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“Validated Learning Over Opinions and Conventions”
A couple of weeks ago I was helping kickoff a team of 8-10 Agile Marketing teams. The kickoff spanning a couple of days includes:
- Agile Marketing training
- High level planning of their first quarter
- Iteration planning for their first agile iteration
While doing this I saw some gaps between the training and the actual planning around the whole validation/experimentation/learning thing. In other words the difference between increments and iterations.
It’s not iterating if you’re not inspecting and possibly adapting along the way.
Taking a big campaign and breaking it into small tasks and planning two weeks at a time is one step towards Agile Marketing.
Running demos to show what you’ve accomplished and daily scrums to help manage the progress is a second step.
That’s just a glimpse of what Agile Marketing is really about.
This is why when we got to high level planning I felt something was missing from how the teams were planning. They were working on an MVP BOM – A Minimally Viable Program Bill Of Materials describing the minimum aspects of the campaign/program they were focusing on.
It was a good start to focus on smaller more minimal programs/campaigns and working incrementally. But I felt the iterative/learning message was missing from the discussion once we moved from theory to practice.
Let’s Use A Lean Startup Validation Board
At that point I recalled the “Lean Startup Validation Board“. I first learned about the Validation Board and practiced using it as a mentor in a “Lean Startup Machine” event back in Tel Aviv. It is a practical hands on planning tool that focuses you on what you don’t know and need to learn.
In the classic Lean Startup context it should help you in your search for a Product Market Fit. You start by identifying your hypothesis around who are your potential customers, what’s the problem you think they have, and what solution might fit their need. You then try to think what are your core assumptions that would need to be true in order for all your hypothesis to be true.
It’s all about risks
You then look for the riskiest assumption – the one you feel might be the first one to bring your house of cards down. Then you structure experiments/validated learning around that. If your experiment validates your assumption you move to the next assumption. If it invalidates it you need to pivot to another set of hypothesis’s and start the core assumptions validation process again.
Is This Product Management Tool Good For Agile Marketing?
Mostly, yes! The minimum tweaking I would do is to change from “Solution Hypothesis” to “Marketing Solution Hypothesis”. When I say Marketing Solution I include things like channel or message.
An example of a channel hypothesis might be – “we think that Snapchat can be a useful marketing channel for us”. A messaging hypothesis might be “During a snow storm people would really connect to messages regarding vacations in warm places”.
After Finding Product Market Fit – Search For A Streamlined Customer’s Journey
An Agile Marketing team is many times focused on scaling/growing revenue (After Product Market Fit was already found/established). So these teams are focused on finding new creative ways to reach more people in the identified market and optimizing their customer’s journey.
So if you’re serious about Agile Marketing, don’t just plan tasks. Plan experiments aimed at validating assumptions. Plan to learn. Plan to iterate.