Roundup: Agile Marketing Manifestos


I’ve been reading through various agile marketing manifestos in preparation for SprintZero, the first conference for agile marketing practitioners with the goal being to compile the values and principles that will serve as the initial framework of agile marketing.

After reading through them all I came up with a simple breakdown that I feel embodies what Agile Marketing is all about.

Agile Marketing is…

  • Transparent
  • Sustainable
  • Interactive
  • Measured
  • Iterative
  • Relevant

While this is a very terse way to display possible values, as Jim Ewel points out, it does beg for some completeness. In a SprintZero planning discussion Jim made some great points. I’ve included some of those below:

May 10 at 9:58am

The developers published two parts to their manifesto: a set of values (we value A over B) and a set of principles. Scott, Neil and PJ riffed off of the set of values; Miguel, Greg and to some extent Wayne worked off the principles. I think the first decision we need to make, as a group, is whether to have both.

Comprehensiveness argues for both; simplicity argues for just one. My personal take is that we begin with the values, and see if we can get agreement on those, and then if we have time, we also try to get agreement on the principles.

The second decision we need to make is whether we choose single word descriptors (as you’ve done) for the values, or we choose pairs in opposition (as the developers of the original agile development manifesto did).

Measurement over opinion
Authenticity over posturing
Sustainable pace over burnout
Responding to change over following a plan
Many small experiments over a few large bets
Two-way conversations over one-way interruptions (or to put it another way, Engagement over shilling)
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Although I like the simplicity of the single word approach, I think it begs for explanation. The value of the pairs in opposition is that I can immediately grasp that one approach is valued over the other.

Whatever the end result, it’s going to be a fun process and it gives me a chance to talk with some smart people in the marketing world and other agile marketing folks. Again, if you’re practicing agile marketing or would like to learn what it’s all about, I encourage you to attend SprintZero on June 11th in San Francisco.

Below you’ll find a good group of posts outlining some values and principles their authors feel are relevant to agile marketing.

Miguel Tam’s Manifesto for agile marketing – March 16, 2010
link to original
Miguel breaks down the original Agile (development) Manifesto and updates it with marketing language. It’s fairly straightforward and leans on the principles that development uses to build software.

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable deliverables and campaigns.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in production. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Sales people and marketers must work together daily.
  5. Build strategy, campaigns and deliverables around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a marketing team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. “Good-enough” collateral and copy is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable marketing strategies and campaigns. The company executives, marketers, and salespeople should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
  11. The best strategy, content, campaigns and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

My notes:
While I feel some of these are on the money, I also feel some are not. Working with sales in particular sends you down a slippery slope b/c you’re doing what THEY want rather than solving a customer problem. Also, “good enough” collateral doesn’t ring true to me. In some instances you have 1 chance to make an impression on a buyer and “good-enough” shouldn’t be a option. The collateral should be swift, but produced with quality IMO.

Scott Brinker’s Ideas for an agile marketing manifesto – March 24, 2010
link to original
Scott pulls out what he feels are the most applicable ideals from the original manifesto and adds four of his own. His post was to act as a starting point for building an Agile Marketing manifesto.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Responding to change over following a plan
  3. Intimate customer tribes over impersonal mass markets
  4. Testing and data over opinions and conventions
  5. Numerous small experiments over a few large bets
  6. Engagement and transparency over official posturing

My notes:
I like Scott’s list b/c it’s simple and puts fairly good buckets around the day-to-day of an agile marketer. Transparency is key and helps with inside-out strategies around campaigns and launches.

Neil Perkin’s Agile Marketing – October 18, 2010
link to original
Neil takes a look at why agile marketing makes sense in today’s business environments. A main point is that consumers (& businesses) digest products, services & communication faster than ever, so staying aligned and fluid helps deliver relevant materials to buyers.

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  2. Working outputs over comprehensive inputs
  3. Collaboration over contracts and hierarchy
  4. Responding to change over following a plan

My notes:
Neil has really great examples to back up each point. Again, we see Individuals and interactions make the list. I feel that the inclusion of team members helps distribute ownership across the team.

PJ Srivastava’s The Agile Marketing Manifesto – January 31, 2011
link to original
PJ comes at the list from a more development angle. His list is similar to what we’ve seen and he gives good examples and insight into each point along with spirited commentary.

  1. Collaboration over Silos and Hierarchy
  2. Strategy Implementation over Strategy Planning
  3. Smaller, More Frequent Deployments over Lengthy, Major Launches
  4. Testing and Measurement over Expert Opinion
  5. Authenticity over Image
  6. Execution as Competitive Advantage

My notes:
Strategy implementation over strategy planning – another way of saying doing over thinking. Execution is vital to agile, with rapid but thorough execution being best.

Greg Meyer’s Ready, Fire, Aim – A Manifesto for Agile Marketing – October 15, 2011
link to original
Greg looks at the original 12 agile development principles with the position that an agile marketing framework would help to align development’s output with business goals in a responsive manner. He sticks to 12 principles in his own interpretation of the agile marketing manifesto and restates some what we’ve seen in previous posts.

  1. Build customer satisfaction and gain market acceptance by rapidly delivering solutions that customers ask for and need
  2. Build your marketing plan to acknowledge ambiguous and changing deliverables, even late in development
  3. Marketing frequently shipped software requires the problems it solves to remain similar
  4. Software that solves actual customer needs is the principal measure of marketing progress
  5. Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline – Always Build Content
  6. Maintain close, daily cooperation between businesspeople and developers
  7. Use the right tool for the right job, favoring in-person communication where possible
  8. Plan for everyone to get it right 98% of the time, and double-check the important stuff
  9. It’s your Job – be good at it
  10. Keep the marketing simple, stupid
  11. “Spot it, Got it” – Begin with the answer in mind
  12. When in doubt, punt rather than wait

My notes:
I particularly like #3 in Greg’s post. Buyer problems are the crux of creation for marketing and development. If you’re off the mark on a product dev side and on the mark on a marketing side, then you’ll have misalignment in the brand. This is where marketing and product development work together and help each other define key buyer personas. Both share a responsibility in delivering to a group of shared individuals so working together is imperative.

Wayne Kernochan’s A Draft Agile Business Manifesto (& Agile Marketing Manifesto) – April 12, 2012
link to original
Wayne approaches his agile marketing model from an agile business perspective first. He sees agile marketing as the business arm most responsible for fitting new products into a long-term business strategy, essentially acting as a CEO of sorts.

  1. Agile principle 1 (fast, effective change goal): The successful thrive; the agile survive. In the long run, survive beats thrive.
  2. Agile principle 2 (coopetition): What tries to kill us and fails makes us weaker and more agile – and that’s good.
  3. Agile principle 3: Greed is bad. Customer-coordinated change is good.
  4. Agile principle 4: If you don’t know who you will meet, you don’t know where you’re going.
  5. Agile principle 5: People buy learning

My notes:
Wayne takes a different approach and talks about creating an agile business, with a shout-out to marketing for coordination and production. Like all agile philosophies, Wayne targets customer interaction and feedback as the root of products, services and campaigns.

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