Have we entered a post-agile marketing age?

ByLaquita Margaret

Jun 12, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Agile Marketing Activities

Catching up on my backlog of info and matters from just before #MartechDay earlier this month — which showcased the 2022 advertising and marketing technological innovation landscape and the 2022 Stackies — the top rated of my record is the most up-to-date Point out of Agile Marketing and advertising report from AgileSherpas.

As often, this is a terrific, thorough report on how and why agile methodologies are currently being utilized in promoting. You can see from the chart above that agile has discovered its way into a huge wide variety of marketing pursuits: advertising operations, creative providers, internet site functions, social media, advertising, etcetera.

It’s even becoming utilized (30%) in gatherings internet marketing, which has prolonged been the go-to example for skeptics: “Oh, agile could by no means get the job done for functions.” (To be good, in a digital/hybrid party environment, the pacing and adaptability of functions internet marketing has greater appreciably.)

But as opposed to last year, when 51% of individuals noted employing agile advertising, this time only 43% did. Which is near to the 42% from 2020. Is agile internet marketing backsliding?

Of class, the most apparent disclaimer is the survey sample. Even with 513 entrepreneurs collaborating in this hottest study, it’s still a very little subset of the assorted advertising universe and no question matter to the ebbs and flows of variety bias.

But still. Right after nearly 15 years of advocacy for agile advertising and marketing, the momentum of this movement seems… stalled?

Agile marketing principles, procedures & labels

The rules of agile promoting, having said that, appear to be universally acknowledged as gospel truth of the matter these days. I just can’t believe of a single marketer I have met in the earlier quite a few yrs who has not embraced the values of adaptability, mastering from experimentation, iterative advancement, cross-group collaboration, higher visibility into perform-in-flight, staff empowerment, and so forth.

Marketing and advertising has become an agile career. Complete stop.

Agile Marketing Practices

Traditional agile techniques — such as sprints, daily standups, kanban boards, and so forth. — also feel to have proliferated broadly. Although in numerous instances, they’ve morphed from their original variety. We’ll come again to that in a minute, as I consider it’s the twist of put up-agile.

But the labels? Not so substantially. I extremely almost never listen to the terms sprint, standup, or kanban in advertising and marketing conversations. Even “agile marketing” as a term occurs a lot less regularly than it seemed a few of decades back.

Agile marketing vs. agile growth traits

A couple of charts from Google Trends assist illustrate what is happening in this article. 1st, let’s just seem at the growth of the lookup time period “agile marketing”:

Google Trends: Agile Marketing

The chart displays relative lookup quantity for this term around the previous 18 decades. You can see that it peaked close to 2017. (A year right after the launch of Hacking Advertising. Coincidence?) Since then, it’s had fluctations up and down. But it mostly hit a ceiling.

To get a far better feeling of how considerably complete research quantity there is for agile promoting, you have to have to evaluate it versus a different pattern. So let us assess it from its progenitor, “agile development”:

Google Trends: Agile Marketing vs. Agile Development

Two matters pop right out. Initially, agile marketing has reached only a tiny fraction of the mindshare that agile advancement ever did. Next, desire in agile development has steadily declined considering that 2010. It is about 1/4 of the volume it was at its peak.

What took place in 2010? The increase of DevOps.

Google Trends: Agile Development vs. DevOps

Without a doubt, DevOps grew to become the large that stood on the shoulders of agile advancement. Its attractiveness has dwarfed agile progress, even from its heyday. And when compared to individuals two, agile advertising would hardly even register on the scale.

But it is critical to observe that DevOps arose from Agile. To quotation its Wikipedia short article:

“Agile enhancement teams… could not ‘satisfy the shopper as a result of early and steady delivery of beneficial software’ except they subsumed the functions / infrastructure duties related with their apps, several of which they automated.”

DevOps “aims to shorten the techniques progress lifecycle and deliver ongoing shipping with substantial software program good quality.” What is steady integration/constant deployment (CI/CD) if not the final system for offering iterative software package enhancement?

As Forrest Gump may say, “Agile is as agile does.”

The plummeting expenses of “shipping” in the cloud

To be distinct, DevOps is not an agile administration methodology. It is not even an “ops” team (in most instances) like other ops features, these as marketing ops. Alternatively, it’s a set of tactics, processes, and technological know-how that builders use to ship application immediately, iteratively, and properly. It leverages a ton of automation and instrumentation.

DevOps optimizes setting up and deploying program, but choosing what to establish and when even now desires to come about at a level earlier mentioned that. In principle, agile progress methodologies this kind of as Scrum can deliver the framework for those decisions. But most dev groups I know really don’t explicitly use people methodologies any more. Most have invented their possess course of action, pulling ideas from agile methodologies and adapting them and leveraging dev project management resources these as Jira.

My get: DevOps — and additional broadly, the cloud — has substantially reduced the fees of iteratively acquiring computer software. Back in the times when agile methodologies this sort of as Scrum were developed, the expenses and complexities of delivery have been significantly greater. The rigid framework of Scrum was an productive and essential way to control that. Currently in a excellent DevOps natural environment? Not as required?

Which is not to say that approach, preparing, roadmaps, prioritization, and all the coordination and collaboration needed all around them aren’t needed. They’re as critical to good results as at any time. But the rigidity of Scrum in translating that into iterative release cycles? Not as essential?

(Let the flames from ardent agile advocates commence.)

Is there a DevOps equivalent in marketing?

Advertising ops is a diverse type of creature that DevOps. For one, it is a position/staff within the promoting org, instead than a observe/approach that all marketers use.

Nonetheless there is some shared DNA. In numerous methods, internet marketing ops teams function as a DevOps-like enabler for marketers to be capable to “ship” marketing speedily, iteratively, and safely. Advertising ops manages the tech stack and procedures to allow that — through a ton of automation and instrumentation.

But with the rise of extra and additional no-code abilities across martech, marketing ops is also empowering entrepreneurs with far more and far more self-provider capabilities. Just as application deployment ops obtained “shifted left” (i.e., moved upstream) into additional developers’ arms with DevOps, additional abilities to execute marketing and advertising — the two interior and exterior advertising and marketing “deployments” — are getting shifted into the hands of general marketers.

I really don’t know that there is a title for this phenomenon. It’s a kind of democratization of specific sides of marketing ops. (Preferably less than the direction, governance, and guardrails of the expert advertising and marketing ops team.) But it is ever more analogous to DevOps. Extra persons can ship a lot more advertising and marketing, promptly, very easily, and safely.

Just as with computer software, approach, scheduling, roadmaps, prioritization, group coordination and collaboration are necessary to correctly harness this dispersed power of development. But just as in the same way, the expenses in deploying most types of internet marketing have dropped significantly over the earlier ten years. This has developed more slack in the advertising production course of action, which has manufactured rigid agile internet marketing methodologies… not as vital?

(Honestly posed as a problem, not a declaration.)

New agile methods: Pods, DARCIs, Slack, “Work OS”

Speaking of slack, or, um, Slack, the earlier 10 many years has also introduced an explosion of innovation in work communications and collaboration products and solutions. For instance, Slack and Microsoft Groups have become ubiquitous — alongside with a full ecosystem of applications that lengthen and integrate with them. A new generation of work administration platforms, this sort of as Asana, ClickUp, Monday.com, and (for marketers) Workfront, offer greater framework and visibility into complex, quick-transferring priorities, projects, and workflows.

Growth in Management Category of Martech Landscape, 2020-2022

Without a doubt, the Management group of the martech landscape experienced the most significant share progress from 2020 to 2022.

These equipment have experienced a important affect on how function will get done. Several of them embed or permit agile (lowercase “a”) practices. Practically none of them use the terminology of agile marketing methodologies. But the essence of agile is there: transparency, prioritization, accountability, function-in-development management, identification of blockers and bottlenecks.

In the meantime, I’d say that Slack and Groups — accelerated by the Excellent Migration to Distant Perform — have effectively killed changed the everyday stand-up for most teams.

But it’s not that the fundamental principle of stand-ups has absent away. On the contrary, these team communications platforms normally make it much easier for groups to remain related in the course of the day in a reasonably low-influence manner. Difficulties that come up can be tackled a lot quicker than waiting for the next stand-up in a set time window that more and more fails to align with the schedules of dispersed team members.

Hey, I’m nonetheless a large admirer of in-man or woman collaboration, and I concur anything is lost with no it. But other things are received. And for superior and worse, remote and hybrid groups are the new standard. In this brave new planet, Slack and Teams are a far better match than each day stand-ups for several.

And it’s not just know-how. Management procedures that I believe of as “point solutions” for certain desires — in distinction to a full suite of techniques, as with official agile promoting — have been popularized for superior cross-useful collaboration (e.g., pods exterior the context of official agile) and multi-party choice-making (e.g., DARCI designs).

The net influence? Promoting groups are starting to be extra and additional agile.

They just don’t essentially consider of their tactics as official “agile advertising and marketing.”

From agile internet marketing to… marketing?

Whatever took place to electronic internet marketing? It grew to become marketing.

Not since internet marketing became fewer electronic. Pretty the reverse. Electronic became so embedded in all the things marketers ended up undertaking that the label of the career reverted to the indicate: promoting. I’d contact that a victory for the digital promoting movement, not defeat.

Likewise, is agile marketing just becoming… marketing and advertising?

Maybe “agile marketing” will restart its expansion as an express movement. Or possibly it will be replaced by some newly named methodology that is nearer to what DevOps has turn into in the software package progress career. Or possibly is just will become implicit in how modern-day marketing and advertising teams operate.

Agile is as agile does.

No matter, I nevertheless consider there is a substantial prospect for training internet marketing teams how to greatest harness all these platforms, tactics, and processes. There’s under no circumstances been much more demand for supporting marketing teams attain peak overall performance by means of superior training, enablement, consulting, and advisory expert services in today’s natural environment.

Does the name we connect with it actually issue?

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