On Monday, we held the first ever gathering of Agile Marketers at an event called SprintZero. There have been a number of wonderful summaries and recaps of the event (here for example). For whatever reason, I needed a couple of days to allow my own thoughts to crystalize.
Marketing at a Crossroads
Nearly all the marketers in the room felt that marketing is at a crossroads – we could continue down the well-marked road of big campaigns, clamoring for attention, shouting at our buyer’s like carnival barkers, or we could turn off on to the less-traveled path pointed to by scarecrows on a post like Seth Godin (Permission Marketing) and David Meerman Scott (The New Rules of Marketing and PR).
Old marketing is dead, but it simply won’t die. As Marty Smith said, when shouting doesn’t work, some just turn up the volume. We, Agile Marketers, will add our voice to the growing call for marketing to change – to become more attuned to customers, to become more permission-based, to become more transparent, and yes, to become more agile.
Agile Marketing is a Movement
Agile Marketing is NOT just another tool in the toolbox. It’s NOT about the application of Scrum or Kanban to manage the marketing process. Agile Marketing is a movement, a quest, a revolution, with all that implies: emotion, radicalism, religious fervor. Grab your torches and your pitchforks; let’s storm the barricades!
This has implications for how Agile Marketing gets adopted within organizations. It’s as much or more about culture and values than process. The process is secondary. As Jascha Kaykas-Woolf said at the meeting, it’s the attitudes that matter, not only in marketing, but in the rest of the organization.
More Work to be Done
While I think the day was a tremendous success, there is much work to be done. When the developers met in Snowbird, Utah, they spent an entire weekend crafting and honing the values and the principles of Agile Development. We spent only about 2 hours on the values, and no time at all on the principles (other than to list some candidates).
I’m proud of what we accomplished in that two hours, and I think we’re 80% of the way there. But we probably have too many values (we eventually settled on 7, some of which I think overlap) and we may have missed some.
For example, Jascha Kaykas-Woolf talked at both SprintZero and at the Inbound Marketing Summit panel about the importance of transparency and accountability, and that seemed to resonate with people, but nowhere did we capture that in the values. Rohn Jay Miller also alluded to this with his slide, early on, about how we need to stop campaigning and start committing.
The day ended with a brainstorming session on the future of Agile Marketing, and we took a list of action items. We’ll soon be creating a web site to post the work-in-progress Agile Marketing Manifesto, and gather feedback. I am personally committed to helping generate some evangelical “tracts” for the movement. We also talked about the next meeting, #Sprint1, which might happen this Fall.