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How to empower your agile marketing team



How to empower your agile marketing team

When working with agile marketing teams, leaders should adopt a values-based approach that includes empowering their team members. Place individuals and interactions above processes and tools, and stop treating marketers like kindergarteners, said agile marketing expert Stacey Ackerman at The MarTech Conference.

Micromanaging is rampant in marketing. Being an effective leader means treating team members like adults.

“We really want to empower them to be able to work individually and think about how they can really grow and form,” said Ackerman. 

To accomplish this, Here are some guidelines on leading through empowerment.

Present your team with a problem, not a solution

Don’t lead with a command. Instead, present the problem and allow your team to formulate the remedy.

For instance, sales are down. Start there. Your team might suggest sending out a direct mail piece. Or maybe posting a video on YouTube is preferred. Give your talented team the opportunity to help solve the problem with their creativity.

“If we always give the teams the solution, they’re not going to be empowered to have that creativity that we need,” said Ackerman.


Read next: How marketers embrace agile ways of working

Brainstorm for a solution

To arrive at the right solution, draw on the creativity of the entire team through a brainstorming session.

“It’s a good use of time,” said Ackerman. “We typically run our teams on about 110% capacity to just execute, execute, execute, and the problem is we don’t account for [better use of] time [through] brainstorming.”

She added, “Brainstorming is really where the magic happens, and building this into the way we work and allowing teams to be part of that solution to your problem through brainstorming is very empowering and gives you great results.”

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Give your team space to solve

Don’t rush to a solution. Let your team think about the problem, brainstorm, and problem-solve in their own time.

“If we’re always solving the problems for the team, they no longer feel empowered and they really can’t grow,” said Ackerman.

And when a team member comes to a leader with a problem, the leader could always ask this member what they think about a solution. This gives the team an opportunity to solve problems on their own. The result? Better problem-solving all around.

Ask your team for the data

Remind team members about the importance of past experiences. It’s all in the data. How did similar campaigns perform in the past? Give them an opportunity to present the data to back their solution.


“A lot of opinions happen in marketing,” said Ackerman.

 “If you come back to the team member and ask how it performed, they have to own that they have to look at it. They start to become more results-oriented.”

Trust the team to own the solution and deliver great work

Trust is built over time. If you don’t have it, then leaders are checking all of their team’s work without giving ownership to team members.

It doesn’t mean that a leader will be entirely hands-off on a presentation made to the board of directors. But maybe there are smaller projects that don’t need so much micromanagement.

“I ask you to examine yourself and think, ‘what is the worst thing that could happen?’” said Ackerman. “Is there something that team members are doing to break your trust? What would make you feel more comfortable? Are there things that the team could experiment on more that are maybe less risky?”

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More leeway can garner more trust across the team. And where there’s trust, there’s more ownership, creativity and growth.

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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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Google, NBCUniversal duking it out to be Netflix adtech provider



Netflix is playing catch-up in the AVOD game

Ads are coming to Netflix, and Google and NBCUniversal are fighting for the lucrative right to provide them.

Why it’s happening. Until recently Netflix’s position as the dominant streaming service allowed it grow revenue without advertising. A subscription price increase earlier this year led to a loss of about 200,000 subscribers. The first loss in more than a decade. Despite this, Netflix says its user base continues to grow. One explanation: Password sharing. That would explain why there are fewer subscribers but more viewers

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The company is now also facing serious challenges from other streaming providers. So, even though its revenue continues to grow, it is looking to bolster them with a lower-priced, ad-supported subscription option. Bringing in Google or NBCUniversal, could make this happen much faster, though it could still be a year or more before it becomes a reality. 

The case for NBCUniversal. It’s likely that a partnership with NBCUniversal would be exclusive. Their ad unit, FreeWheel, would provide the necessary technology to deliver the ads. The NBCUniversal sales team would help to sell the ads across Europe and the US. 

The case for Google. Google brings its own ad platform, which Netflix is currently a customer of. An agreement with Google could mean an exclusive arrangement, but it hasn’t been confirmed. 

Both competitors are currently working with other large brands. A potential deal with Netflix could mean sharing access to its tech partners and audiences. NBCUniversal is the exclusive reseller of ads for Apple News and Apple Stocks since 2017 and has recently expanded into the UK. Google had been providing ad service to the Walt Disney Co. (a previous FreeWheel customer and current Netflix competitor) since 2018.

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What Netflix is saying. Netflix hasn’t provided any details of its plans, how many ads will run, ad targeting, or reach. 

Read the announcement. You can read the article from the Wall Street Journal here.

Why we care. From outside, Netflix’s subscription price increase, the fourth since 2018, seems an odd choice. It was announced at the end of January when inflation was already a growing concern for consumers. Also, viewers were already complaining about decreasing quality in new content while old favorites were no longer available. People are cutting spending and may turn to one of the emerging high-quality, lower-cost competitors.

Those competitors are also either ad-free or offer an ad-free version at a low cost. So an ad-supported Netflix tier may not be all that appealing. It’s rash to second guess a company as successful as Netflix, but this doesn’t seem to be a well-thought-out plan.


Read next: Why we care about adtech: The complete guide

About The Author

Nicole Farley is an editor for Search Engine Land covering all things PPC. In addition to being a Marine Corps veteran, she has an extensive background in digital marketing, an MBA and a penchant for true crime, podcasts, travel, and snacks.


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