Gartner’s 7 Tips For Leading An Agile Marketing Organization

Innovation is tied to the innate ability to move fast—at the same tempo as today’s digitally savvy consumers. That’s why many CMOs are building agile teams within their organizations. Essentially, they’re operationalizing the ability to move fast.

Gartner’s 7 Tips For Leading An Agile Marketing Organization

by Giselle Abramovich

Posted on 11-13-2018

Innovation is tied to the innate ability to move fast—at the same tempo as today’s digitally savvy consumers. That’s why many CMOs are building agile teams within their organizations. Essentially, they’re operationalizing the ability to move fast.

Indeed, a new study by Gartner, titled “CMO Perspective: 7 Key Practices to Successfully Lead Today’s Agile Marketing Organization,” found that 89% of 803 CMOs said their companies embrace some form of agile. However, just 21% said they use a fully agile approach.

Gartner defines agile marketing as a method that applies tools, processes, and organizational design, inspired by software development methodology, to make marketing programs more relevant, adaptive, and efficient.

“Today’s CMOs are under immense pressure to make an immediate impact on the bottom line for their organizations, and many are turning to agile,” said Elizabeth Shaw, senior director and analyst at Gartner. “The issues that we see is that legacy enterprise organizations can vastly underestimate the culture shift that’s required to go agile. It requires different leadership practices.”

Gartner’s research identifies seven key best practices and principles that CMOs are advised to adopt in order to successfully lead today’s agile marketing organizations.

  1. CMOs must foster the development of trust among the team to make a more collaborative work environment.
  2. CMOs must craft a clear vision to sell into the organization to drive change, as well as clearly defined roles of employees to support that vision.
  3. CMOs must hone soft skills, as they are critical for being an effective leader.
  4. CMOs must be students–always learning–and learn to share leadership authority with modern oversight.
  5. CMOs must be engaged and aware at all times in order to effectively manage an agile organization.
  6. CMOs must build a culture of collaboration through constant and open communication, sourcing ideas, evaluating approaches and discussing among team members how they will share work.
  7. CMOs must reward individual and team outcomes, customizing the type of recognition they provide to each member of their team.

“Leading an agile marketing team requires more soft skills, like communication, resourcefulness, and creativity, versus some of the hard skills that have made a CMO’s career successful up until this point,” Shaw told CMO.com. “Traditional marketing leadership has long been rooted in command and control versus modern, collaborative styles.”

That thinking, Shaw said, “needs to shift to where CMOs are fostering the culture of agile, as well as investing in the infrastructure and the talent that’s required to completely change the ways of working that have existed in your organization.”

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