On June 11th in San Francisco, at the offices of MindJet, we’re going to hold the first ever gathering of Agile Marketing practitioners, which we’re calling SprintZero. I’m super excited. One of our goals will be to put together an Agile Marketing Manifesto. In preparation for this, Travis Arnold posted a roundup of Agile Marketing Manifestos. Reading over Travis’s roundup, I’m struck by the role of the manifesto compared to the other elements that have made Agile Development such a success: the manifesto is the visible tip of the iceberg, but without the remainder of the iceberg, the principles and the methodologies of Agile Development, it would never have had such a big impact.
Agile Marketing Values
The manifesto itself is a set of values, a stake in the ground that says we value some things more than others. For example, we could say that we value:
Measurement over opinion
Responding to change over following a plan
Many small experiments over a few large bets
Two-way conversations over one-way interruptions
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Something like this will be our starting point, and I’m hopeful that we can come up with some agreed upon Agile Marketing Values at SprintZero.
Agile Marketing Principles
Values are what we find of relative worth, merit, or importance. Principles, on the other hand, are rules of action or conduct or fundamental laws or truths from which others are derived (like the fundamental laws of physics).For example, we may value life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but they became part of a principle when Thomas Jefferson wrote “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
To bring us back to Agile Marketing, if we value measurement over opinion, how do we put this value into action? What are the fundamental principles of Agile Marketing, from which we can derive other rules and principles, to guide us in our quest to improve marketing? Here are some ideas for Agile Marketing principles, based on both the original agile developer’s principles, and also the work of Miguel Tam and Greg Meyer:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems
- We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to quickly respond to change is a source of competitive advantage
- Deliver marketing programs frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Great marketing requires close alignment with the business people, sales and development
- Build marketing programs around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress
- Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline
- Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice (thanks, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff)
- Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity is essential.
Agile Marketing Methodologies
Nowhere in the Agile Manifesto page will you find the words Sprint, Scrum, User Stories or Burndown chart, but can anyone imagine Agile Development without these critical contributions to methodology? Agile Marketing needs to both adopt some of the same methodologies as Agile Development, and also develop its own methodologies. Once developed, Agile Marketers need to evangelize the use of these techniques. Just as the agile developers built an infrastructure where someone could become a certified “scrum master”, take courses in any major city worldwide in Agile Development methodologies, and find tools that supported Agile Development, Agile Marketing must do the same. I hope we’ll have time at the end of the day at SprintZero to discuss next steps, including how we can evangelize Agile Marketing Methodologies.