Have we entered a post-agile marketing age?
Catching up on my backlog of knowledge and matters from before #MartechDay earlier this month — which featured the 2022 advertising and marketing technologies landscape and the 2022 Stackies — the best of my checklist is the most recent Condition of Agile Marketing and advertising report from AgileSherpas.
As always, this is a terrific, in depth report on how and why agile methodologies are becoming employed in advertising. You can see from the chart earlier mentioned that agile has observed its way into a broad variety of advertising and marketing things to do: promoting functions, imaginative products and services, web page operations, social media, advertising, and many others.
It is even becoming applied (30%) in occasions internet marketing, which has prolonged been the go-to instance for skeptics: “Oh, agile could hardly ever work for activities.” (To be fair, in a virtual/hybrid party entire world, the pacing and adaptability of functions marketing and advertising has amplified appreciably.)
But compared with past year, when 51% of members reported applying agile marketing and advertising, this time only 43% did. That is close to the 42% from 2020. Is agile promoting backsliding?
Of course, the most noticeable disclaimer is the survey sample. Even with 513 entrepreneurs collaborating in this most recent survey, it is still a incredibly tiny subset of the assorted internet marketing universe and no question matter to the ebbs and flows of collection bias.
But continue to. Following approximately 15 many years of advocacy for agile internet marketing, the momentum of this motion seems… stalled?
Agile promoting principles, tactics & labels
The concepts of agile advertising and marketing, having said that, look to be universally acknowledged as gospel real truth these days. I just cannot imagine of a solitary marketer I have achieved in the past many years who has not embraced the values of adaptability, learning from experimentation, iterative advancement, cross-workforce collaboration, better visibility into operate-in-flight, staff empowerment, and so on.
Promoting has develop into an agile profession. Entire stop.
Basic agile tactics — these as sprints, daily standups, kanban boards, and many others. — also appear to be to have proliferated greatly. Even though in quite a few circumstances, they’ve morphed from their authentic kind. We’ll arrive back again to that in a minute, as I consider it is the twist of publish-agile.
But the labels? Not so considerably. I very almost never listen to the terms dash, standup, or kanban in marketing and advertising conversations. Even “agile marketing” as a phrase occurs considerably less frequently than it appeared a couple of years back.
Agile promoting vs. agile improvement developments
A couple of charts from Google Developments enable illustrate what is happening here. Initially, let’s just glimpse at the growth of the look for phrase “agile marketing”:
The chart displays relative search volume for this time period above the previous 18 many years. You can see that it peaked all around 2017. (A yr after the release of Hacking Marketing and advertising. Coincidence?) Since then, it is had fluctations up and down. But it largely strike a ceiling.
To get a superior perception of how a great deal absolute search volume there is for agile internet marketing, you require to compare it towards a further craze. So let us evaluate it towards its progenitor, “agile development”:
Two factors pop proper out. 1st, agile internet marketing has accomplished only a little fraction of the mindshare that agile improvement ever did. Next, desire in agile progress has steadily declined because 2010. It’s around 1/4 of the volume it was at its peak.
What transpired in 2010? The increase of DevOps.
Without a doubt, DevOps became the huge that stood on the shoulders of agile progress. Its recognition has dwarfed agile growth, even from its heyday. And in contrast to those two, agile promoting would scarcely even register on the scale.
But it’s important to note that DevOps arose from Agile. To quote its Wikipedia report:
“Agile advancement teams… could not ‘satisfy the shopper by early and constant supply of beneficial software’ unless of course they subsumed the operations / infrastructure tasks connected with their purposes, numerous of which they automatic.”
DevOps “aims to shorten the techniques advancement lifecycle and supply continuous shipping and delivery with superior computer software good quality.” What is ongoing integration/ongoing deployment (CI/CD) if not the final system for offering iterative software program development?
As Forrest Gump may say, “Agile is as agile does.”
The plummeting prices of “shipping” in the cloud
To be very clear, DevOps is not an agile management methodology. It’s not even an “ops” crew (in most situations) like other ops capabilities, this kind of as advertising ops. Somewhat, it is a established of methods, processes, and technologies that builders use to ship computer software swiftly, iteratively, and safely and securely. It leverages a ton of automation and instrumentation.
DevOps optimizes setting up and deploying program, but deciding what to develop and when still needs to take place at a level above that. In theory, agile improvement methodologies these types of as Scrum can offer the framework for those choices. But most dev teams I know do not explicitly use those methodologies any more. Most have invented their possess procedure, pulling principles from agile methodologies and adapting them and leveraging dev task management resources such as Jira.
My choose: DevOps — and much more broadly, the cloud — has radically reduced the fees of iteratively developing computer software. Again in the days when agile methodologies these as Scrum were being designed, the fees and complexities of shipping and delivery had been much increased. The rigid construction of Scrum was an effective and essential way to control that. Right now in a very good DevOps environment? Not as necessary?
Which is not to say that system, scheduling, roadmaps, prioritization, and all the coordination and collaboration essential around them aren’t required. They’re as essential to good results as at any time. But the rigidity of Scrum in translating that into iterative launch cycles? Not as needed?
(Allow the flames from ardent agile advocates commence.)
Is there a DevOps equivalent in internet marketing?
Advertising and marketing ops is a various type of creature that DevOps. For 1, it is a role/staff within just the marketing and advertising org, alternatively than a practice/system that all marketers use.
Still there is some shared DNA. In quite a few strategies, promoting ops groups perform as a DevOps-like enabler for entrepreneurs to be equipped to “ship” promoting promptly, iteratively, and safely and securely. Advertising ops manages the tech stack and procedures to enable that — through a ton of automation and instrumentation.
Nonetheless with the increase of a lot more and far more no-code abilities across martech, internet marketing ops is also empowering marketers with far more and much more self-provider abilities. Just as software package deployment ops got “shifted left” (i.e., moved upstream) into a lot more developers’ arms with DevOps, additional capabilities to execute advertising — both inside and exterior marketing “deployments” — are staying shifted into the arms of basic entrepreneurs.
I do not know that there is a name for this phenomenon. It is a form of democratization of selected sides of internet marketing ops. (Ideally underneath the steerage, governance, and guardrails of the skilled advertising ops group.) But it is more and more analogous to DevOps. Much more men and women can ship extra internet marketing, promptly, easily, and safely and securely.
Just as with application, technique, organizing, roadmaps, prioritization, group coordination and collaboration are crucial to proficiently harness this distributed power of development. But just as in the same way, the charges in deploying most kinds of marketing and advertising have dropped dramatically over the previous 10 years. This has designed much more slack in the promoting output course of action, which has created rigid agile marketing methodologies… not as necessary?
(Honestly posed as a dilemma, not a declaration.)
New agile procedures: Pods, DARCIs, Slack, “Work OS”
Talking of slack, or, um, Slack, the past 10 years has also introduced an explosion of innovation in get the job done communications and collaboration products and solutions. For instance, Slack and Microsoft Groups have become ubiquitous — alongside with a whole ecosystem of apps that prolong and combine with them. A new generation of perform management platforms, these kinds of as Asana, ClickUp, Monday.com, and (for entrepreneurs) Workfront, deliver better composition and visibility into intricate, quickly-shifting priorities, tasks, and workflows.
Certainly, the Administration category of the martech landscape experienced the premier proportion growth from 2020 to 2022.
These instruments have experienced a important impact on how operate gets done. Many of them embed or help agile (lowercase “a”) techniques. Almost none of them use the terminology of agile internet marketing methodologies. But the essence of agile is there: transparency, prioritization, accountability, perform-in-development management, identification of blockers and bottlenecks.
Meanwhile, I’d say that Slack and Groups — accelerated by the Great Migration to Distant Do the job — have effectively
killed changed the each day stand-up for most groups.
But it is not that the underlying theory of stand-ups has absent absent. On the opposite, these crew communications platforms commonly make it a lot easier for groups to continue to be related all over the working day in a reasonably reduced-influence method. Issues that arise can be dealt with a lot quicker than ready for the future stand-up in a fixed time window that ever more fails to align with the schedules of distributed team customers.
Hey, I’m even now a enormous enthusiast of in-person collaboration, and I concur anything is missing with no it. But other things are obtained. And for better and even worse, remote and hybrid groups are the new regular. In this brave new environment, Slack and Teams are a improved in shape than each day stand-ups for numerous.
And it’s not just know-how. Management techniques that I believe of as “point solutions” for certain requirements — in contrast to a entire suite of tactics, as with formal agile internet marketing — have been popularized for greater cross-purposeful collaboration (e.g., pods outdoors the context of formal agile) and multi-occasion conclusion-earning (e.g., DARCI products).
The internet effect? Internet marketing groups are becoming far more and extra agile.
They just do not always feel of their tactics as formal “agile marketing and advertising.”
From agile advertising to… advertising and marketing?
Whatever happened to electronic advertising and marketing? It became advertising and marketing.
Not simply because marketing became considerably less electronic. Quite the opposite. Electronic became so embedded in every little thing marketers had been performing that the label of the career reverted to the indicate: advertising and marketing. I’d simply call that a victory for the electronic marketing and advertising movement, not defeat.
Likewise, is agile marketing and advertising just becoming… marketing and advertising?
It’s possible “agile marketing” will restart its growth as an specific motion. Or perhaps it will be replaced by some recently named methodology that is closer to what DevOps has grow to be in the software package growth job. Or it’s possible is just gets implicit in how modern-day promoting groups operate.
Agile is as agile does.
Irrespective, I even now believe there is a huge possibility for educating advertising teams how to finest harness all these platforms, practices, and processes. There is hardly ever been much more demand for helping marketing and advertising groups accomplish peak efficiency via good teaching, enablement, consulting, and advisory products and services in today’s atmosphere.
Does the name we call it actually matter?
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