Agile Marketing Copycats

“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.

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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.