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Recap of SprintZero: The Physics Of Agile Marketing

SprintZero - The Physics of Agile Marketing Group Picture June 11 2012Here's my synopsis post of today's agile marketing event at Mindjet in San Francisco:

Jim Ewel’s Agile Marketing 101 Introduction

My co-host and chef instigator for the idea of holding the #sprint0 event, Jim Ewel, did a great job of presenting an overview of agile marketing 101. Several people asked for a copy of his presentation, so we will follow up with him to find out what he can share!

Agile Marketing Top Insights Panel

Jim was also the moderator for the top insights panel. Jascha Kaykas-Wolff (Mindjet), Rohn Jay Miller (Sapient), and Nick Muldoon (Atlassian) were on the panel.

We had two people drop out from the original panel, so Nick really helped us out.

I was reflecting during the panel discussion we had the prefect mix of panelists. Jascha the marketer’s agile marketer with years of experience in the practice across quite a few tech companies, Jascha just provided that in depth experience to the panel and whole day, as well as someone who is always willing to share his passion and experiences for agile marketing.

Rohn Jay, the digital marketing agency guy, able to describe how agile marketing can be implemented by an agency working with a client, and give the perspective of how the nuances of agile marketing work for the client/agency relationship.

Lastly, Nick, the agile evangelist for Atlassian, steeped in agile development, Nick recently moved to the US from Atlassian’s home base of Australia and now works more in a marketing role as the agile evangelist, he is translating agile development into agile marketing, as well as learning the ropes in marketing.

What can I say, the questions were good, and the panel did a great job.

Agile Marketing Peer to Peer Sharing Session

I moderated this session. The idea was to encourage participants to answer questions that I pitched to the audience and start a discussion from there. We started off by everyone introducing themselves, and we had a good diversity of backgrounds, small start-ups, large companies, agencies.

For me I thought we had a bit of a slow start to the session, but once we had people talking back and forth with each other, asking questions of one another, following up on points we had some really good insights. I especially thought the discussion on client/agency/vendor relationships was helpful, and the discussion around what people new to agile marketing needed, and wanted from the session an important theme.

It was interesting to hear some of the stories from marketers about why they were here at the event. For example, Anita Singha, Channel Marketing Manager, Pacific Gas and Electric and how she hoped agile marketing would help her company manage increasing complexity. And, Mark Doerschlag, SEO Strategist,, a Thomson Reuters Business, who was looking to agile marketing to address some particular issues with his company's business.

Again, some of the most interesting perspectives about the use of agile marketing came from how brand marketers work with agencies and vendors, especially on the issue of managing contracts and incentives.

Agile Marketing Peer to Peer Workshop

During this peer to peer collaborative session we reviewed the existing published ideas for the operating principles of agile marketing. Very similar to the 2001 agile development collaboration weekend at a ski lodge in Utah, involving 17 developers hashing out the principles of agile development.

We had put together a preliminary list of Agile Marketing Values from Travis Arnold's blog post and online discussion, and during lunch we will put 3M sheets on the room windows, so that when everyone came back from lunch, they were up on the walls. 

Initially we had some push back and constructive criticism of the method we were using to manage this collaboration session by Jack Skeels, CEO, AgencyAgile.

Jack made the point that the original agile developers in the Utah ski lodge had more time to spend on the principles and values, we only had an hour and forty five minutes, so there would not be enough time to carefully think through every agile marketing value and principle. And as a result, Jack suggested the rest of the group would be reluctant to put their name to the resulting values and principles. We decided we’d proceed anyway, but when and if we publish our resulting list, we’d state that the list was developed as a snapshot and there was more work to be done.

Then, we read through the agile marketing values, inviting people to ask for clarifications, discuss, and critique. Interestingly, the read through took the most time, because we had an excellent back and forth discussion on the value’s meaning, and whether individual values duplicated others on the list. We asked if participants if they had any other suggestions besides the existing list, several more values were added to the list.

We then took a preliminary "vote" with people putting 5 dot stickers on the agile marketing values that they thought should be included in the top agile marketing values list. We then whittled down the list of values to 7, but we did not have time to consider the principles. We are going to come back to the group with a proposal about next steps.

During the rest of the day’s session, I was thinking we should also think about why there’s a need for agile marketing in today’s marketplace, as that context may help more marketers to understand the value of agile marketing, as well as the values and principles providing a contrast between how marketing is managed operationally without agile marketing today, and how agile marketing can be conducted in the future.

Future of Agile Marketing

Wayne Kernochan, industry IT analyst, gave a presentation on history of the agile development movement, and what agile marketers can learn from the developers as we think about the future of agile marketing.

We gathered future ideas from the participants, and Jim Ewel wrote up the list. Our role as a group is to encourage individual initiative, rather direct all of the projects. As an organizing team we can help with support and we suggested to those assembled, especially those marketers just getting started, if you help out on the project, this can be your first use of agile marketing.

An agile marketing cook book, or play book drew the most enthusiasm, and I think really hit a nerve with the participants, both the existing practicing agile marketers and the marketers new to agile marketing. People wanted the cook book to provide case studies, or recipes, by persona.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I thought we had a successful day, and I want to thank everyone who participated!

30-40 people attended, participants included, agile marketing executives and newbies. We had some great insights both in terms of lessons from fellow marketers and collaboration on the agile marketing values, and the future of agile marketing. The team will debrief and think about what we can publish, and then ask for advice and input from the group before we do, we'll probably use the Agile Marketing Facebook group and direct emails to connect back with the participants.

My special thanks to Mindjet for their generosity in hosting SprintZero. Including; Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Parker Trewin, Nicolette Androski, Nathan and Deborah Morales.

Thanks to the panelists - Rohn Jay Miller, Nick Muldoon and our last speaker of the day - Wayne Kernochan.

A big thanks to Jim Ewel for doing such an excellent job in the 101 introduction session, panel moderation and his work during the rest of the day, and to Travis Arnold for putting together the manifestos. Lastly, thanks to all who attended, shared insights, asked questions, gave helpful critique, and wrote up and pinned the 3M sheets!