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Delving Into Agile Marketing Manifestos, Adoption & Origins

Nick Muldoon wrote a great blog post on his thoughts about the SprintZero: Physics of agile marketing June event in San Francisco. I was going to write a comment on Nick's blog, in answer to several points he raised, but as my comment expanded so much I thought I’d write a post.

Why Agile Marketing Manifestos?

Here goes.  Nick, I'm not entirely sure why other departments are adopting agile practices without having to think about a new manifesto for their own discipline.

If we look at the agile manifesto:

  1.    Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2.    Working software over comprehensive documentation
  3.    Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  4.    Responding to change over following a plan

Quickly we see one of those values isn't exactly as relevant for marketers, “Working software over comprehensive documentation”, at the very least we might say, “working product."

Some other ideas as to why marketers feel the need to develop a manifesto, and why this idea of developing an agile manifesto comes from the culture of the agile marketing community, include:

  •  Marketers are used to the idea of creating manifestos. The cluetrain manifesto influenced a lot of PR people, and eventually marketers. We liked the idea of the agile manifesto, but it doesn't feel like marketers own it yet. We wanted something of our own.
  • There's a tradition in marketing of coining marketing terms; to help explain something new marketers create a new term, and quickly start explaining how the concept works and is different.
  •  Many of the pioneers in agile marketing were bloggers or consultants; it makes sense for them to publish the new agile marketing manifesto. It helps promote their thought leadership. We've seen a number of agile marketing manifestos published over the last 3 years. Our conversation about the agile marketing manifesto in San Franscisco was to some extent an attempt to bring together those existing published manifestos. Travis Arnold, Director of Marketing at SendOuts wrote a great round up of the existing agile marketing manifestos for SprintZero.
  •  There are some differences between agile marketing and agile development. We believe there are a different set of dependencies for marketing than in development, mainly because development deals with innovation, and marketing deals, well, with marketing.

 Marketers Missing The Boat

On your point about product teams turning into customer teams, and marketers missing the boat. I wonder if it’s simply a matter of product people not wanting to eventually work on the marketing stuff. Once a company gains enough traction and revenue, they are going to think about hiring marketers. So rather than marketing being left out of the decision marketing process, those new marketers may not incorporate lean and agile into their thinking, but still have the control over the marketing budgets and resources. We need adoption of agile marketing to close the loop between lean, and agile development.

Embedding Marketers In Agile Teams

Marketing people are embedded in product development teams. Many agile marketers today adopted the agile practice, after working with agile development teams, and thought about how to apply agile development to marketing.

Marketing Definition

By the way, I always preferred the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s definition of marketing, and not just because I’m from the UK originally, and even though I am an American-British Marketer! I always liked the fact the word profit was in the definition, and I think the definition is easier to remember than the AMA's.

 “The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.”