In my previous post on Kanban project management, I took a very general view on Kanban and its applications. And since I got a serious level of traction and interest in it, I have decided to elaborate a little further on the topic. In this post, we will tackle the application of Kanban in marketing management. Whether you use a simple whiteboard and sticker system, or you use an app for your project management needs, this system works just as fine to organize your workflow and makes sure your entire team stays on the same page.
As a slight recap for those of you who have not read my previous article. Kanban is a method in project management that allows for the continuous monitoring and visualization of any project. It is based on a 3 tier system of Board > List > Card. I recommend you check the full article here.
As we discussed earlier Kanban is a visual, and continuous (JIT) system of project management. This means that at any given time the board will display the entire project at its various levels of progress. In terms of marketing, this is especially important. Marketing already consists of various simultaneous processes. By visualizing these concurrent systems, it becomes very easy to understand your throughput and your bottlenecks better.
- Throughput is the amount of produce that goes through your workflow pipeline in a period of time.
- Bottlenecks are constraints that are slowing down current workflows which in turn cause a decrease in throughput. These bottlenecks cause the piling up of unfinished tasks (backlog) that will decrease throughput even further if not dealt with properly.
The Marketing Process
Depending on the type of agency you work in (creative, ATL, BTL, Data/Performance), chances are your workflow would be a slight variation of the following.
Product – Campaign
This is where you have a list of the upcoming campaigns that need to be put forth into your pipeline. It can be a new product that the team has not yet begun working on, or it can be a new season campaign. The point is, this is your backlog. The products that you need to get moving on.
The concept is the brainstorming session needed for any product within the pipeline. This is where you will prepare a checklist of the things that will need to be covered in the brainstorming session. This checklist can include things like:
- Target Market
- Target Age
- Target Gender
- Social Media
- Campaign date range
- Creative brief
All of these items are at the brainstorming level because they will allow you to set the KPIs and metrics that you will judge the performance of your campaign by. It will also allow you to give your designer or creative agency a very clear and concise creative brief, reducing confusion and improving efficiency.
This is where your creative agency (it is recommended that you do btw) or your designer will be able to update you on any and all progress they have made on the design of the concept. This way everyone involved can monitor and comment on the progress being done. This helps including the entire team in the entire decision-making process. You can also have a checklist on separate cards for each item, based on the creative brief that looks something like this:
- Landing page design
- Homepage design
- Vertical Banner
- Horizontal Banner
This will help notify all those involved with what is complete and what is still in progress allowing for the development team to handle the programming part of what is done as opposed to waiting and receiving everything at once.
- This right here is the beauty of Kanban and Agile work. They remove any bottlenecks caused by separate teams waiting on each other, and the backlog of items suddenly moved from team to team as a result of the waterfall method.
Any marketing campaign (especially digital) has a stage where some form of development work is necessary. From the coding of landing pages to the use of html5 and rich media ads. A developer will always be one of a marketer’s best friends. Working in an agile team allows for the continuous unbroken flow of work from design into development.
This is where things come together for the launch of your awesome campaign. By knowing what is ready for deployment instantly you have the opportunity to move ahead of schedule sometimes by deploying the teaser campaign a little earlier than expected or right on time. In some cases, you can even befit from the visual nature of Kanban in a way that allows you to make up for the time possibly lost in the pipeline.
- Note: In teams that may have certain compliance issues or regulatory issues, I recommend that the “Approval” phase of the project be given its own list. This way, if this causes a bottleneck or decrease in efficiency it is possible to detect and understand as opposed to blaming it on someone else.
The final stage of any campaign. Congrats! This is where you assess your results and match them to your goals. I would recommend that you as a marketer or agency and the performance impact of your management efforts on the results of the campaign. You may (and probably will) find new ways to improve on this method. After all the beauty of Agile lies in the small alterations in the method that add up to major benefits in the long run.