Have we entered a post-agile marketing age?

ByKristen Amber

Jun 1, 2022 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Agile Marketing Activities

Catching up on my backlog of data and topics from prior to #MartechDay before this thirty day period — which highlighted the 2022 advertising and marketing technologies landscape and the 2022 Stackies — the top of my listing is the most recent Condition of Agile Advertising report from AgileSherpas.

As generally, this is a great, thorough report on how and why agile methodologies are becoming utilised in marketing. You can see from the chart over that agile has identified its way into a vast assortment of marketing and advertising pursuits: marketing and advertising functions, inventive products and services, web-site operations, social media, advertising and marketing, and so forth.

It is even currently being applied (30%) in gatherings marketing and advertising, which has lengthy been the go-to case in point for skeptics: “Oh, agile could in no way get the job done for situations.” (To be truthful, in a virtual/hybrid event entire world, the pacing and adaptability of functions internet marketing has enhanced substantially.)

But unlike past year, when 51% of participants claimed using agile internet marketing, this time only 43% did. Which is near to the 42% from 2020. Is agile marketing backsliding?

Of program, the most obvious disclaimer is the survey sample. Even with 513 marketers collaborating in this most up-to-date study, it’s however a really small subset of the varied internet marketing universe and no question subject matter to the ebbs and flows of range bias.

But even now. Just after approximately 15 yrs of advocacy for agile marketing, the momentum of this motion seems… stalled?

Agile marketing and advertising concepts, methods & labels

The concepts of agile marketing, however, seem to be to be universally recognized as gospel fact these days. I can not feel of a single marketer I have satisfied in the earlier a number of many years who has not embraced the values of adaptability, finding out from experimentation, iterative advancement, cross-crew collaboration, greater visibility into get the job done-in-flight, group empowerment, etc.

Internet marketing has become an agile job. Comprehensive halt.

Agile Marketing Practices

Typical agile techniques — this sort of as sprints, every day standups, kanban boards, etc. — also seem to be to have proliferated broadly. Even though in lots of instances, they’ve morphed from their unique sort. We’ll appear back to that in a moment, as I assume it is the twist of put up-agile.

But the labels? Not so considerably. I incredibly almost never hear the terms dash, standup, or kanban in internet marketing discussions. Even “agile marketing” as a phrase occurs fewer often than it seemed a pair of several years ago.

Agile marketing and advertising vs. agile advancement tendencies

A pair of charts from Google Traits help illustrate what is occurring here. Very first, let’s just seem at the growth of the look for time period “agile marketing”:

Google Trends: Agile Marketing

The chart reveals relative lookup volume for this phrase more than the earlier 18 a long time. You can see that it peaked all around 2017. (A calendar year right after the release of Hacking Promoting. Coincidence?) Considering the fact that then, it is had fluctations up and down. But it largely hit a ceiling.

To get a better perception of how a lot complete lookup volume there is for agile marketing, you require to look at it against another craze. So let’s compare it towards its progenitor, “agile development”:

Google Trends: Agile Marketing vs. Agile Development

Two points pop appropriate out. Initially, agile promoting has realized only a tiny portion of the mindshare that agile advancement ever did. Next, curiosity in agile development has steadily declined because 2010. It’s about 1/4 of the volume it was at its peak.

What transpired in 2010? The rise of DevOps.

Google Trends: Agile Development vs. DevOps

In truth, DevOps turned the big that stood on the shoulders of agile advancement. Its attractiveness has dwarfed agile development, even from its heyday. And in contrast to people two, agile advertising and marketing would scarcely even register on the scale.

But it’s critical to observe that DevOps arose from Agile. To quote its Wikipedia write-up:

“Agile growth teams… couldn’t ‘satisfy the purchaser through early and steady shipping of important software’ except if they subsumed the functions / infrastructure obligations involved with their apps, many of which they automatic.”

DevOps “aims to shorten the devices advancement lifecycle and give constant supply with substantial computer software excellent.” What is continual integration/constant deployment (CI/CD) if not the supreme system for offering iterative application enhancement?

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

The plummeting prices of “shipping” in the cloud

To be obvious, DevOps is not an agile administration methodology. It is not even an “ops” workforce (in most circumstances) like other ops functions, these as advertising ops. Somewhat, it’s a established of techniques, processes, and know-how that developers use to ship application immediately, iteratively, and securely. It leverages a ton of automation and instrumentation.

DevOps optimizes setting up and deploying software, but choosing what to establish and when nevertheless demands to happen at a stage earlier mentioned that. In concept, agile growth methodologies this sort of as Scrum can provide the framework for those decisions. But most dev groups I know really do not explicitly use all those methodologies any more. Most have invented their personal system, pulling ideas from agile methodologies and adapting them and leveraging dev task management equipment these types of as Jira.

My choose: DevOps — and a lot more broadly, the cloud — has considerably lessened the charges of iteratively creating computer software. Again in the times when agile methodologies these types of as Scrum have been developed, the fees and complexities of delivery had been a lot greater. The rigid composition of Scrum was an effective and required way to handle that. Now in a superior DevOps environment? Not as needed?

That’s not to say that system, organizing, roadmaps, prioritization, and all the coordination and collaboration demanded all over them aren’t essential. They’re as very important to accomplishment as ever. But the rigidity of Scrum in translating that into iterative release cycles? Not as important?

(Let the flames from ardent agile advocates commence.)

Is there a DevOps equal in advertising?

Internet marketing ops is a different sort of creature that DevOps. For a person, it is a role/group within the marketing and advertising org, instead than a observe/method that all marketers use.

Yet there is some shared DNA. In lots of techniques, promoting ops groups purpose as a DevOps-like enabler for marketers to be capable to “ship” internet marketing immediately, iteratively, and securely. Internet marketing ops manages the tech stack and processes to permit that — through a ton of automation and instrumentation.

However with the increase of a lot more and extra no-code abilities across martech, promoting ops is also empowering entrepreneurs with extra and extra self-support abilities. Just as application deployment ops obtained “shifted left” (i.e., moved upstream) into much more developers’ fingers with DevOps, far more abilities to execute marketing — the two inner and exterior advertising and marketing “deployments” — are remaining shifted into the hands of typical marketers.

I don’t know that there is a identify for this phenomenon. It is a form of democratization of sure aspects of advertising and marketing ops. (Ideally underneath the steering, governance, and guardrails of the expert promoting ops staff.) But it is ever more analogous to DevOps. Additional people today can ship additional internet marketing, rapidly, conveniently, and securely.

Just as with computer software, approach, arranging, roadmaps, prioritization, workforce coordination and collaboration are essential to efficiently harness this dispersed electric power of development. But just as in the same way, the costs in deploying most forms of marketing have dropped substantially over the past ten years. This has designed much more slack in the promoting generation method, which has made rigid agile marketing and advertising methodologies… not as essential?

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

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

Speaking of slack, or, um, Slack, the previous 10 several years has also brought an explosion of innovation in do the job communications and collaboration products. For instance, Slack and Microsoft Groups have turn into ubiquitous — alongside with a entire ecosystem of applications that extend and integrate with them. A new generation of operate management platforms, such as Asana, ClickUp, Monday.com, and (for marketers) Workfront, give better structure and visibility into elaborate, quickly-going priorities, tasks, and workflows.

Growth in Management Category of Martech Landscape, 2020-2022

Without a doubt, the Administration class of the martech landscape had the most significant percentage progress from 2020 to 2022.

These equipment have had a sizeable effect on how get the job done will get carried out. Many of them embed or allow agile (lowercase “a”) practices. Practically none of them use the terminology of agile advertising methodologies. But the essence of agile is there: transparency, prioritization, accountability, operate-in-development management, identification of blockers and bottlenecks.

In the meantime, I’d say that Slack and Teams — accelerated by the Excellent Migration to Distant Function — have correctly killed changed the every day stand-up for most groups.

But it is not that the fundamental basic principle of stand-ups has gone absent. On the opposite, these team communications platforms frequently make it simpler for groups to remain connected in the course of the working day in a relatively reduced-effects method. Problems that arise can be addressed quicker than waiting for the upcoming stand-up in a set time window that increasingly fails to align with the schedules of distributed team users.

Hey, I’m continue to a substantial supporter of in-individual collaboration, and I concur anything is misplaced with out it. But other issues are gained. And for greater and worse, distant and hybrid groups are the new regular. In this brave new earth, Slack and Groups are a improved in shape than every day stand-ups for several.

And it’s not just technological know-how. Management approaches that I believe of as “point solutions” for precise requires — in distinction to a full suite of practices, as with formal agile marketing and advertising — have been popularized for superior cross-practical collaboration (e.g., pods outdoors the context of official agile) and multi-bash decision-generating (e.g., DARCI designs).

The internet effect? Internet marketing teams are getting to be far more and far more agile.

They just never essentially think of their methods as formal “agile internet marketing.”

From agile advertising to… marketing and advertising?

Whatever took place to electronic marketing and advertising? It turned advertising.

Not for the reason that marketing became fewer electronic. Very the opposite. Digital became so embedded in anything marketers ended up accomplishing that the label of the profession reverted to the mean: marketing and advertising. I’d connect with that a victory for the electronic advertising motion, not defeat.

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

Maybe “agile marketing” will restart its advancement as an explicit movement. Or probably it will be changed by some freshly named methodology that is closer to what DevOps has turn out to be in the program advancement profession. Or perhaps is just gets implicit in how fashionable advertising and marketing teams run.

Agile is as agile does.

Regardless, I continue to believe there is a enormous chance for educating promoting groups how to ideal harness all these platforms, methods, and procedures. There’s never ever been much more demand from customers for encouraging promoting groups obtain peak effectiveness by good education, enablement, consulting, and advisory expert services in today’s surroundings.

Does the identify we get in touch with it actually issue?

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