Champions of agile marketing

how agile are you?

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.)

Agile Marketing Methodology

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.

Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Agile methodologies work great with almost any type of work out there. Marketing certainly can use it for good.

  2. Hi Scott, thanks so much for your interview on the agile marketing podcast, and your post here. Great to chat, and hear your perspective from the optimization industry.

  3. Scott,
    It’s always risky to pitch your own stuff in someone’s blog, lest it look like shameless self-promotion. Well, I guess that’s what it is, but hear me out… :-)
    Furthermore, my “street cred” with you is limited to the fact that I’m a longtime reader/first-time commenter and I tweeted our your 131 diff’t kinds of mktg post (and you responded: http://twitter.com/#!/chiefmartec/statuses/15180264791605248
    Now, all of that is to say that I wanted to share something with you and, if you are interested, collaborate.
    About a year ago, I published an eBook called “Dandelion Marketing: How to Increase Your Odds of Going Viral” As you can see from the URL report: http://bit.ly/5lSm3g+ it’s been clicked respectably. Not huge, but hey. There are probably another 1k directly to the source page, but I digress.
    You’ll see that one of the key elements of the Dandelion Marketing Culture is “Agile Marketing Development,” so clearly we’re on the same page.
    I think companies have to recognize that the marketing FUNCTION has to evolve as a result of the advent of these tools and the intersection of tools/marketing (as you well know).
    Now, I’m not sure what type of collaboration I have in mind, but it’s clear that you and I are on the same page and thought we could bang around ideas for 14 mins or so just to see what happens to advance this idea.
    More about me at: http://www.neverstopmarketing.com
    Either way, really enjoying your posts. Thank you and happy holidays.

  4. Hi Scott,
    Thanks for the HubSpot mention in the report – I work there and lead one of our marketing scrum teams. Coming from an enterprise company before – using agile for marketing was totally foreign to me … but we’ve found that the process around it lends itself really well to marketing campaign & project based work. Working to size projects, make public commitments, check-in daily and share roadblocks has so many benefits:
    1) we have gotten pretty good at sizing some things and know how much we can/cannot accomplish – makes things more predictable
    2) talking through our projects both publicly and within the team provides collaboration opportunities and often surfaces great ideas that we woulnd’t otherwise have known
    3) public commitment also makes marketing less of a black art and more of a science that many can understand – getting the organization behind our efforts to grow the business
    4) the frequent, quick syncs let us catch issues, bottlenecks or opportunities early and often, ensuring that no one project gets sidetracked – course corrections are a lot easier
    Here’s a story on one of our science fairs, monthly agile project reviews, that we invited customers to: http://www.hubspot.com/blog/bid/5820/HubSpot-Holds-3rd-Scrum-Science-Fair-to-Showcase-Monthly-Projects
    I could go on – but I won’t. We are looking forward to engaging in the discussion even more and I think may be doing some collaboration with Frank in fact.
    Hope to read more here!
    Cheers
    Kirsten

  5. Hi, Jeremy — thanks for sharing Dandelion Marketing and Never Stop Marketing! Always excited to hear about kindred spirits on these topics. Love to read other people’s perspectives.
    Thanks for reading, and happy holidays to you too!
    Scott

  6. Thanks for sharing, Kirsten!

  7. Scott,
    The “operating system” metaphor makes alot of sense to me. I’ll give you attribution as I share:-)
    Also, there seems to be many people trying to lay claim to similar approaches to making marketing more agile (see adaptive marketing, real-time marketing, lean marketing, etc). I like the term agile marketing as agile is a proven methodology from the technology world. The others feel like a personal branding exercise (i guess all blogging is to some degree)…
    Thanks again and we would love to have you on the podcast again.

  8. Mahesh Srinivasan says:

    Hi Scott,
    Your blog is one among the driving force for me to excel in the area of Marketing. Having finished Computer science Engineering, I inspire the technology part of Marketing. I would love coming back again and again. I do understand, at the end of day its all about Execution. Thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.

  9. Thanks, Mahesh — I’m glad to hear you’ve been enjoying the blog. Best wishes for your career in marketing technology. Would love to hear your perspective and experiences as you progress!

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