Have we entered a post-agile marketing age?


Agile Marketing Activities

Catching up on my backlog of facts and matters from ahead of #MartechDay before this month — which highlighted the 2022 promoting technological innovation landscape and the 2022 Stackies — the prime of my checklist is the hottest Point out of Agile Internet marketing report from AgileSherpas.

As generally, this is a wonderful, in depth report on how and why agile methodologies are currently being used in internet marketing. You can see from the chart earlier mentioned that agile has observed its way into a large selection of advertising and marketing routines: marketing and advertising functions, inventive providers, site functions, social media, advertising, and so on.

It is even becoming utilized (30%) in situations marketing, which has long been the go-to example for skeptics: “Oh, agile could in no way function for activities.” (To be good, in a virtual/hybrid party planet, the pacing and adaptability of events internet marketing has elevated drastically.)

But contrary to very last yr, when 51% of individuals reported utilizing agile promoting, this time only 43% did. That’s near to the 42% from 2020. Is agile marketing backsliding?

Of class, the most noticeable disclaimer is the study sample. Even with 513 entrepreneurs collaborating in this newest study, it is however a very little subset of the various advertising universe and no question issue to the ebbs and flows of range bias.

But even now. After practically 15 decades of advocacy for agile advertising and marketing, the momentum of this motion seems… stalled?

Agile marketing concepts, practices & labels

The concepts of agile advertising, even so, appear to be to be universally approved as gospel truth of the matter these times. I just cannot imagine of a one marketer I have satisfied in the earlier many many years who has not embraced the values of adaptability, finding out from experimentation, iterative enhancement, cross-group collaboration, bigger visibility into get the job done-in-flight, workforce empowerment, and so forth.

Advertising has grow to be an agile job. Full stop.

Agile Marketing Practices

Common agile tactics — this kind of as sprints, day-to-day standups, kanban boards, etc. — also appear to be to have proliferated extensively. Whilst in several cases, they’ve morphed from their first kind. We’ll arrive again to that in a minute, as I consider it’s the twist of publish-agile.

But the labels? Not so a great deal. I quite not often hear the terms dash, standup, or kanban in marketing conversations. Even “agile marketing” as a expression occurs considerably less often than it appeared a couple of a long time ago.

Agile advertising vs. agile growth developments

A pair of charts from Google Developments enable illustrate what’s occurring below. To start with, let’s just glimpse at the advancement of the look for phrase “agile marketing”:

Google Trends: Agile Marketing

The chart exhibits relative lookup volume for this time period more than the earlier 18 yrs. You can see that it peaked all over 2017. (A year soon after the release of Hacking Advertising. Coincidence?) Because then, it is experienced fluctations up and down. But it largely strike a ceiling.

To get a improved feeling of how a great deal complete lookup volume there is for agile advertising, you want to compare it from a different development. So let’s examine it from its progenitor, “agile development”:

Google Trends: Agile Marketing vs. Agile Development

Two issues pop ideal out. First, agile marketing has attained only a little fraction of the mindshare that agile progress ever did. Next, desire in agile development has steadily declined since 2010. It’s about 1/4 of the quantity it was at its peak.

What took place in 2010? The increase of DevOps.

Google Trends: Agile Development vs. DevOps

In truth, DevOps became the huge that stood on the shoulders of agile development. Its recognition has dwarfed agile advancement, even from its heyday. And as opposed to individuals two, agile marketing would scarcely even sign up on the scale.

But it is critical to take note that DevOps arose from Agile. To estimate its Wikipedia article:

“Agile growth teams… could not ‘satisfy the buyer by way of early and constant supply of precious software’ unless they subsumed the functions / infrastructure tasks connected with their applications, several of which they automated.”

DevOps “aims to shorten the methods growth lifecycle and deliver continual shipping with significant software package high-quality.” What is ongoing integration/constant deployment (CI/CD) if not the final mechanism for offering iterative software progress?

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

The plummeting expenses of “shipping” in the cloud

To be apparent, DevOps is not an agile administration methodology. It’s not even an “ops” workforce (in most instances) like other ops capabilities, these types of as marketing and advertising ops. Somewhat, it’s a established of tactics, procedures, and technologies that builders use to ship program rapidly, iteratively, and safely. It leverages a ton of automation and instrumentation.

DevOps optimizes constructing and deploying software package, but selecting what to develop and when even now demands to take place at a amount earlier mentioned that. In theory, agile advancement methodologies such as Scrum can present the framework for all those choices. But most dev teams I know don’t explicitly use people methodologies any more. Most have invented their have system, pulling ideas from agile methodologies and adapting them and leveraging dev venture administration equipment this sort of as Jira.

My just take: DevOps — and a lot more broadly, the cloud — has considerably decreased the prices of iteratively producing software. Back in the times when agile methodologies these as Scrum ended up created, the costs and complexities of shipping and delivery had been a lot increased. The rigid structure of Scrum was an helpful and necessary way to manage that. Currently in a fantastic DevOps natural environment? Not as needed?

That is not to say that technique, preparing, roadmaps, prioritization, and all the coordination and collaboration demanded around them aren’t needed. They are as vital to success 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 marketing and advertising?

Advertising ops is a unique form of creature that DevOps. For a person, it is a job/crew inside the advertising and marketing org, relatively than a observe/procedure that all entrepreneurs use.

However there is some shared DNA. In lots of methods, advertising ops groups functionality as a DevOps-like enabler for entrepreneurs to be ready to “ship” internet marketing speedily, iteratively, and properly. Marketing ops manages the tech stack and procedures to help that — through a ton of automation and instrumentation.

Yet with the rise of far more and additional no-code abilities across martech, marketing ops is also empowering marketers with a lot more and additional self-services abilities. Just as software deployment ops got “shifted left” (i.e., moved upstream) into a lot more developers’ arms with DevOps, more capabilities to execute internet marketing — both equally inner and external advertising and marketing “deployments” — are becoming shifted into the arms of basic marketers.

I do not know that there is a identify for this phenomenon. It’s a type of democratization of specified sides of advertising and marketing ops. (Preferably beneath the guidance, governance, and guardrails of the specialist promoting ops crew.) But it is significantly analogous to DevOps. Additional people can ship a lot more marketing, speedily, easily, and securely.

Just as with software package, system, preparing, roadmaps, prioritization, team coordination and collaboration are crucial to effectively harness this dispersed electricity of generation. But just as in the same way, the prices in deploying most kinds of promoting have dropped considerably more than the earlier 10 years. This has made additional slack in the advertising creation process, which has created rigid agile marketing methodologies… not as vital?

(Truthfully posed as a issue, not a declaration.)

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

Speaking of slack, or, um, Slack, the earlier 10 many years has also brought an explosion of innovation in function communications and collaboration products. For occasion, Slack and Microsoft Groups have develop into ubiquitous — together with a total ecosystem of applications that increase and integrate with them. A new era of do the job administration platforms, these types of as Asana, ClickUp, Monday.com, and (for entrepreneurs) Workfront, deliver larger framework and visibility into advanced, fast-moving priorities, projects, and workflows.

Growth in Management Category of Martech Landscape, 2020-2022

Certainly, the Administration group of the martech landscape experienced the biggest proportion advancement from 2020 to 2022.

These instruments have had a major effects on how operate receives finished. Many of them embed or enable 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, perform-in-progress administration, identification of blockers and bottlenecks.

In the meantime, I’d say that Slack and Groups — accelerated by the Good Migration to Remote Do the job — have efficiently killed replaced the daily stand-up for most groups.

But it is not that the fundamental theory of stand-ups has long gone away. On the opposite, these staff communications platforms usually make it much easier for teams to remain connected in the course of the day in a rather very low-impression method. Concerns that occur can be resolved speedier than waiting around for the next stand-up in a mounted time window that more and more fails to align with the schedules of dispersed workforce associates.

Hey, I’m continue to a huge admirer of in-human being collaboration, and I agree something is dropped with no it. But other factors are acquired. And for improved and even worse, distant and hybrid teams are the new typical. In this brave new environment, Slack and Groups are a improved match than every day stand-ups for lots of.

And it is not just technologies. Management techniques that I consider of as “point solutions” for precise desires — in contrast to a total suite of methods, as with formal agile promoting — have been popularized for superior cross-purposeful collaboration (e.g., pods exterior the context of formal agile) and multi-get together selection-producing (e.g., DARCI models).

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

They just do not essentially feel of their methods as formal “agile marketing and advertising.”

From agile marketing to… promoting?

Whatever transpired to digital promoting? It turned marketing and advertising.

Not mainly because marketing became less electronic. Pretty the reverse. Digital grew to become so embedded in almost everything marketers had been accomplishing that the label of the career reverted to the suggest: marketing. I’d phone that a victory for the digital advertising and marketing motion, not defeat.

Equally, is agile advertising only becoming… marketing?

Maybe “agile marketing” will restart its advancement as an express movement. Or it’s possible it will be changed by some newly named methodology that is nearer to what DevOps has turn into in the program growth career. Or probably is just gets to be implicit in how fashionable marketing teams run.

Agile is as agile does.

Irrespective, I nevertheless imagine there is a large opportunity for educating internet marketing teams how to greatest harness all these platforms, tactics, and processes. There is in no way been a lot more desire for helping marketing teams attain peak performance by superior education, enablement, consulting, and advisory expert services in today’s setting.

Does the identify we connect with it seriously make a difference?

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