Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week Ian Truscott discusses the growing trend of 'Agile' marketing.
Everyone and everything it seems today is ‘Agile’. In the growing thievery of tech industry terms into the lexicon of today’s culture, of life hacks, growth hackers, and people being “pinged", Agile as a method of getting things done has crossed from the developer scrum to just about any business practice, including marketing.
Like most contemporary software vendors, our core business, the development of software, strictly follows an Agile methodology. As a growing company in a competitive space, we need to be agile as an organization. As a marketer in this environment, I also need to be agile.
I was reminded of this during an all hands company meeting, as we discussed in groups the principles around which the company works, one being agile or umm…Agile. I described how in our marketing team we use Trello boards to manage tasks, we break the big tasks into chunks (sprints) and we have a strategy to measure what we do, hopefully fail fast and course correct when stuff doesn’t work.
Gosh, you may be thinking - is this Agile Marketing? Is Ian one of those cool kids?
And I recoil, God no.
I am deeply cynical of this particular brand of snake oil. No, no, no, what I do is not Agile, it is merely agile – small ‘a’. I am using contemporary tools to get shit done. Maybe as I have a techie background, adopting these tools is more natural for me, but what marketing is not agile? When has marketing ever not been agile?
It should be the most agile thing in the business, retooling an assembly line for a new model is not agile. Launching a new campaign, testing, refining, adapting to the audience is what marketing DOES and has always done. It is by its very nature an agile vocation.
Sometimes it’s even too agile. Who has not seen the new CMO come in and change messaging direction to the point of confusing the market and the sales team, or worse changing direction every time a new idea pops into their head?
Our desire to label stuff has developed a host of niches in our marketing operations; Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing to name a few. And we are now trying to put Pandora back into her box (OK, I know I trashed that analogy) and describe these things simply as what they are – marketing. Who in this business in 2017 is not a digital marketer? You are a marketer.
This goes the same way for our systems and operations, yes I am going to mention silos again, but dammit, these cool kids with their penchant for being a ninja at something, or an industry analyst determined to carve a niche of research they can own are creating these silos. And this is the enemy of agile. This is the enemy of joined up planning and execution.
Agile marketing may not be a silo, but it’s certainly a distraction and we should nip this in the bud.
Yes, perhaps we as marketers need to develop a better reputation for getting shit done, the language of Agile could be the code for doing that. In a technology fuelled world maybe talking about Agile with our techie colleagues might build some bridges and the lessons we learn will improve marketing, but it’s not a thing. If you are a marketer, you need to be agile.