I want to say congratulations to an incredible group of people that I get the pleasure of working with every day: the employees of meltmedia. For four years in a row meltmedia has made the Inc. 5000 list for the fastest-growing private companies in America. This year we earned the position of #1564, surpassing last year’s growth. Making this list once is a big win for any company. Accomplishing this feat four times in a row is quite impressive, and is directly attributable to our employees and their commitment to the organization and to our clients.
Over the last year or so, our team embarked on moving from a typical Waterfall development approach to implementing a Scrum/Agile approach. While there are plenty of good blogs about making this transition from a development standpoint, I have not seen a lot of good information on what this change means from a business standpoint for an agency or professional services firm.
One of our biggest challenges is aligning the benefits of Agile to the way sales are accomplished in the organization. Our most effective sales approach has always been to have a fixed budget, fairly defined scope, and to provide timeline windows (X months, etc.).
The argument between whether the web is dead and mobile apps will reign supreme or vice versa has been a hot topic lately. My recommendation is to forget this argument for now. The web and apps are here to stay over the next few years and the discussion should be focused on what does this mean for your business. I see the following innovation cycle, described below, continuing to occur over the next few years. Understanding this cycle will help drive your mobile strategy.
We have been advocating a different line of thinking when working with our clients around standard marketing campaigns and the piloting of new ideas. One of the things we learned from the software development side of our business is that when we are creating a new piece of code or feature, we really only want to build it once and then continue to evolve it. We don’t want each programmer building a different approach to the same problem – it’s simply not effective.
We have been leveraging this process for years in our software development process, and it has allowed our company to continually innovate. We figured we could apply this knowledge to anything, so we started advocating this approach to our clients for their marketing initiatives, campaigns, and pilots.
Over the years we have been in a position to watch the constantly evolving cycle between marketing teams and sales teams in their efforts to deliver the right message and information to their customers. Marketing should be focused on creating the proper materials to support the brand objectives and complement the sales efforts with the ultimate goal of providing useful content that will be consumed by potential or existing customers.
Those of us who have resided either on the agency side or the brand/sales team know there are constant challenges in balancing what information to create, the best format to use, and the best way to measure the effectiveness of each piece. Common themes we hear are:
- The message reached customers too late; our materials are now outdated.
- The information was just a rehash of what they already know; we need something new.
- We delivered the piece but were not truly able to gauge the customers response. I am not sure this is providing any ROI.
- Numerous other scenarios of marketing and sales trying to get “the right mix” of materials and delivery approach.