Catching up on my backlog of data and matters from ahead of #MartechDay before this thirty day period — which highlighted the 2022 marketing know-how landscape and the 2022 Stackies — the major of my checklist is the most current Condition of Agile Promoting report from AgileSherpas.
As always, this is a terrific, comprehensive report on how and why agile methodologies are remaining utilised in promoting. You can see from the chart previously mentioned that agile has observed its way into a huge wide range of marketing pursuits: marketing and advertising functions, inventive companies, internet site operations, social media, advertising, etc.
It is even staying applied (30%) in functions promoting, which has extensive been the go-to instance for skeptics: “Oh, agile could hardly ever perform for activities.” (To be fair, in a digital/hybrid party globe, the pacing and adaptability of gatherings promoting has enhanced substantially.)
But as opposed to very last year, when 51% of participants noted utilizing agile internet marketing, this time only 43% did. Which is shut to the 42% from 2020. Is agile advertising backsliding?
Of class, the most clear disclaimer is the study sample. Even with 513 entrepreneurs participating in this most up-to-date survey, it’s nevertheless a very tiny subset of the diverse internet marketing universe and no doubt topic to the ebbs and flows of assortment bias.
But even now. Following nearly 15 years of advocacy for agile marketing, the momentum of this motion seems… stalled?
Agile marketing principles, procedures & labels
The ideas of agile advertising and marketing, on the other hand, look to be universally recognized as gospel reality these days. I just cannot believe of a one marketer I’ve met in the previous several many years who hasn’t embraced the values of adaptability, finding out from experimentation, iterative advancement, cross-crew collaboration, greater visibility into do the job-in-flight, workforce empowerment, and so forth.
Promoting has become an agile job. Comprehensive cease.
Typical agile practices — this kind of as sprints, daily standups, kanban boards, and many others. — also seem to be to have proliferated greatly. While in quite a few cases, they’ve morphed from their original form. We’ll appear back to that in a minute, as I consider it is the twist of write-up-agile.
But the labels? Not so a lot. I pretty rarely listen to the conditions dash, standup, or kanban in marketing conversations. Even “agile marketing” as a phrase arises considerably less frequently than it appeared a few of years ago.
Agile marketing vs. agile enhancement developments
A couple of charts from Google Traits aid illustrate what’s happening in this article. First, let’s just glimpse at the expansion of the search expression “agile marketing”:
The chart exhibits relative lookup volume for this term above the previous 18 yrs. You can see that it peaked all-around 2017. (A year right after the launch of Hacking Marketing. Coincidence?) Since then, it’s had fluctations up and down. But it mostly strike a ceiling.
To get a greater perception of how considerably absolute lookup volume there is for agile advertising and marketing, you need to have to review it versus a further pattern. So let’s compare it in opposition to its progenitor, “agile development”:
Two items pop right out. Initially, agile promoting has attained only a small fraction of the mindshare that agile development at any time did. Second, fascination in agile growth has steadily declined because 2010. It’s all around 1/4 of the volume it was at its peak.
What took place in 2010? The rise of DevOps.
In truth, DevOps turned the big that stood on the shoulders of agile development. Its acceptance has dwarfed agile development, even from its heyday. And in comparison to all those two, agile marketing and advertising would barely even register on the scale.
But it’s crucial to observe that DevOps arose from Agile. To quotation its Wikipedia write-up:
“Agile growth teams… could not ‘satisfy the consumer by way of early and continual delivery of worthwhile software’ except they subsumed the operations / infrastructure responsibilities associated with their apps, lots of of which they automatic.”
DevOps “aims to shorten the units growth lifecycle and provide continual shipping and delivery with substantial program top quality.” What is continual integration/continual deployment (CI/CD) if not the supreme system for delivering iterative software program growth?
As Forrest Gump could say, “Agile is as agile does.”
The plummeting costs of “shipping” in the cloud
To be crystal clear, DevOps is not an agile administration methodology. It’s not even an “ops” crew (in most instances) like other ops capabilities, these as promoting ops. Alternatively, it is a established of tactics, procedures, and technology that builders use to ship program rapidly, iteratively, and safely and securely. It leverages a ton of automation and instrumentation.
DevOps optimizes setting up and deploying application, but deciding what to establish and when even now wants to materialize at a stage previously mentioned that. In concept, agile development methodologies such as Scrum can offer the framework for those choices. But most dev teams I know really don’t explicitly use those methodologies anymore. Most have invented their individual approach, pulling ideas from agile methodologies and adapting them and leveraging dev venture management instruments this sort of as Jira.
My consider: DevOps — and more broadly, the cloud — has drastically lowered the fees of iteratively acquiring software program. Again in the days when agile methodologies these as Scrum were made, the prices and complexities of shipping and delivery ended up substantially greater. The rigid framework of Scrum was an effective and important way to manage that. Now in a fantastic DevOps environment? Not as essential?
That’s not to say that tactic, scheduling, roadmaps, prioritization, and all the coordination and collaboration necessary close to them aren’t needed. They are as vital to achievements as ever. But the rigidity of Scrum in translating that into iterative release cycles? Not as vital?
(Let the flames from ardent agile advocates start.)
Is there a DevOps equivalent in promoting?
Internet marketing ops is a different variety of creature that DevOps. For just one, it is a position/group within the promoting org, rather than a exercise/procedure that all marketers use.
Yet there is some shared DNA. In lots of means, promoting ops groups operate as a DevOps-like enabler for marketers to be in a position to “ship” promoting swiftly, iteratively, and safely. Advertising and marketing ops manages the tech stack and procedures to allow that — through a ton of automation and instrumentation.
Still with the increase of additional and more no-code abilities throughout martech, marketing and advertising ops is also empowering entrepreneurs with a lot more and more self-services capabilities. Just as software deployment ops acquired “shifted left” (i.e., moved upstream) into far more developers’ arms with DevOps, a lot more abilities to execute advertising and marketing — both equally inner and exterior advertising and marketing “deployments” — are staying shifted into the arms of normal entrepreneurs.
I don’t know that there’s a title for this phenomenon. It’s a type of democratization of particular aspects of advertising and marketing ops. (Preferably under the direction, governance, and guardrails of the qualified internet marketing ops staff.) But it is increasingly analogous to DevOps. Additional people today can ship a lot more promoting, rapidly, quickly, and properly.
Just as with software program, technique, planning, roadmaps, prioritization, team coordination and collaboration are necessary to properly harness this distributed ability of generation. But just as equally, the expenditures in deploying most forms of advertising have dropped dramatically more than the past decade. This has created more slack in the advertising production procedure, which has built rigid agile internet marketing methodologies… not as vital?
(Truthfully posed as a problem, not a declaration.)
New agile tactics: Pods, DARCIs, Slack, “Work OS”
Talking of slack, or, um, Slack, the previous 10 yrs has also brought an explosion of innovation in function communications and collaboration products. For instance, Slack and Microsoft Teams have develop into ubiquitous — along with a whole ecosystem of apps that increase and combine with them. A new technology of get the job done management platforms, these types of as Asana, ClickUp, Monday.com, and (for marketers) Workfront, provide bigger construction and visibility into intricate, quickly-shifting priorities, assignments, and workflows.
In fact, the Administration category of the martech landscape experienced the most significant share expansion from 2020 to 2022.
These instruments have experienced a major influence on how function gets performed. Lots of of them embed or permit agile (lowercase “a”) procedures. Virtually none of them use the terminology of agile marketing methodologies. But the essence of agile is there: transparency, prioritization, accountability, work-in-development management, identification of blockers and bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, I’d say that Slack and Groups — accelerated by the Excellent Migration to Remote Operate — have successfully
killed changed the each day stand-up for most groups.
But it’s not that the fundamental theory of stand-ups has long gone absent. On the opposite, these staff communications platforms frequently make it less complicated for groups to remain linked through the working day in a relatively low-influence fashion. Problems that come up can be resolved faster than waiting around for the subsequent stand-up in a set time window that progressively fails to align with the schedules of dispersed group members.
Hey, I’m continue to a huge supporter of in-person collaboration, and I concur anything is missing with out it. But other things are received. And for much better and worse, remote and hybrid teams are the new typical. In this courageous new earth, Slack and Groups are a superior suit than daily stand-ups for several.
And it’s not just technologies. Management strategies that I think of as “point solutions” for certain wants — in contrast to a complete suite of practices, as with official agile marketing — have been popularized for far better cross-purposeful collaboration (e.g., pods outside the context of official agile) and multi-bash decision-earning (e.g., DARCI designs).
The net result? Marketing and advertising groups are turning out to be extra and more agile.
They just really do not essentially assume of their methods as formal “agile marketing and advertising.”
From agile advertising and marketing to… marketing?
No matter what happened to electronic marketing? It grew to become advertising and marketing.
Not because internet marketing turned fewer electronic. Fairly the opposite. Digital turned so embedded in everything marketers were being executing that the label of the occupation reverted to the imply: internet marketing. I’d simply call that a victory for the electronic marketing movement, not defeat.
Similarly, is agile marketing and advertising basically becoming… promoting?
Perhaps “agile marketing” will restart its growth as an explicit movement. Or maybe it will be replaced by some freshly named methodology that is nearer to what DevOps has come to be in the software program growth occupation. Or perhaps is just turns into implicit in how modern advertising groups run.
Agile is as agile does.
No matter, I nevertheless consider there is a huge prospect for training advertising and marketing teams how to finest harness all these platforms, practices, and processes. There’s by no means been additional desire for serving to advertising and marketing teams reach peak general performance by great coaching, enablement, consulting, and advisory solutions in today’s ecosystem.
Does the name we contact it truly make a difference?