If I could pick one word to define the future of marketing, it would be agility.
All the shifts in technology, media, channels, connections, and culture we’re experiencing have combined to accelerate the clockspeed of marketing.
How rapidly can new ideas be tested? How quickly can successes be scaled? How swiftly can failures be caught and re-imagined? How close to instantaneous can reaction time be when opportunities or threats arise in the viral, global fabric of social media? How deftly can a campaign, a program, a product, or an entire company pivot?
These are the questions that every marketer must ask. The answers measure agility.
While technology can help, achieving agility ultimately requires adjustments in the “operating system” of marketing management to better encourage, enable, and harness networked speed. Organizations must adapt their structures, processes, and incentives to execute at this new operational tempo.
To make this transition, marketers should look beyond lowercase-a agile — an admirable adjective — to uppercase-a Agile, a noun that defines a management methodology. Based on the agile software development, an Agile Marketing Methodology is emerging to give marketers a systematic way of running at high-speed without chaos. (Back in March, I posted some ideas for an Agile Marketing Manifesto to capture the spirit of this movement.)
Of course, as a new methodology, there’s precious few examples of Agile Marketing in the wild. IDC’s CMO Advisory Service produced an Agile Marketing Principles and Practices report earlier this year that did a great job of introducing the concept (along with a great accompanying blog post by one of the authors). Their report also included three vignettes of early adopters of Agile Marketing at Novell, HubSpot, and Webtrends.
One of those early adopters was Frank Days, Director of New and Social Media at Novell, who also runs the Marketing Agility blog with some terrific reflections on his experience in championing the blossoming discipline of Agile Marketing.
Now, in collaboration with John Cass of Pace Communications (and author of the excellent PR Communications blog), Frank has launched a new Marketing Agility podcast series. The first four episodes have been posted. The first two are John and Frank introducing themselves and the concepts of agile marketing. The third includes an interview with Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, who was the VP of marketing leading Agile adoption at Webtrends in the IDC report mentioned above.
The fourth episode is an interview with yours truly, covering topics such as the impact of agile marketing in conversion optimization and the importance of having embedded marketing technologists in the loop.
The Marketing Agility podcast is off to a great start, and it promises to be a good source of real-world discussions around the adoption and evolution of Agile Marketing. If you’re one of those marketers asking questions that begin with “how quickly can we…?”, then this podcast is for you.