Agile Marketers Create an Agile Marketing Manifesto at SprintZero

| by Amiruddin Nagri Follow 0 Followers on Jul 20, 2012. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

A group of self styled "Agile Marketers" inspired by the Agile Software Development Manifesto agreed upon a set of values and incorporated it in form of an Agile Marketing Manifesto at SprintZero, a first ever gathering of Agile marketing practitioners at Mindjet, San Francisco. This open to all free event was held on 11th of June with notable presence of community leaders including Jim Ewel, John Cass and Travis Arnold.

Several independent Agile marketing manifestos evolved in past couple of years. In preparation for SprintZero, Travis Arnold prepared a roundup of these manifestos with goal to compile the values that served as the initial framework for an Agile Marketing Manifesto. These values where then put to vote by the community and the agreed upon values where incorporated as part of the manifesto.

We are discovering better ways of creating value for our customers and for our organizations through new approaches to marketing. Through this work, we have come to value:
  • Validated learning over opinions and conventions
  • Customer focused collaboration over silos and hierarchy
  • Adaptive and iterative campaigns over Big-Bang campaigns
  • The process of customer discovery over static prediction
  • Flexible vs. rigid planning
  • Responding to change over following a plan
  • Many small experiments over a few large bets


The group also listed down a candidate list of Agile Marketing Principles, again inspired by the Agile Software Development Principles, adapted to marketing domain by Miguel Tam:

  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of marketing that solves problems
  • We welcome and plan for change. We believe that our ability to quickly respond to change is a source of competitive advantage
  • Deliver marketing programs frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale
  • Great marketing requires close alignment with the business people, sales and development
  • Build marketing programs around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done
  • Learning, through the build-measure-learn feedback loop, is the primary measure of progress
  • Sustainable marketing requires you to keep a constant pace and pipeline
  • Don’t be afraid to fail; just don’t fail the same way twice
  • Continuous attention to marketing fundamentals and good design enhances agility
  • Simplicity is essential


Jim Ewel shares the motivation behind Agile marketing movement:

Old marketing is dead, but it simply won't die. As Marty Smith said, when shouting doesn't work, some just turn up the volume. We, Agile Marketers, will add our voice to the growing call for marketing to change – to become more attuned to customers, to become more permission-based, to become more transparent, and yes, to become more agile.


The community is going to meet again and review the manifesto at Sprint1 scheduled in fall this year.

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Good vs. Bad by Tim Lancaster

As I read the list above, I noticed that most of the comparisons set up a clear good (customer focused collaboration) against a clear bad (silos and hierarchy). In contrast, the agile manifesto drew a distinction between better practices and the current "good" practices. It went on to say that while the practices on the right had some value, the practices on the left had more value.

I find the agile manifesto approach more helpful in creating a discussion. No one is going to start out working on creating "silos and hierarchy", so they will find a hard time identifying with any of the items on the right side. No one on the right side means no discussion. Consider reframing the comparison with "good" practices on right and the improved practices on the left.

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