In product development, MVP focuses on achieving the least possible functionality to enable rapid testing and indicate the path of future iterations. Applied to planning, this means that not everything is doable and not everything is high priority. Think short-term, effective “sprint” strategy sessions. A sprint is a short, finite period of intensive work. It helps test ideas earlier in the development cycle and enables further adjustments as more information becomes available.
Strategizing in sprints breaks an otherwise long and complex process into smaller chunks that can be accomplished faster. For example, a traditional strategic plan might call for a 12-month social content calendar covering five platforms and a dozen other large-scale, long-term projects. But sprint sessions that are part of an agile strategy will focus on high-level goals broken down to a few key areas of execution that can be adjusted quickly as business conditions change.
Sprints are particularly important as the COVID-19 crisis evolves. Marketing leaders need a solid strategic element to act on in a short time frame (weeks or months) and get a sense for what works during an uncertain period. Even in less volatile times, the competitive environment and customer needs can change, sometimes very quickly. It’s more effective to revise the marketing strategy on the spot rather than find out a year later that a painstakingly built plan has failed. Strategy sprints are an ideal way to incorporate vision, creativity, testing and modification.
Perhaps the largest obstacle to agile strategy adoption is cultural change. It takes time and diplomacy to transform long-entrenched attitudes. But CMOs need to lead the change and shift from rigid planning to adopting a flexible, nimble approach to strategy.
Gartner clients can learn more in Build Stronger Marketing Plans in Uncertain Times With Adaptive Strategic Planning. Gartner clients can also visit the Gartner COVID-19 Resource Center to learn more about how to lead through the disruption of coronavirus.