end of the iteration is the iteration review. Typically this happens on Friday but if we’re about to launch a campaign Thursdays are used instead (Why? Launching a campaign late on Friday puts everyone’s weekend at risk when something goes wrong. I value my work/life balance and I hope you do too).
Agile marketing is like agile software development in several important ways:
- Simplicity and granularity: Planning emphasizes building the simplest possible thing that could work. We prioritize and build granular marketing assets and “refactor” as necessary to keep the overall effort cohesive.
- Discovery: We’re up-front about the fact that every deliverable may include unknowable unknowns that are discovered during the course of the work, not during the estimating phase.
- Quality emphasis: Content development emphasizes quality and sustainability over short-term un-sustainable velocity.
- Continuous delivery: It’s never completely “done” or “perfect”, just successfully passing QA tests (copyedit, your review, etc.), ready to ship, and ready start creating value for your business.
Most of the time, the “unknowable unknowns” are accounted for in my estimates because I estimate a range from pessimistic to realistic of what can get done in an iteration. In the rare cases where an unknown arises and dramatically slows progress, you’ll know about it in 24 hours or less and we can adjust goals for the iteration or decide on an alternate approach. Like with software development, some things take longer than expected, and some go faster.
Because your marketing assets represent your company in a very public way, you will want to provide feedback, and I will want to make sure anything I build for you reflects that feedback.
At the end of each day, I post an updated copy of in-progress content. I work in Markdown, so we can use a private git repo, Google Docs, or some other plain text-centric system for sharing and managing comments. The following day I’ll gather feedback during our 15 or 30m standup. I then incorporate that feedback, make more progress, and the process repeats until a piece of content or the entire project is complete.
This level of transparency requires that you have some tolerance for the “construction mess” of in-progress drafts of content, but rewards you with a nearly complete freedom from surprises.
On larger projects, I prefer to tackle the part of the project with the most unknowns or complexity first. This has two desirable effects, and one unpleasant one:
- Increases velocity later in the project and lowers the risk of blowing deadlines
- Increases our level of communication early on, which leads to better collaboration and confidence working together over the long term
The unpleasant side-effect is that at first, progress will seem slow. But a few weeks into a larger project you’ll see things moving significantly faster.
This is a strong preference, loosely held. If we need to prioritize differently to meet your business goals, we will.
Beginning a software development project without user stories or specs would make for slow progress. Marketing is like that–there are certain dependencies. These will usually include:
- One or more planning sessions with you, to get to know your positioning, messaging, and other important details. Sometimes a full iteration should be used for this in order to set up the rest of the project for success (called Iteration 0). I’ll let you know when this is needed.
- Interviews with clients to gather quotes, narrative points, and other details for case studies, white papers, or web copy.
- Your review of in-progress content is often required before I can move forward.
I’ll always alert you to dependencies that could slow down progress and help you plan around them so we don’t have to delay your project while waiting on a client interview, etc.
Pricing: Pricing for this work is $3600/week. Payment is for 1 week minimum, 100% up front, paid via credit card, debit card, or PayPal.
Potential clients are rightfully curious about how much things are going to cost before committing. As you know from building a lot of software, the answer always depends.
That said, I can give you same ranges based on past projects. I hope this gives you a sense of what you’d need to invest to build a range of lead generation assets:
A Typical Small Project
- Iteration 1: Build and ship a landing page for a fixed price/fixed scope offer
- Iteration 2: Build and ship a cold outreach campaign based around an education email course that leads up to the offer built during Iteration 1
A Typical Medium Project
- Iteration 0: Planning to identify the right positioning & messaging for a content marketing campaign
- Iteration 1: SME interviews & outlines
- Iteration 2: Marketing automation software setup, testing, and prep for rolling launch
- Iterations 3 – 5: Building and continuously shipping 4 months of lead nurture list content
A Typical Large Project
- Iteration 0: Planning to identify the right positioning & messaging for a content marketing campaign and sales collateral upgrade
- Iteration 1 – 2: Build 2 case studies to plug a hole in the sales funnel
- Iteration 3 – 10: Build and continuously deploy an educational resource center to generate leads (an example of this kind of content marketing asset: http://marcusblankenship.com/become-a-great-manager/)
- Iteration 10 – 14: Build and deploy lead nurture content to retain and convert leads, configure marketing automation software
Again, these are simply examples to give you a relative sense of how much I can typically accomplish in a given amount of time. If you are facing a tough deadline, we always commit more resources (I have a few writers I can bring in to help in situations like that in exchange for a rush fee) to meet an aggressive deadline.
How Agile Marketing Can Help You
If you have one of the following problems, get in touch with me below. Agile Marketing can certainly help if:
- You want help with your positioning so that you’re speaking more persuasively to your ideal client.
- You’re not getting enough leads, or you have big peaks and valleys in your lead generation.
- Qualified prospects are not closing because they don’t understand how you’re the right shop for them (they have objections that could be resolved with the right piece of sales collateral).
- You lack some key piece of sales collateral (case study, white paper, etc) and it’s punching a hole in your sales funnel.
- You want to build an email list to generate and nurture leads, but don’t know how or don’t have the time to build great content for it.
- Your existing email list is slowly going cold because it’s not being nurtured with great content.
- You want to get the benefits of automated follow up with previous clients.
- You want a high-performing content marketing asset but don’t have the time or know-how to build one.