Marketing plays an important role at ABN AMRO. Every year a multitude of marketing campaigns and customer communications are carried out. In order to be able to conduct these campaigns and communication properly, all sorts of processes and procedures have been developed over the course of time. Consequence: long lead times, a lot of alignment and a portfolio of campaigns that must always be prioritized and determined months in advance.
The marketing department concluded that this was no longer sustainable. Its management team wanted to become more flexible and help the marketing teams to increase the impact and effectiveness of their on- and offline campaigns. The ambition was to enable the marketing teams to develop campaigns and customer communications that are spot-on and relevant. This also meant removing a lot of impediments that hamper teams in creating meaningful content.
We like to think of Agile as a means to an end. In our experience especially teams working in non-IT environments can’t simply copy-paste the scrum framework. Instead we decided to use Scrum as a starting point and build from the core agile principles to discover a way of working that best suits the specific situation and challenges. We don’t see the way of working as something that is fixed in time either, it is merely a starting point that is the basis for continuous evolution.
The starting point was one team that used scrum as a guiding methodology. After these first experiences the approach was expanded to five Marketing Delivery Teams. This new way of working brought about important changes:
These changes brought about a number of challenges as well. Most importantly we see that the implications of agile working (working together, working transparently, continuous learning, commitment, focus) can be quite taxing for managers and team members. Because the success of this way of working depends on everyone actively contributing, everyone’s commitment is asked. In most cases training and coaching and experiencing the effects of this new way of working helps to bring people on board.
The teams have increased the velocity with which they release new campaigns, spend more time on communication activities that drive customer value and have improved cooperation among the disciplines and with stakeholders. Best of all, the people working in the teams are more motivated than ever, actively involve customers in their decision making and are sharing their best practices within ABN AMRO and with other companies. These successes have inspired marketing departments in other business lines to adopt agile marketing.
- Pascal van de Polll
Pascal van de Polll has 20 years of experience working at different top consultancy firms. Feeling the need for a more modern take on consultancy he cofounded Strategiemakers in 2012. Since then the firm, operating from Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has grown to over 18 employees. Strategiemakers focuses on helping companies renew their business strategies, help teams innovate faster and build agile organizations.
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