I was struck recently by a comment on the Agile Marketing Facebook group: “Is there any other kind of marketing? I guess I missed out because I never went to work for one of the big old slow agencies. I always worked at small agencies and small companies which had startup mentalities.”
He’s right, of course, and a number of people use the term “Agile Marketing” in this sense – marketing that is fast, flexible, adaptable – including David Meerman Scott in his highly recommended book “Real-Time Marketing and PR“.
But a number of us use the term Agile Marketing in a more specific, and not incompatible, fashion: Marketing that achieves the goals of speed, flexibility, adaptability and more through the use of specific methodologies modeled after the methodologies of Agile Development, methodologies like Sprints, Scrum and User Stories.
Is the difference important? I think it is.
As any chef or wood worker will tell you, you can’t achieve greatness at your profession simply by using the right tools. But the corollary also holds true: without the right tools, it is much more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve greatness.
Today, over 80% of software organizations practice at least some form of agile development. It is the most widely practiced methodology in the world, surpassing waterfall methodologies. And although there are a few holdouts, most software developers agree, and lots of evidence suggests, that software development has improved tremendously through the application of the tools of Agile Development.
I believe that we can apply some of the same tools, with our own unique adaptations, to the art and science of marketing. I also believe that the time is now. In this fast-changing, always-on society in which we live and work, tools that help us get alignment with the business and revenue goals of the organization (one of the primary benefits of Spring Planning sessions), that help us discover and fix blocking problems before they become serious (one of the benefits of a daily scrum) and that help us to improve the speed, predictability, transparency and adaptability to change of the marketing function (the overall benefits of the methodologies of Agile Marketing) are tools worth adopting.