When I used to run a Marketing Ops team, the way we became more efficient and focused was by implementing two week sprints. When the idea initially was ran by me, I was SKEPTICAL, so I know what you’re thinking.

But before I dive into how to do a “Marketing sprint”, let’s get a clear picture:

What is a Marketing Sprint?

It’s not just a buzzword. It’s a framework adapted from Google Ventures that squeezes BIG achievements into short timeframes. AKA we want substantial results, QUICKLY, like launching a new 360 Marketing campaign in just two weeks.

This approach doesn’t work for everyone, but it had a lot of benefits for us. 

So why Sprint?

Jenaayyyyyy. 🏃‍♂️💨

Why Marketing Sprints Work

1️⃣. Focus: Zoom in on what matters. Every day of the sprint is a targeted strike towards a specific goal—no distractions, just results. It’s not lack of skill that inhibits most Marketing teams, it’s lack of focus. There are tons of tasks we’re asked to do, but what are THE MOST important?? A Marketing Sprint will help you clarify the most important to-do’s.

2️⃣. Speed: It’s all about quick cycles of planning, executing, and learning. This means quicker turnaround times and the ability to adapt on the fly. Marketing isn’t just fast-paced; it’s sprint-paced! Move fast and BREAK things.

3️⃣. Clarity and Commitment: With clear goals and a dedicated timeframe, everyone knows what needs to be done and is committed to the timeline. Teamwork makes the dream work Marketing Bestie. The short timeline FORCES your hand, you will be working as a TEAM.

4️⃣. Transparency: It helps other stakeholders understand what we are working on and why their request might not be the highest priority. Also, when’s the last time you ever heard a brand achieve BIG things while operating in silos? You need to be communicating across teams.

5️⃣. Hidden Benefit: Marketing sprints are a sneaky big help for hiring. When you’re doing a sprint you’ll be able to see ALL the leaks in the Marketing department. A backlog of tasks, parts of the team that are falling behind, this will show your company what they’re missing out, making your case much stronger for another hire.

Now how do we execute it?

The Planning Phase:

1️⃣. Set Goals: Start by clearly defining what the Marketing sprint is there to achieve. Increasing leads? Boosting conversion rates? Launching a new tool? The goals should be specific, measurable, and aligned with broader Marketing goals.

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2️⃣. Prioritization: Evaluate the importance and urgency of each task/project. What’s essential for the sprint’s success and what can wait? My fav mental model for determining whether something is urgent? I’m glad you asked LOL. The MoSCoW method (Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have). Tasks that are important but not urgent can be moved to the “parking lot”, where ideas and tasks are kept on hold until they can be addressed in future sprints or when resources become available.

3️⃣. Task Mapping: Once goals are set and prioritized, break them down into manageable tasks. Each task should have a clear outcome and be assigned to a team member with the right skills. Asana, Monday.com or Trello are my go-to’s to visualize the workflow and timelines across multiple team members on a sprint.

4️⃣. Resource Allocation: Assess what resources are needed to accomplish the tasks—this includes other teams, budget, and tools. Resources have to be allocated efficiently to avoid bottlenecks during the sprint. This is all in an effort to be MORE EFFICIENT.

5️⃣. Risk Assessment: Identify potential risks or obstacles that could derail the sprint and plan for it. Team member availability, tech deficiencies, or external factors like market changes all can impact the outlook of your sprint. SWOT analysis (looks like we DID learn something in college after all LOL).

6️⃣. Final Review: Before launching the sprint, conduct a final review of the plan with all stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page. This is also the time to make any last-minute adjustments based on team feedback. This is the rehearsal dinner.

Execution Phase:

1️⃣. Kick-Off Meeting: Start with a full team meeting to ensure one last time everyone’s clear on the sprint goals and their roles. Every role is important, make sure the team knows that. Cross your T’s, dot your I’s.

2️⃣. Daily Stand-Ups: Every day have a quick huddle to track progress and tackle any blockers. These are fast, focused, and meant to keep the momentum high. 15 min MAX. No fluff, get right to the point of the meeting.

3️⃣. Execution: Dive into the tasks, this is where the planning meets reality, and you start ticking off those tasks. All hands on deck, its time to truly see your team operate in a high-pressure environment.

4️⃣. Continuous Monitoring: Use a color-coded system. Red for tasks that are behind schedule, yellow for tasks that need caution, and green for tasks on track (use Monday.com for this). This visual method makes it super easy to see where you stand at a glance and helps prioritize resources where they’re needed most.

5️⃣. Review and Quality Checks: As tasks get completed, they’re reviewed against your sprint goals. Quality can’t take a backseat even when you’re racing against time. The goal of the sprint is to hit that balance of quality and quantity in a short period.

6️⃣. Sprint Review: At the end, a review session to showcase all completed tasks, what worked, what didn’t, what needs to get moved to the next sprint and how much closer you are to your Marketing goals. What doesn’t get measured won’t get managed, this is one of THE MOST important aspects of the sprint. For future sprints to ACTUALLY work you need to learn from your mistakes.

7️⃣. Communicate with Stakeholders: At the end of the sprint, send out an update email to all stakeholders. Summarize the progress, highlight the color-coded task statuses, and outline next steps or any adjustments needed. It’s not just about keeping them informed, it’s about showing them the real-time journey of our efforts, challenges and communicating your impact. And communicating your impact is how you can command a larger Marketing budget.

Daniel Murray
Daniel Murray
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