“Building and leading an agile marketing organization is not just about changing the way marketing teams are organized. It’s about adopting new principles derived from the agile development methodology. Agile requires education and knowledge to execute. Those of us experienced in it’s application, study the process our entire careers. The cheaters are simply scratching the surface to get on the bandwagon.”
Agile is Becoming the Next “Paradigm”
About 10 years ago I remember the word “paradigm” was the hottest trend in describing change and innovation at the pivotal point of breakthrough. In nearly every conversation, it felt like the word had to be tossed out somewhere. I believe the word “agile” is starting to become the next buzzword. A catch-all generic term used to describe something that is flexible and efficient.
What Agile Really Means
To those of us who are believers in the agile methodology, agile is more than a generic term-it is simply a way of life. The agile methodology was the brainchild of a few software gurus who realized they couldn’t keep innovating when their processes were holding them back and slowing them down. Building software products needed a more flexible and iterative process to keep pace.
Agile was created to shift development from the waterfall approach to something that centered on a minimum viable product. In non-techie speak, it means the most basic of the product that is functioning as expected. By not releasing perfect products, the software industry could instead sell functioning solutions and test them with real users. They could add feature functionality to the core product without slowing down speed-to-market, and it was revolutionary.
Traditional Firms Aren’t Set Up for Agile
The current marketing model is broken. It’s a dinosaur centered on marketing methodologies from the 1960’s. Frankly, it just can’t keep up with how fast business has to move today.
Too many people are still touching and shuffling projects from team-to-team and person-to-person. The industry still uses large creative concepting meetings to create ideas. The approach centers on creativity that recreates the wheel for every new campaign. Firms dictate when projects are delivered and focus on their creative prowess as their key differentiator. The process is expensive, inefficient, and stalls responsiveness. Marketing agencies “definition of done” centers on a creative director–who releases projects when they are perfectly executed from his/her perspective.
A marketing team who has operated in this model is not likely going to be able to adopt the fast-paced philosophy of agile overnight. Agile in this environment would be a complete rewiring of inherited processes that are comfortable and routine. That’s why how-to guides for becoming agile in a few steps are ludicrous.
Those of us who are true agile marketers (note the reference), are students of agile. We are constantly learning, mentoring and training to be thought leaders and disruptors. We are adopters of a brand new way to market. We apply modern approaches that turn the current model upside down. We are an entirely new breed of marketer. One that is technically savvy, quick to respond, and can meet the demands of companies with immediate go-to-market needs.
About the Author
Carrie Messinger started her first agile marketing team in 2014 and has devoted the last four years to vetting out processes. She established True Agile Marketing to bring agile to the forefront of marketing and disrupt today’s archaic marketing model.
There’s a gap in marketing.
It’s time for the industry to evolve.
I remember the day I was sitting in my office at the SaaS startup and realized, “Wow, the marketing world just doesn’t get it. My peers just don’t understand this market or how fast it moves. They are slow to respond, slow to do just about everything.” Then it hit me.
Marketers were stuck. Stuck in the same marketing model that the industry has been using since the invention of the first television–but our world had dramatically changed. In my “ah-ha” moment of clarity, I realized there was a gap in the industry that needed to be addressed and I suddenly felt like I was the only one awake in a world that was in a deep sleep.
I worked in several positions that challenged me and gave me some opportunity to test some of my initial theories. When those positions ended, I realized I was on the right track. . .but exhausted. I regrouped. Connected with others who shared my fire. We shared ideas, dreamed about better methods, and a day when marketing looked nothing like it does today.
Fast forward to this moment, this exact day. As I sit here writing this, I realize in retrospect everything that has happened in my career has lead to this moment. My love for the web in the early 90s, my role with Gateway in the 2000s, the people I’ve met, working in a SaaS company, testing agile principles with the marketing teams I have overseen, building scrum and agile marketing capabilities–it’s all culminated here.
As True Agile Marketing is coming to life, there is still so much work to do. My hope is your journey is just begging with us. As a fellow marketing manager myself, I’ve been in your shoes. I know that “deer in the headlights” feeling you’re experiencing right now. I believe you have come to the right place. You’ve come to find answers. You’re here to explore the possibility of something different that is better than what you’ve known. You’re here because you believe there is a better way. It’s a belief we both share.
As we build out our site and business, we know you will have a lot of questions. If there is anything I can answer for you–message me. I’d be happy to bring you into the fold of agile marketing and the philosophy we’re building for our business.
As I finish this cool cup of coffee (which is common these days), I’m feeling anxious. Like I’m about to step off the ledge or ride a roller coaster from the highest peak. I’m excited, terrified, and relieved all at the same time. I feel butterflies and this precipice has given birth to something unique and exciting.
Welcome to the journey and fasten your seatbelt.
Carrie Messinger, Founder