Catching up on my backlog of facts and topics from before #MartechDay before this month — which highlighted the 2022 marketing technological know-how landscape and the 2022 Stackies — the major of my record is the most recent Point out of Agile Marketing and advertising report from AgileSherpas.
As generally, this is a great, complete report on how and why agile methodologies are getting applied in marketing and advertising. You can see from the chart over that agile has identified its way into a wide assortment of internet marketing pursuits: promoting operations, imaginative solutions, web page functions, social media, promoting, etc.
It’s even remaining applied (30%) in events advertising and marketing, which has extensive been the go-to illustration for skeptics: “Oh, agile could in no way perform for activities.” (To be truthful, in a virtual/hybrid occasion environment, the pacing and adaptability of functions marketing and advertising has greater considerably.)
But unlike very last calendar year, when 51% of individuals documented using agile marketing, this time only 43% did. Which is close to the 42% from 2020. Is agile marketing backsliding?
Of study course, the most clear disclaimer is the study sample. Even with 513 entrepreneurs participating in this newest study, it is however a really smaller subset of the diverse promoting universe and no question matter to the ebbs and flows of assortment bias.
But still. Following just about 15 many years of advocacy for agile promoting, the momentum of this motion seems… stalled?
Agile promoting rules, procedures & labels
The concepts of agile advertising, on the other hand, seem to be universally recognized as gospel truth of the matter these times. I can’t feel of a solitary marketer I’ve achieved in the previous a number of several years who hasn’t embraced the values of adaptability, learning from experimentation, iterative enhancement, cross-team collaboration, higher visibility into perform-in-flight, team empowerment, and so forth.
Marketing has develop into an agile profession. Comprehensive prevent.
Vintage agile procedures — this kind of as sprints, every day standups, kanban boards, etc. — also feel to have proliferated broadly. While in a lot of conditions, they’ve morphed from their primary form. We’ll appear back again to that in a moment, as I feel it’s the twist of publish-agile.
But the labels? Not so substantially. I extremely not often hear the phrases dash, standup, or kanban in promoting discussions. Even “agile marketing” as a phrase arises a lot less routinely than it appeared a couple of a long time ago.
Agile advertising and marketing vs. agile improvement tendencies
A pair of charts from Google Tendencies aid illustrate what is occurring below. Initial, let us just appear at the progress of the search expression “agile marketing”:
The chart shows relative lookup quantity for this phrase above the previous 18 a long time. You can see that it peaked all around 2017. (A calendar year immediately after the launch of Hacking Marketing. Coincidence?) Given that then, it’s experienced fluctations up and down. But it largely strike a ceiling.
To get a greater feeling of how considerably complete look for volume there is for agile marketing, you require to review it against yet another trend. So let us examine it from its progenitor, “agile development”:
Two factors pop appropriate out. To start with, agile marketing has reached only a tiny portion of the mindshare that agile advancement at any time did. Next, curiosity in agile development has steadily declined given that 2010. It is all around 1/4 of the quantity it was at its peak.
What transpired in 2010? The rise of DevOps.
In truth, DevOps grew to become the large that stood on the shoulders of agile advancement. Its popularity has dwarfed agile development, even from its heyday. And as opposed to those people two, agile marketing and advertising would hardly even sign up on the scale.
But it is important to take note that DevOps arose from Agile. To estimate its Wikipedia report:
“Agile advancement teams… couldn’t ‘satisfy the purchaser by way of early and constant shipping of useful software’ until they subsumed the functions / infrastructure responsibilities linked with their apps, quite a few of which they automated.”
DevOps “aims to shorten the systems improvement lifecycle and deliver continual delivery with substantial software high quality.” What is constant integration/ongoing deployment (CI/CD) if not the final mechanism for providing iterative program advancement?
As Forrest Gump may well say, “Agile is as agile does.”
The plummeting expenditures of “shipping” in the cloud
To be clear, DevOps is not an agile administration methodology. It is not even an “ops” staff (in most situations) like other ops functions, these kinds of as advertising and marketing ops. Instead, it is a set of procedures, processes, and engineering that developers use to ship computer software swiftly, iteratively, and safely and securely. It leverages a ton of automation and instrumentation.
DevOps optimizes creating and deploying program, but selecting what to construct and when even now demands to materialize at a level previously mentioned that. In concept, agile enhancement methodologies these types of as Scrum can present the framework for those people choices. But most dev teams I know really don’t explicitly use these methodologies any longer. Most have invented their possess procedure, pulling ideas from agile methodologies and adapting them and leveraging dev venture management resources these as Jira.
My acquire: DevOps — and a lot more broadly, the cloud — has radically decreased the charges of iteratively creating software program. Back again in the days when agile methodologies this kind of as Scrum ended up established, the charges and complexities of shipping and delivery had been much greater. The rigid structure of Scrum was an productive and required way to control that. Now in a great DevOps environment? Not as important?
That’s not to say that strategy, planning, roadmaps, prioritization, and all the coordination and collaboration needed about them are not needed. They’re as critical to success as ever. But the rigidity of Scrum in translating that into iterative launch cycles? Not as required?
(Permit the flames from ardent agile advocates begin.)
Is there a DevOps equal in marketing?
Advertising ops is a various sort of creature that DevOps. For one, it is a part/staff inside the promoting org, instead than a follow/method that all marketers use.
But there is some shared DNA. In quite a few means, marketing ops teams perform as a DevOps-like enabler for marketers to be able to “ship” advertising and marketing swiftly, iteratively, and properly. Promoting ops manages the tech stack and procedures to allow that — through a ton of automation and instrumentation.
Nevertheless with the increase of a lot more and more no-code abilities throughout martech, marketing ops is also empowering marketers with extra and extra self-assistance capabilities. Just as software package deployment ops obtained “shifted left” (i.e., moved upstream) into a lot more developers’ fingers with DevOps, a lot more abilities to execute marketing and advertising — both internal and external marketing “deployments” — are currently being shifted into the fingers of general entrepreneurs.
I never know that there is a identify for this phenomenon. It is a form of democratization of selected sides of advertising ops. (Ideally underneath the guidance, governance, and guardrails of the specialist marketing and advertising ops team.) But it is significantly analogous to DevOps. Extra folks can ship far more advertising and marketing, speedily, very easily, and safely and securely.
Just as with program, system, scheduling, roadmaps, prioritization, team coordination and collaboration are important to correctly harness this distributed electrical power of generation. But just as similarly, the charges in deploying most sorts of advertising and marketing have dropped radically more than the earlier ten years. This has established a lot more slack in the marketing and advertising output method, which has designed rigid agile marketing and advertising methodologies… not as necessary?
(Truthfully posed as a issue, not a declaration.)
New agile methods: Pods, DARCIs, Slack, “Work OS”
Speaking of slack, or, um, Slack, the previous 10 years has also introduced an explosion of innovation in function communications and collaboration items. For occasion, Slack and Microsoft Teams have develop into ubiquitous — along with a total ecosystem of applications that increase and combine with them. A new generation of get the job done administration platforms, this sort of as Asana, ClickUp, Monday.com, and (for entrepreneurs) Workfront, provide better structure and visibility into elaborate, rapidly-relocating priorities, tasks, and workflows.
In fact, the Management class of the martech landscape had the premier share progress from 2020 to 2022.
These applications have experienced a substantial effects on how operate will get performed. Many of them embed or empower agile (lowercase “a”) techniques. Almost none of them use the terminology of agile marketing and advertising methodologies. But the essence of agile is there: transparency, prioritization, accountability, work-in-development management, identification of blockers and bottlenecks.
In the meantime, I’d say that Slack and Teams — accelerated by the Good Migration to Remote Work — have successfully
killed changed the daily stand-up for most groups.
But it’s not that the fundamental basic principle of stand-ups has long gone absent. On the contrary, these workforce communications platforms commonly make it simpler for groups to stay connected all through the day in a comparatively low-affect way. Problems that arise can be addressed more quickly than waiting around for the following stand-up in a fixed time window that progressively fails to align with the schedules of distributed group customers.
Hey, I’m even now a massive admirer of in-individual collaboration, and I concur some thing is misplaced without the need of it. But other items are gained. And for far better and even worse, remote and hybrid teams are the new usual. In this brave new world, Slack and Teams are a improved suit than day-to-day stand-ups for many.
And it’s not just technological know-how. Management solutions that I assume of as “point solutions” for particular demands — in distinction to a whole suite of tactics, as with formal agile promoting — have been popularized for better cross-practical collaboration (e.g., pods outside the house the context of official agile) and multi-occasion choice-creating (e.g., DARCI models).
The web effect? Advertising and marketing groups are turning out to be extra and a lot more agile.
They just don’t essentially imagine of their methods as formal “agile promoting.”
From agile marketing to… internet marketing?
Whatsoever happened to electronic marketing and advertising? It grew to become internet marketing.
Not because internet marketing grew to become significantly less electronic. Pretty the reverse. Digital turned so embedded in every thing marketers were being carrying out that the label of the career reverted to the imply: marketing and advertising. I’d simply call that a victory for the digital advertising and marketing motion, not defeat.
Similarly, is agile advertising and marketing simply becoming… promoting?
Probably “agile marketing” will restart its development as an explicit movement. Or perhaps it will be replaced by some recently named methodology that is closer to what DevOps has turn into in the software program progress career. Or it’s possible is just results in being implicit in how present day advertising groups run.
Agile is as agile does.
Regardless, I still believe there is a enormous chance for teaching marketing groups how to best harness all these platforms, procedures, and procedures. There is hardly ever been a lot more need for serving to marketing teams obtain peak general performance by fantastic teaching, enablement, consulting, and advisory services in today’s surroundings.
Does the identify we connect with it definitely subject?