If you say agile marketing doesn’t work, which practices are you talking about?

Agile Marketing Practices

Andrea Fryrear of AgileSherpas is one of the world’s leading agile marketing experts, author of Death of a Marketer, and instructor for the Agile Marketing Advantage workshop at the upcoming MarTech conference (a few spots for her workshop are still available!). She’s an amazing force for the betterment of marketing management.

So I was excited to read the latest 2nd Annual State of Agile Marketing Report that she just released, produced in conjunction with CoSchedule.

There are a ton of gems in the report, such as:

  • 50% of traditional marketers plan to adopt Agile within a year
  • 54% of Agile marketers report using a hybrid framework (up 10% since last year)
  • 31% of marketers cite a lack of education as their top barrier to adopting Agile

But the single most interesting chart for me was the one at the top of this post, showing data about which techniques and practices marketers use when they do agile marketing:

  • 44% — Daily standup
  • 42% — User stories
  • 32% — Retrospectives
  • 31% — Work-in-progress (WIP) limits
  • 28% — Short iterations
  • 27% — Sprint/iteration planning
  • 26% — Frequent releases
  • 22% — Sprint/iteration review
  • 16% — Planning poker/estimation
  • 13% — Kanban board

One of the reasons I love this chart is that it makes the point that agile marketing isn’t some loose, happy-go-lucky, let’s-just-try-a-bunch-of-things-quick-and-dirty-and-see-what-happens free-for-all. It’s a collection of well-defined management practices that are connected by an underlying philosophy of continuous improvement.

I ranted last year that choosing between being strategic or being agile is a false dichotomy, because of the misconception that being “agile” was what they called it if you didn’t have a strategy.

Agile vs. Strategy Misconception

I love Tom Fishburne (Marketoonist) — he’s actually one of our keynote speakers at this next MarTech — but this particular cartoon of his made me grimace, because I’ve heard people abuse “agile” in this exact way many times. (Which is part of what Tom was satirizing.)

Agile is a vessel for informing and executing on strategy. They’re complements.

Anyway, I won’t rehash my agile gives life to strategy arguments here again. But my new tactic when someone tells me that agile marketing doesn’t work will be to pull out Andrea’s chart of those 10 agile practices and ask, “Which ones did you try and why didn’t they work?”

Some might have good answers. But I’d bet most will say, “Oh, well, hmm, we didn’t try that.”

Agile Marketing Experience

But part of the good news from Andrea’s report is that more marketing organizations are embracing agile. I’m encouraged that an increasing percentage of them have been practicing agile marketing for seveal years.

Because the benefits of agile marketing are pretty compelling:

Benefits of Agile Marketing

Want to learn more about agile marketing from Andrea herself? Sign up for her Agile Marketing Advantage workshop at the upcoming MarTech conference, April 3-5 in San Jose. You can also get a free Expo+ pass for 27 other sessions and the opportunity to meet over 100 martech vendors and over 1,000 of your peers. Hope to see you there.

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