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Getting Started with the Agile Marketing Navigator: Customer Stories

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Getting Started with the Agile Marketing Navigator: Customer Stories

We recently introduced you to Agile Marketing Navigator, a flexible framework for navigating agile marketing for marketers, by marketers in the article “A new way to navigate agile marketing.” The navigator has four major components: Collaborative Planning Workshop, Launch Cycle, Key Practices and Roles. Within these categories, there are several sub-pieces for implementation.

In recent articles we covered the Collaborative Planning Workshop and the Launch Cycle. Now we’re going to dive into our third stop on your agile marketing journey — 6 Key Practices

The Agile Marketing Navigator is intended to be a flexible framework, so these 6 Key Practices are suggestions, not requirements. You can mix and match them. You can do all six, or just two or three. You can combine them with some of your own practices. There are a lot of valuable practices out there, but the reason we chose to hone in on these six is that our team of marketing executives and agile coaches all saw real proven benefits from them.

Today we’ll talk about the first practice — Customer Stories. This is a practice I wrote about in a 2021 article, “Writing customer stories to improve team collaboration,” so you can see I’m a pretty big fan of them. But not always, and not for every team.

What are Customer Stories?

A Customer Story is gives everyone a more well-rounded perspective on the work the team is setting out do do, and is inclusive of all work required to create value to the customer.

Customer Stories are derived from user stories, a longtime popular concept among Scrum teams in software development. They are the late 1990s brainchild of Dr. Alistair Cockburn, stemming from a need to bring together business people and tech people to have a conversation. The idea was that handing over lengthy requirements documents from “the business” to “the developers” was inefficient and a lot got lost in translation.

In 2001, Ron Jeffrey put a new spin on them with the 3C’s — Card, Conversation, Confirmation. In 2004, Mike Cohn popularized the practice within agile software development in his book “User Stories Applied For Agile Software Development.”

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While user stories work well in software development, the focus is more of a technical one about how a user of a website or software system uses a feature. A customer story in marketing is about the target customer we’re trying to reach and what benefit that customer will receive from the marketing tactic we deliver.

Here are a few examples of customer stories:

  • “As a realtor, I want a landing page where prospects can go so that I can build up my sales pipeline.”
  • “As a healthcare provider, I want to get a weekly email update on vaccination rates in my community so that I am better prepared for a crisis.”
  • “As a mom of two, I want a buy one get one free offer on back to school shoes so that I can save money.”
  • “As a new homeowner, I want to receive a brochure on where to find a qualified pediatrician near me so that my kids are well cared for.”

One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen in coaching marketers rather than software teams on how to write customer stories is the level of thinking. Software teams have an easy time coming up with a story about a small update, whereas marketers need to think in much broader terms. Instead of this being a battle to fight, exploit the way that marketers ideate naturally.

While my examples above are extremely specific and cover a single deliverable, such as a landing page or an e-mail, it’s okay to start with a general story such as:

  • “As a realtor, I want to build up my sales pipeline so that I can grow my business.”

From there, a lot of teams like to ideate on what tactics align with that story such as building a landing page, launching an email campaign, etc. Either of these approaches works. One is the more traditional way, and the other is the way I’ve learned to be agile about teaching this to marketers.

The goal of course is a shared understanding of the work.


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Which marketing teams should use Customer Stories?

Any teams that deliver marketing to customers can use Customer Stories. They are a great way to have a conversation as a team and to look at work differently. It also helps if you’re accustomed to siloed work and passing work from person to person. The Customer Story gets everyone on the same page.

So, when would you not use them? If the team thinks they are already performing well and doesn’t want to spend the time on them. However, I’ve found that a little bit more time upfront leads to better teamwork and a more customer-centric delivery of valuable marketing content.


Catch up on the Agile Marketing Navigator series!



Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Stacey knows what it’s like to be a marketer, after all, she’s one of the few agile coaches and trainers that got her start there. After graduating from journalism school, she worked as a content writer, strategist, director and adjunct marketing professor. She became passionate about agile as a better way to work in 2012 when she experimented with it for an ad agency client. Since then she has been a scrum master, agile coach and has helped with numerous agile transformations with teams across the globe. Stacey speaks at several agile conferences, has more certs to her name than she can remember and loves to practice agile at home with her family. As a lifelong Minnesotan, she recently relocated to North Carolina where she’s busy learning how to cook grits and say “y’all.”

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MARKETING

Achieving the Perfect Work-Life Balance with Coworking

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Achieving the Perfect Work-Life Balance with Coworking

Do you have a job that allows you to work from home? If you’re like many small business owners, you keep telling yourself that the money you save from not renting a separate office is justification enough to let your office take over your living space. Is it the best option to work from home given your small business enables it? Many small business owners prefer to work from home, but does it provide you with the work-life balance you require? You may discover that it has certain disadvantages.

Work-life balance is more complicated than you would assume. It can result in a loss of productivity, extreme burnout, nervousness, stress, insomnia, and more. Unfortunately, traditional offices and the work-from-home strategy do not allow employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. On the other hand, shared offices can make a significant difference in this area. Let’s look at how coworking office spaces can help you strike a work-life balance.

To Improve, Get Social and Get To Work.

Many smaller businesses have discovered that coworking has helped them avoid the problems that come with having a home-based firm. Coworking allows you to communicate with others while avoiding the isolation that comes with working from home.

Coworking provides an ideal environment for networking, business growth, and simply socializing. A coworking space can assist freelancers, entrepreneurs, persons in the creative sectors, and others. It provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to both inspire and be motivated by people around you.

If you currently work from home and find it difficult to strike a work-life balance, consider joining a coworking space. Almost every big city has a number of coworking places where you can work for little or no money.

Flexibility

One of the most important aspects that helps business owners combine personal and professional life of employees is flexibility. Many studies show that allowing employees to work at their leisure and at their preferred location improves employee satisfaction and reduces stress levels.

One of the most significant benefits of coworking spaces is that they allow for flexible work arrangements. Employees that operate from a shared office have more influence over their schedule. For example, based on their most efficient work hours and schedules, individuals can start right away or work late. Flexi plans are available from all major coworking office providers, allowing members to take advantage of flexible work hours.

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Productive Workplace Environment

There is, in fact, a strong link between your workplace and your work-life balance. You will be unable to complete your job if you work from an office or home office that lacks all of the necessary amenities. Unfinished tasks accumulate, sabotaging your work-life balance by eating into your personal time and weekends.

Because of the variety of amenities and distraction-free work environment, coworking spaces make it easier to achieve a work-life balance. From well-equipped desks to comfortable furniture to specialized meeting rooms, entertainment areas, community spaces, and cafeterias, shared offices have everything you could want to boost productivity. As a result, you complete more tasks, freeing you more time for your private lives.

The Importance of Motivation

Another important component that impacts your work-life balance is motivation. Your productivity rises by many notches when you are inspired. It assists in allocating time between personal and professional lives. However, staying motivated while working at home or in regular office spaces, especially as a freelancer or entrepreneur, is difficult.

Because of its community-inspired structure and nature, coworking office spaces might help you achieve a better work-life balance. You’ll be surrounded by like-minded people and have the chance to meet and network with mentors. To put it another way, help is available when you need it. All of this contributes to achieving a healthy balance between your professional and personal life.

Conclusion

Coworking spaces can help you strike the perfect work-life balance by giving you the opportunity to separate your professional and personal life. With so many different options for coworking, it’s easy to find one that meets your specific needs. Whether you need a quiet space to focus or a place to collaborate with other professionals, there’s a coworking option out there for you. Let us help you find the right space for you! Have you found a great coworking space that has helped you achieve better work-life balance? The benefits of coworking spaces are totally up to you. You may not be eligible for all of the benefits, but the ability to tailor them to your business needs is the most valuable bonus of all.

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