Agile Marketing Manifesto
Everything you needed to know about agile marketing
Agile Marketing When clear and simple processes drive innovation
EDITORS Available on David Quinn, Senior Director, App Store Corporate Marketing at EMC Corporation, and his Agile Marketing team: & Steve Colombo, Amy Callahan, Carolyn Cerce, Jill Fitzgerald, Available on Ellen Deutsch Google www.emc.com Play
“Agile Marketing” is a thought-provoking booklet created by EMC’s Agile Marketing Team, led by David Quinn, Senior Director, Corporate Marketing at EMC Corporation 3
Dear it. My Agile Marketing team (about which you will learn more in chapter 2) and I think it is time Reader, for something new. We believe that a shift to an agile marketing model is the right change. This e-book tells the story of agile marketing and of how we, at EMC, successfully embraced I’ll start with a simple question. Why does marketing exist? this methodology to tackle some of the challenges our marketing department was struggling I’ll spare you the dozens of ‘ofﬁcial’ deﬁnitions that are with. To understand the concept of agile marketing, and EMC’s own case story, it is essential living out there (that you probably know all too well) and to realize that the underlying ideas and approaches are rooted in the simple fact that our move on to the essence of the matter. Marketing is here environment has changed dramatically. These evolutions have a— direct or indirect—impact to help us sell products and services to consumers, right? on the way we manage our marketing activities. To me, this broader picture is key to grasping Only the latter have changed so much over the last few why and how we have moved our methodologies in the direction we have over the last couple years that it’s actually scary. They are not the only ones to of years. I feel a lot of us marketers tend to focus too much on the ‘small’ world of just our have undergone such a dramatic transformation, though: department, our company, our Management, our strategy and our (internal) customers. In the amount of information available has, our tools have the current connected economy everything inﬂuences everything else, so we must accept the and–perhaps most alarming of all–our competition has. outside so that we know how to function ‘on the inside’. That is actually the very ﬁrst step to becoming an agile organization. And yet, in the midst of this ever-increasing pace of permanent changes, a lot of us marketers keep doing what Happy reading! we always did, without rethinking the way we work too David Quinn much. Maybe we went a little digital. But that’s pretty much Senior Director, Corporate Marketing 5 at EMC Corporation If you are interested in learning how EMC’s solutions can help For more information on EMC’s implementation @DavidQuinn1004 your company, please ﬁnd more information on www.emc.com. of Agile Marketing I can be reached via Twitter at :
1 Long term planning 6 is a thing of the past. This is the time for keeping up and running.
Chapter Marketing Why the ‘old’ 1 marketing in the moment should move on. for one and one for all’. Contrary to common belief, we are still dealing very much with mass marketing today. Be it in a totally different format than before. The mass is just hidden behind Remember when decision-makers could sit down and the individual. And he is a force to be reckoned with: as difﬁcult to catch (or keep) as he is think? And then think some more? And dream up a clever, powerful. long-term plan? And then wait for the others to read it? And have it go back and forth until everyone–or the majority, or Our customers have indeed undergone a massive transformation over the last years. They just the one with the loudest voice—agreed that that was are more demanding, more vocal and more connected than ever. Their attention spans keep the way to go? And remember when the entire organization on shortening. So we will want to treat them in just the way they want. And they do want a ‘stuck’ to the plan for the entire period that it was meant to lot. They want to be recognized over all the different channels they are hopping between. be followed? Those days are pretty much over. They want relevant information, dialogue and welcome advice that recognizes them as the unique individual they believe themselves to be. ‘Old marketing’ approaches based on a 7 Today, we have changes and insights ﬂying at us from all slowly evolving one-way monologue – telling them what to do, instead of listening to what directions. This is no time to be complacent. This is the they want - will no longer do in this new supersonic environment. moment for keeping up and running. The laws of the market have changed and so should we. Because this is the age of The Internet is responsible for the greater part of this evolution, of course. It has completely the community. The era of the network. The epoch of ‘all changed how consumers decide to buy. The purchasing process used to be a combination
1 of an initial stimulus, the ﬁ rst and the second moment of truth. If our ads were effective, the From the linear & clear- Ch apt consumer responded to this incentive by visiting our stores or contacting one of our sales cut marketing funnel… er one people. Then, the combination of the product and service and the salesperson would–in the M best case–result in a purchase (the ﬁ rst moment of truth). Once home, or in the ofﬁ ce with ark Eyeballs etin the product, the consumer used it and formed an opinion of his or her purchase: the second g in the momentmoment of truth. All in all, buying used to be a pretty straightforward and linear experience. Awareness ZMOT eats Consideration the marketing Preference Over the years this traditional funneled process funnel for has exploded to form a complex map of touch Action breakfast. points. Just to give some examples from the Loyalty Google/Shopper Sciences study: 50% of consumers used a search engine to ﬁ nd out Buyers information before buying, 49% talked with friends/family about the product, 38% compar- ison-shopped online, 36% sought information for a product brand/manufacturer Website, 1 31% read product reviews or endorsements online, etc. Google calls this comprehensive, online decision-making period the ‘Zero Moment of Truth’. So we’d better have strategies and tactics for showing up at the right place, at the right time with the right content. … to the 8 comprehensive So it is safe to say that our environment has multiplied in intricacy over the years. Professional ‘Zero Moment experiences used to be linear and clean-cut. The fast-paced, dynamic and networked char- of Truth’ acter of today’s market has changed all that. We need to evolve along with the market. Rigid, long-term planning and siloed thinking is no longer relevant in this context. In fact, in a world
that is ruled by complexity, unpredictability, volatility and The greatest danger in times of the intricate interdependencies between connected parts, being slow and inﬂexible is frankly dangerous. turbulence is not the turbulence; Peter Drucker, it is to act with yesterday’s logic. author and management There is no denying that this slow and seriously consid- consultant ered approach did make sense at one time, of course. TV ads, for instance, were (and still are) extremely expensive. Getting it wrong, meant losing a lot of cold hard cash. So The fox and the marketers cultivated a low tolerance of failure and thought hedgehog: why Before we go into more details about agile very slowly and prudently–backed up by a lot of expensive marketing, let me ﬁrst tell you author and stat- market research and focus groups–about what their next agile marketing istician Nate Silver’s story of the fox and the approach would be. They made (long term) plans and care- makes sense hedgehog. According to him hedgehogs are fully stuck to them. Made sense. But with cheaper channels those people who tend to see the world through like websites, online tests and social media that are so their ‘big ideas’ about the role of government, the much more ﬂexible - and fast - it no longer does. effect of taxes on the economy, etc. They are ’type A’ personalities who believe in governing principles about the world that behave as though they were physical laws and undergird Our current world is actually too complex to be stabilized, virtually every interaction in society.” They tend to be specialized, they believe order can be structured and predicted. Static, locked in and uncom- accomplished and are usually very reluctant to change their predictions. promising organizations will not be able to survive in this environment. “It is those organisms best adapted to the The Fox knows many things, but the 2 environment that will have a greater chance of surviving” , Hedgehog knows one big thing. 9 remember? And agile marketing is just the right way to Archilochus, approach an unstable market, knowledgeable customers Greek poet and an increasingly fast competition. Foxes, on the other hand, are “scrappy creatures who believe in a plethora of little ideas and in taking a multitude of approaches toward a problem.” Silver feels that ‘foxes’ make better
1 Ch predictions because they are more willing to consider multiple points of view, and they are apt er one less likely to view everything through their partisan lens. We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and M ark Marketers today should be a lot more like these foxes. They move forward in small steps. They helping others do it. Through this work etin we have come to value: are permanently monitoring and measuring their environment. They incorporate ideas from g in the moment different disciplines, regardless of their origin. They are tolerant of complexity, and do not try to ﬁght it with order. They know that sometimes, you do need to ﬁght ﬁre with ﬁre. Presented 3 with new data, they are quick to adapt. Individuals and Working software So, should we stop planning altogether? Of course not. You need both. In IT, there is the interactions over over comprehensive concept of ‘dual speed’: one part of it is fairly static and the other part changes permanently. processes and tools documentation The same goes for marketing. You need strategy and long–well, longer–term planning. The big difference is that today we should not write our shiny one-year marketing plans in stone. Customer Responding If the market modiﬁes, we re-evaluate and adapt them. We have to be agile about our plans. collaboration over to change over contract negotiation following a plan The roots of This agile methodology was an answer to the traditional To fully grasp what agile marketing is all about, waterfall approach in the software development world. It agile marketing. you ﬁrst need to understand that the meth- was called that because, on paper, the process did kind 10 odology behind it has its roots in IT. The agile of look like a waterfall, cascading sequentially from one software development methodology was born stage to another. A project would start with comprehensive on a (possibly) sunny day somewhere in the nineties. And in February 2001, 17 software requirements gathering. Once they were ﬁnalized, archi- developers had a brainstorming session at the Snowbird (Utah) resort to discuss lightweight tects would map out the design. Once that was done then development methods. Their ‘Manifesto for Agile Software Development’, that eventually developers would begin implementation. Then it would go came out of that, is a good place to start, to explain the basics of this approach: on to veriﬁcation, delivery, and maintenance forever after.
The problem with that was that this process was sluggish be a perfect recipe for disaster. Every company should ‘marketize’ (yes, we are stretching the and it is just a plain reality that requirements do change use of this term, but it describes exactly what it should) and personalize the agile methodology. over time. By the time the implementation was over, the software was often already quite outdated. Even worse, So, agile marketing is deﬁnitely not a rigid copy of agile development. And while we are at communication with the client was kept to a minimum it, here’s another thing it certainly is NOT: controlled chaos. On the contrary. Agile is a very resulting in a shortage of veriﬁcation during the devel- process-driven, even orderly methodology that allows its practitioners to respond and adapt opment process. It was not uncommon for developers quickly, in a market dictated by speed. to arrive - beyond happy with themselves - with their nice, shiny software. Only to ﬁnd the client furious and demanding a re-do, claiming that this was not what he had Agile marketing, a short deﬁnition ordered… at all! Before going into more detail about the main characteristics of agile marketing, my The agile approach was a smart answer to this conundrum. team has tried to pull together a deﬁnition of how we see it, as there are so many It has a strong customer and quality focus. It works in small different deﬁnitions bandied about. iterative steps. It stimulates face-to-face conversation We view it as a clean and simple process-driven manner of marketing that stimulates and collaboration between empowered cross-functional transparent communication, collaboration and the sharing of intelligence and expe- teams and other stakeholders. It is based on the perma- rience. In reality, it does this by utilizing empowered and multidisciplinary teams with nent delivery of small chunks of results. It favors continual a strong sense of individual accountability, regular short meetings, short delivery measuring, review, feedback and ongoing adaptation. And cycles, continuous measuring and a ‘fail fast and learn’ philosophy. Its ultimate goals it tries to keep everything simple. That is how you operate are speedy adaptation and proactive innovation in response to a market that is as when the market changes at the speed of light and your fast as it is unpredictable. Agile marketing is never ‘done’, it is always in ﬂux. 11 customers keep growing more volatile by the day. So much for the ‘history’ lesson. This part has been kept To our team, as well as many others, agile marketing centers on two poles of excellence: deliberately short because we strongly believe that no Adaptation and Collaboration. We will explain how we perceive agile marketing by unifying all marketer should literally copy this IT approach. That would its main characteristics by means of these two main themes.
Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative. 12 H. G. Wells
Chapter 1.1 Marketing Adapt in the moment When rafting in rapid waters, you do not try to steer in a straight line. One needs to nimbly and constantly change Habits & innovation For most people–except maybe a course to maneuver around the unexpected rocks that few pioneers–innovating is perfectly might tear the boat apart. Just like that, today’s market is counterintuitive. Why would we put our not about linear travel from A to Z with ﬁxed stopovers and faith in something if we are not 100% sure it will even work, right? One of the reasons for this a predictable end station. Rather it is about the ﬂexibility reserve towards the new is that our brain always tries to be as ‘lazy’ as possible. Perfectly to choose the right direction at the right time all the while understandable: it takes up no less than 25% of our body’s energy.4 navigating a gazillion little forks in the road. So if our brain can transform something into a habit, it will. Habits are governed in the very So how can agile marketing help you, to be well… more center of our brain—the basal ganglia—which creates routines by means of a habit loop. agile? First of all, it helps one plan, but in a much more This loop always comes in the same format: a cue (e.g. a business owner asks us for a mini- 13 iterative and adaptive manner. It teaches us to chop product-website), a routine (e.g. you have a template ready for that, so you use it) and a up big plans or projects into little chunks. It allows us to reward (e.g. the business user is happy that you were able to work quickly because of that experiment in a safe environment. It tells us to stay critical template.). Our brain creates these habits out of sheer efﬁciency: they automate certain about how we work and to keep reinventing ourselves. And 5 thoughts or movements so our brain needs to ‘think’ less. This kind of cognitive efﬁciency is, it frees us from the dictatorship of perfection. unfortunately, the arch enemy of innovation.
1 Ch The problem with habits is that they are so ingrained into the brain that they are exceedingly First of all, agile marketing teaches us to scale experiments apt er one difﬁ cult to break. For example: homeowners cut their lawns in the same pattern every week. down to a manageable size. If we try out smaller things, They like the pattern…. It makes sense to them. It looks good to them. It feels good to them when they do not work out, we just move on quickly to M ark and week to week it’s ‘easier’ to do it the same way. Try convincing someone to switch that other small bets with little harm done. Agile teaches us how etin up! The same goes for habits: they wear a path in our brain which can be changed, but never to fail fast, learn from it and then readjust. It helps us adapt g in the moment actually disappears. Never underestimate the power of habit. in baby steps and reduces the threat of spectacular failures. It is less about incredibly expensive Big Bang marketing It gets worse. Our brain even fears change, because–long ago, when it started to develop– efforts, and more about divided little experiments. - 1.1 Adevery change in our environment could bring death. You were chilling in your cavern during apt the Pleistocene, maybe eating some mammoth meat, and everything was as it was. Great. I’ve failed over and over And then something changed: a cave lion, maybe. Not so great. That is why our brain is really 6 and over again in my life suspicious of change stimuli. This basic instinct is still wired in our synapses. and that is why I succeed Michael Jordan Sheltering Secondly, agile enables an organizational culture that does change. These psychological bar- not punish failure. You cannot decide to go agile, have your riers are why most of us keep people believe that innovation and experimentation beats doing what we are doing. doing safe things and then ‘punish’ them when they make And why we naturally hold a mistake. We would almost say “don’t bother trying agile 14 back from innovation. The marketing if you are not prepared to accept that mistakes agile methodology is smart, will be made”. In fact, there will probably be a lot of them. though. It knows that we are afraid, or at the very least extremely cautious, when it comes to trying new things and fearful This tolerance of failure is not an option. Companies with of making mistakes. So it creates a safe environment for trial and error. a severe mistake allergy will harvest an “If it ain’t broke,
don’t ﬁx it” culture. And this will result in the innovation Google Answers—were both uncharted territory for the company. While AdSense grew to be … of absolutely nothing. That is a very rocky road to be a multi-billion-dollar business, Google Answers (which lets users post questions and pay an going down today. Even yesterday, for that matter, if we can expert for the answer) was retired after four years. believe the research that Shell performed to uncover the 7 secrets of long-lived companies. Besides fostering decen- Even while Google Answers failed, Wojcicki said they learned a lot in that time, and were tralization and collaborative forms of management (ﬂat able to apply the knowledge they had gathered to the development of future products. She organization, anyone?), these long-lived companies were states “If we’d been afraid to fail, we never would have tried Google Answers or AdSense, and particularly tolerant of activities in the margin: outliers, missed an opportunity with each one”. True, these ‘experiments’ can hardly be called small experiments and eccentricities within the boundaries of the bets (though they might seem so to a giant like Google), but the spirit in which they were cohesive ﬁrm, which kept stretching their understanding of developed, ﬁts within the philosophy of ‘fail fast’. possibilities. Real survivors and winners have always cher- ished experiments, and–as one needs to be when testing Spotify does it differently: with small quick and dirty experiments that are killed really fast things out–were thus tolerant of failure. In today’s fast- if they don’t work. Their ‘squads’—similar to scrum teams and designed to feel like a mini- moving environment, this mindset is even more essential. startup–are even encouraged to spend roughly 10% of their time on ‘hack days’. On those days employees do whatever they want, typically trying out new ideas and sharing them with We understand that this may just appear ‘wrong’ to most colleagues. marketing organizations. Because we have been brought up to believe that all blunders will cast a shadow on our “We’re here trying to ‘manufacture & fail’ on a regular basis, and we think that’s how you reputation . But those who decide to take the leap, will learn”, is how Dave McClure, the angel investor and founder of 500 start-ups, put it. “Getting be walking with giants. Google, just to call out a relevant used to that, bouncing back from that, being able to ﬁgure out what people hate and turn that big hitter, is well-known for its ‘fail fast and learn’ culture. into what people love... If you’re not willing to take the risk of failing and experience failure, 15 Susan Wojcicki, Google’s Senior Vice-President of Adver- you’re never going to ﬁgure out what the right path is to success.”8 tising, even incorporated “Never fail to fail” a while ago into her “eight pillars of innovation”. She describes how two of the ﬁrst projects she worked on at Google—AdSense and
1 Ch apt er one M ark etin Testing, g in the momenttesting, - 1.1 Ad one, two apt If you want to be able to react in a ﬂ exible manner to the market, you must know what really No wonder that Gartner predicted that, by 2017, the CMO works and what does not. And you must know it all the time, because what was effective will spend more on IT than the CIO does. It did not always yesterday will not necessarily be so today or tomorrow. Agile marketing is therefore big on use to be so. Remember when John Wannamaker said “Half testing and measuring. Not just after the project, like traditional marketers do. During the the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I entire marketing engagement as well. don’t know which half”. The good news is that, now more than ever, we have solutions at hand to carefully analyze Continuous monitoring and measuring of how our efforts most of our efforts, and even in (near) real time. All kinds of smart web analytics tools can inﬂ uence consumers allows us to keep learning what is show us how customers came to our website, how long they stayed there and where they actually working and what we should change. The awkward 16 went before leaving or buying. Clever Big Data solutions can even analyze video streams thing is that a lot of (marketing) organizations lack the from in-store camera systems and create mappings of customer foot trafﬁ c throughout the elasticity and innovation mindset to really act upon this stores. Once merged with sales data we are now able to optimize the product placement in information in a timely fashion. This is one of the major our stores. Or we can use social media sentiment analysis to learn how consumers really feel points where an agile methodology can prove to be of about our company, brand or services. value.
Parting with Another important part of agile marketing is Perfection the ‘Good Enough’ prin- ciple. In agile marketing, perfect is the enemy of good. Because timing is everything is today’s fast-paced market. Some marketers will have difﬁculty with this. They will want to get everything right before getting their website or e-book out there. Those who wait for 100% perfection may spend so much time getting there that they risk losing the valuable window of opportunity. They also fail to realize that total control is an illusion in an environment that Boring moves like greased lightning, anyhow. Now, please do not misunderstand our position. It is is the right commendable to be striving for perfection. We all need that mindset if we want to achieve great things. You should thought at the always aim for excellence, settle for good and don’t sweat the mistakes when they happen. 17 wrong time. Jack Gardner author
Two people will collectively know more than one. Three will know more than two. And when you have a room full of smart people sharing their knowledge, there’s very little you can’t accomplish together. 18 Douglas C. Merrill, organizational guru and former CIO at Google
Chapter 1.2 Marketing Collaborate! in the moment We are living in a world that is brimming over with data more difﬁcult it is to simply “keep up” by yourself. And it’s not that our brains are becoming and information. And it is coming at us from all sides at less developed. Rather it is our individual relative knowledge level which is decreasing the same time: from our own neatly stacked databases and through no fault of our own. It’s informational overload at its core. metadata or in a much more messy, unstructured format from the Internet, social networks, smartphones, digital In such an environment, having employees or even departments work alone on their little TV, security cameras, voter registrations, sports statistics, island is not an option. We all know silos crush intelligence. Today is all about building weather reports, etc. And it keeps growing. Faster and bridges and destroying useless boundaries. The more connections you have, the smarter you 9 11 faster. In the US alone, the digital universe is expected to are. Our brain functions that way , and so should our companies. Because when our markets grow from 898 exabytes to 6.6 zettabytes between 2012 and our consumers act like networks, so should we. If ’location, location, location’ is the and 2020. That is more than 25% a year!10 motto of real estate agents, then ‘connection, connection, connection’ should be that of the agile organization, be it marketing or other. 19 Though incredibly full of potential for organizations when analyzed correctly–not in the least for their marketing That is why smart companies work with connectors. Virtual ‘linkers’ like online internal departments–this abundance of information has severe communities and smart knowledge management systems. Or architectural uniﬁers like open consequences for our individual employees as well. To put ofﬁce spaces that increase communication and contact between employees. Or human ones it very bluntly: the more information there is at hand, the like social media specialists that connect with our customers.
1 Ch We too, at EMC, use such connectors in our agile marketing It is all about creating bridges between departments, branches, employees, projects and apt er one story, as you will learn in the next chapter. We work with partners. It is about connected collaboration. Between business and marketing. Between Engagement Managers that bridge the gaps between marketing and IT. And between our ultra-specialized experts that need to work together like M ark the business owners in our company and our numerous, closely knit guerrilla groups and combine their talents. etin slightly siloed marketing sub-departments. g in the moment Markets are disappearing, The agile - 1.2 C becoming networks of Agile marketing is so serious about collaboration that collaboration it streamlines it by means of a methodology, that the o l information with the l abor method development world calls ‘Scrum’. This agile software at customer at their heart. e! And if the outside world development framework has a strong focus on team unity, face-to-face communication and customers. It becomes a network, is well suited for projects with rapidly changing or highly emergent requirements. In other Peter companies will have to Hinssen words, perfect for a marketing environment. follow suit. IT thought leader and author How Scrum works Surprisingly though, many of our marketing departments are still built in a very top-down and stovepiped manner. The process starts with a project backlog. This is a well-deﬁned list of tasks requested 20 by the business owner or developed by the team to achieve their goals. It evolves Collaboration for them is just passing a ﬁnished piece of via a series of short iterations called sprints, which last from one to four weeks. Each ‘product’ on to the next one, with very little communication sprint begins with a brief planning meeting and concludes with a review. or interaction between all the separate players. They afford very few connections to their fellow employees of other During the Sprint Planning meeting, the team reviews the project backlog and agrees departments. Agile marketing can help solve that problem. upon the tasks to be accomplished during the current sprint. During the entire sprint,
the team meets up every day for a short 15-minute standup meeting. People are Combining literally standing up during them, in order to force them to really keep it short and One of the strongest efﬁcient. The goal is to have each member of the team answer three questions at the forces forces of agile marketing standup meetings: is the manner in which it works with cross- functional teams. The standup meetings have business 3 owners, with very different backgrounds, working alongside What did 1 Are there marketing professionals of all kinds. Team members learn I do any obstacles yesterday? 2 that stand in tips, tricks, approaches or insights from one another What will which they would never have gleaned on their own. When I do today? my way? you go agile, you will be surprised how much you and your colleagues will learn about your organization or the expertise of others. Information that is hugely valuable to everyone trying to maneuver in a fast paced environment. With this approach, everyone involved in the team knows everything they need to know Innovation about the project on a permanent basis and–as important—they know that the others know it too. Everyone agrees together on what the priorities are too, which is a problem that a lot is not grown in a of marketing departments are facing (often the prioritized project is the one tabled by the greenhouse, business owner that is screaming the loudest or carries the most weight). 21 it evolves in an The Cross The great thing about this methodology and especially the daily standup meetings is Innovation ecosystem. Manifesto12 that you create an ultra-transparent and open environment that leaves little room for miscommunication.
1 Ch This interconnected thinking and innovation ecosystem apt er one that agile marketing enables reminds of what cross-inno- vators are trying to do. True, this is a different story than M ark agile marketing. But we want to prove that innovation is etin often just the pooling and combination of little, clever g in the moment I invented nothing new. thoughts. It does not always come from one big pioneering idea that no one ever thought of, although that is how most I simply assembled into a car the people do perceive innovation. Clever originals like CREAX - 1.2 Chelp companies innovate based on the great premise that discoveries of other men behind o l “Somewhere, someone has already solved your problem”. l abor whom were centuries of work…. Their cross-functional experts solve speciﬁc problems by at e! offering a helicopter view on existing technologies across To teach that a comparatively all industries. few men are responsible for And such an approach does work. Wildcat Discovery Tech- the greatest forward steps of nologies, for instance, applies drug discovery technology to design better batteries in the same way that pills are devel- mankind is the worst sort oped. Sometimes innovation is ‘just’ recycling something from another industry. Even some of the ‘big’ innovations of nonsense. Henry Ford were born that way. Henry Ford, pioneer from the auto- 22 mobile industry and founder of the Ford Motor Company, boldly stated the following: The agile methodology enables something similar. Different minds with different back- grounds and expertise work together and enlighten each other with information they would likely never have acquired otherwise.
viewed favorably to say the least. You will be held fully responsible for wasting the other team members’ – who were counting on you to be ready – time. So you are compelled to tell the It’s on others “I will not make it”. Some of you might wonder if such a structured and process-driven approach to marketing you! will stiﬂe creativity. We ﬁrmly believe the opposite. Agile marketing’s efﬁcient way of working and communicating frees up time to be more inventive. It allows different personalities to fertilize each other’s ideas into something even more original. It grants the right to try out ‘crazy’ things, fail fast, adapt and learn from them. If you do it right, it will drive imagination and innovation. That concludes the more general and conceptual part of our story. Now, let’s all go to the lobby. Bear with me, here. There is a valid reason why we should begin there. All will be revealed in chapter 2. One of the best beneﬁts of the emphasis of agile marketing on close collaboration, comes in the form of greater trans- parency and accountability. When a project team talks so openly about their achievements, the to do’s and the challenges they are facing, you create a certain kind of 23 peer pressure-induced state of accountability. When you promised everyone “My website copy will be ready in 2 weeks” but never told them, at any of the standup meet- ings between then and the deadline, that there was no way you would be ready in time, you know that you will not be
2 Our Engagement Managers build 24 bridges between all the stakeholders in a marketing project
Chapter EMC Corporate 2 Marketing goes agile: our story We are big believers in how actions and reality checks First off…we did not embrace agile eat words for breakfast any day of the week. Any ‘how to’ Solving two marketing to just “do something booklet is essentially an empty vessel until you enrich it business problems different”. We were aware, and recognized 2 with a real life example. So we will tell you the story – of that we had two very serious challenges how we, at EMC, implemented agile marketing. This is the handicapping our Corporate Marketing tale of our team and the Corporate Marketing organization. organization: one from the perspective of Corporate Marketing and another one from that It is a human success story. And a real adventure. We are of our business owners. The challenges were not new nor were they uncommon. Fortunately, extremely proud of what we accomplished, but as with Jonathan Martin, our SVP of Marketing is all about trying new ideas and taking a risk to force every big change, there were some bumps in the road. And improvements. He challenged us to address the issues and we took it on with his backing 25 as ‘agile’ dictates, we will be open about those too because and support. the painful parts of reality are so critical to the success of anything we undertake. The ﬁrst issue was our Corporate Marketing department was continuously overwhelmed with requests. Some of it had to do with our type A, hard driving culture. “The more I do, the
2 Ch better I’m doing”: that was pretty much the mindset of our internal workforce. And most of apt er tw the time this drive to achieve is a good thing – but not in every situation. In reaction to this o continuously strained workload, the Corporate Marketing teams often prioritized in a less EMC than scientiﬁ c manner – because it was their only choice and sole way to survive. If you C orpor were a very well connected colleague—or maybe just a really nice one—your project naturally at e M landed near the top of the pile. But if you were too pushy or failed to follow through in past ark encounters you were likely to be in for a signiﬁ cant wait. This is not a condemnation of anyone etin …this is just human nature. And we will bet that we are not the only ones dealing with this g g oe kind of situation. s agi l e: our sThe second challenge that we had to tackle was that our business owners–those requiring t Participative or the services of (multiple) Corporate Marketing functions—were pretty much left to their y own devices. They often had to guess which of the Corporate Marketing groups they had evaluation to engage, possibly forgetting rather important ones through no fault of their own. And if they did become aware that they needed additional help and capabilities, it often came to light at the very end of a project or effort. Such oversight is not surprising when working with 17 different functions (website, creative, social media, video…) and about 180 different In corporate culture change, specialists. As an example our dedicated SEO experts, were constantly being overlooked at always involve all your the outset and were often asked to participate when it was already too late and copy had to stakeholders at a very early stage be adapted to set things right. The result? ... Wasted time, rework and project delays. 26 Agile marketing is very big on collaboration. So the ﬁ rst Because of the rather stovepiped working model of Corporate Marketing, these business thing we did when we undertook the task of investigating owners had to address all the different functions separately, ending up repeating the same the problem, was to get together a team (of volunteers) to story numerous times. This was not only inefﬁ cient from a time management point of view; deﬁ ne how we were going to address these issues within an extra danger was that their content and requests were often partially lost in translation. our organization. And, in the spirit of working as a collabo-
rative unit, one of our ﬁrst ideas was to quiz every function After weeks and weeks of brainstorming and interviewing all of the stakeholders, our volun- in Corporate Marketing and ask them to deﬁne the biggest teer team agreed that the communication and the collaboration between all marketing problems they were dealing with in their day-to-day work. stakeholders and the business owners of projects was disconnected and not ﬂuid enough. One of the main things that we dug up was both simple We were operating in an environment that was, while hard working and well meaning, siloed and common to all parts of the organization. Every function and overtaxed. We needed connectors. Bridge builders. Middle (wo)men, if you will. That’s felt the same way. They were frustrated by the fact that they how the idea of the Engagement Manager came about. We needed them to weave a strong were not being involved from the ground ﬂoor up. Everyone web between all the stakeholders in a marketing project. wanted to be involved earlier in the cycle of work. The late entries to projects conﬂicted with their understanding of Before we go any further, it should be noted that we did have great marketing efforts before the right requirements and deadlines and their agenda. No we went agile. There is no denying the talent of our experts in each of their functional areas. one ever had a clear grasp of just how all the part were And their determination and drive to get things accomplished was second to none. But as we supposed to come together. said in an earlier chapter, we could have adapted faster to certain situations and could have produced content and assets even more effectively and in a shorter period of time. All of our As a by-product of this effort we discovered one of the marketing efforts could have been more focused and more hard-hitting if we’d limited their basics of effective change management: if you want to number to a few ‘Wow!’ moments, instead of simply working to produce as much as we could. change your corporate culture, involve all your stake- And these challenges were only going to become bigger in a world of such an increasingly fast holders at a very early stage, and let them have their say in pace. That is why we decided to tackle all of these issues with an agile marketing approach. what’s next. It is much more difﬁcult to engage employees when they are confronted with a fait accompli. Any change project should be bottom-up driven and collaborative. The approach of one person jumping forward and demanding 27 Let’s all go Our concept of the Engagement Manager is partially “From now on we are going to do agile marketing, no inspired by a Scrum Master13 and a Project Manager, matter what you want or what your challenges are”, will be to the lobby… but the engagement manager is truly its own beast. sure to end up in disaster. We like to describe ourselves as the front door to marketing. Business owners (those needing services), go through that door and together
2 Ch we begin our work with them in the lobby (You see, we apt The Agile Marketing Methodology–EMC Style er tw promised the lobby was coming back in our story). If they o need our assistance with an ‘engagement’, we will work to EMC When business owners come to our ‘engagement’ ofﬁce, we ﬁrst hold a Business identify just whom from our ‘marketing house’ they require C orpor for their project. Objectives Meeting (BOM) with them. This is when we outline the objectives and at activities and identify all key stakeholders. We also check if they are really ready for e M the project. Because we are not going to bring everyone together to ﬁnd out that the ark After that, we call every one of the stakeholders of that etin particular project, the business owners and all the business owners are nowhere near to delivering that core message we need to start g g the project. oe marketing experts –our ‘virtual’ team–together for one, big s agi meeting. The business owner only needs to tell his story We always try to begin with the basics. We avoid asking “what do you want” (a website, l e: our sonce. Everyone is in on it from the ground ﬂoor up and a folder, a white paper,…) because what business owners initially want is not always t the same as what they need. We dig a little and inquire about their objectives, their or people can decide about priorities, timing and additional y needs or opportunities together, in terms of the marketing target audience, their budget, their past marketing products,… We act as ﬁlters. Some- strategy and the clear outputs. This way we have addressed times we ﬁnd out together that the speciﬁcs they had in mind initially should be the two business problems we described above. It becomes re-evaluated. That is why the BOMs are so crucial. a uniﬁed effort for the Corporate Marketing teams and a In the iterative planning meeting, we gather all the stakeholders in the same room. one stop shopping experience for the business owner. That way we ensure upfront participation and understanding for all. We act as advisors, asking pointed questions if things are not formulated clearly or suggesting things that seem to have been forgotten. As engagement manager we do not profess to be experts in ANY of the Corporate Marketing functions but we do act as advocates for all of them. 28 We want to make sure all the possible bases are covered by asking questions and challenging teams to think more broadly. At the end of the Iterative Planning meeting we, as a virtual team also deﬁne the sprint sets together, clearly stating the activity backlog, deliverables, participants and timelines. Unlike in agile software development, our standups are not conducted daily. We had
to scale them down – again a reality check. We could not afford to require that our departments or functions–creative or the .com team for instance–had to participate The engagement in 5 or more standup meetings every day. So we try to organize the standups in a more efﬁcient manner, sometimes merging two of them into one. We do have them manager: tying the frequently though–about 2 to 3 times a week–because they are essential for the marketing network together. communication, transparency and accountability of all key players. And, yes, we DO ask all of those that are in the room to stand up during the entire meeting, although we cannot vouch for those participating via conference call from other departments around the world. Standing up forces everyone to keep it short. This is always a chal- So what is so special about our engagement managers? lenge in any meeting as we all know. But forcing the standup actually works. Well, they know our Corporate Marketing department through and through and are the perfect advocates for At the end of each engagement, we offer a demonstration of all the deliverables and show the connections between the assets. This is an important part to stimulate the each of the 17 different functions. When Business Owners synergy of a team: “Look at what we accomplished together”. Most marketers simply come to us, we bring them in contact with the team they move on from one project to the next and never celebrate their accomplishments or need but we also educate them about innovations they see just how it is that THEIR work ﬁt into the bigger picture. Some of them never even could beneﬁt from. We might tell them, for instance, about see the end product they had their part in. Being confronted with results–good and the short 45-second videos or a ‘fun’ infographic others bad– fosters responsibility and job satisfaction. have made and which will take best advantage of various social media tools. Our engagement managers are facilita- Testing, measuring and reusing what’s good and cutting out what does not work: tors and enablers. Their only goal is to make others shine that is also an essential part of agile marketing. After each engagement, we hold and be the best they can by really working together and retrospectives, asking ourselves “Did we plan effectively” and “Did we deliver?” so enriching each other’s experience. we can keep reﬁning our process. We look at the data to see what worked, what did 29 not and why. Only then can we keep improving and innovating. What they are not, though, are project managers, hounding everyone with their checklists to make sure that everyone does their job. With a limited number of Engagement Managers and a multitude of projects and marketing
2 Ch efforts, there is simply no time for that. But is goes further At the very beginning, our colleagues feared that the EMs would complicate things. They apt er tw than that. We want to avoid a Big Brother feeling. We thought that adding an extra stakeholder to the marketing mix would increase the risk of o simply refused to add an extra layer of hierarchy and start misunderstandings, mistakes or slower processes. This would indeed have been the case EMC checking up on people. That goes against everything that with ‘sequential collaboration’: where one person does something and then gives it to the C orpor agile marketing stands for and is against all the latest next and that one gives it to the next… That was what collaboration used to be: like a relay at e M organizational trends. We ‘just’ make sure that everyone race. But our marketing team, these days, is playing like a football team. We enable ‘simulta- ark works together better and communicates better. We are neous collaboration’: working together in the same place at the same time, keeping an eye on etin there to ‘kill’ miscommunication, mistakes or double work what the other players are doing and helping each other until a goal is indeed reached. If you g g oe and help drive better and faster results. And we will never get everyone in the same room together, with one mediator facilitating things, there is no way s agi tell the marketing specialists how to do their jobs. They are that this complicates matters. On the contrary: it makes things so much simpler. l e: our sthe experts. They know what they are doing. And it is essen- t or tial that they feel that we respect that. y Our agile marketing approach allows everyone to be pro- active and consultative, rather than reactive and passive. As we said, our marketing experts actually used to be ﬁre- ﬁghting all the time, with every request coming at them, of course, being “super-urgent and absolutely essential for business value”. Our collaborative engagements allow them the luxury to ﬁlter the priorities together, pick the 30 most valuable projects, work more efﬁciently and become proactive, rather than fending people off. That is a great way to fuel creativity and innovation. It buys them time to dream up new things and actually do what they do best!
marketing teams were completely overbooked and over- Like taking Simplicity. That is one of the core features of agile marketing, worked, a lot of the projects did not get out on time and candy from one of the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto, and one of quality suffered. a baby our favorite ones. The framework and processes we use for our engagements are deliberately kept simple. We Business in general and marketing speciﬁcally are all about always use the same steps, as described above. This kind choices. You cannot opt for a quantitative (focus on price of ‘automates’ the collaboration and makes it into a habit. You can only break bad habits– and efﬁciency) AND a qualitative (customer experience) like working in silos and following the same pattern without ever innovating–by ‘overwriting’ value proposition for your business model. It is also impos- them with good ones. sible to have one product or one message that speaks to the entire world. 16-year-old girls who love Taylor Swift and In a way we do this by repeating the simple processes, as described above. This well-oiled live with their parents in a two bedroom condo do not want ‘automation’ of collaboration, offers our specialists the room and the time to be at their (to hear) the same thing as 59-year-old COOs who listen to best: copywriters have more time to write better texts, graphic designers supply the most Miles Davis in their Aspen Mansion while sipping on a cup surprising visuals and social media gurus develop the most spectacular campaigns. Agile of Kopi Luwak coffee. So we carefully choose how we will marketing speciﬁcally enables all parties to focus on the activities they do best. package our product and what message we will send out to whom. Life is really simple, but we insist Choices are what deﬁne us. And that is why we help on making it complicated. Confucius business owners and marketing experts choose and prior- Chinese itize 20 projects over the maybe 60 projects they might philosopher have done before. That makes each project all the more 31 outstanding and innovative. Agile marketing, you see, is about quality, not quantity. But this simplicity is not only ingrained in our agile marketing processes. It is also how we decide about the priorities. We make sure that Corporate Marketing does “fewer things better”. As we noted, our culture used to be very “the more, the better” driven. But if our
2 Ch Simplicity also comes from empowerment. Instead of fostering long and tedious approval media, blog or advertising activities. Newsjacking only apt er tw processes involving many tiers all the way up the chain, we trust that our marketing experts works if it goes fast. Waiting for approval from 6 levels of o know what they are doing (together). That allows them to react with the least possible delay. management will not cut it. Just keep it simple. EMC We want to keep that window of opportunity wide open and get our message out there in C orpor time – in essence, striking while the iron is hot. Like when we newsjack an item for our social at e M ark etin g g oe s agi l e: our s t Timing is or y everything! 32
best choice in a given circumstance. And even more so if you are working in an environment Timing beats of driven employees who often just want to show you how they ‘nailed it’. Be aware of that. In our agile marke- perfection. ting engagements, we also advise the stake- holders not to beat an action to death. If it is 80% ready, Be agile about just get it out there when the opportunity is ripe. This, of We were agile about our own agile marketing course, mainly applies to larger and composite marketing your agile too. We saw it as an experiment. We ﬁrst started projects. Some projects, situations or industries are unﬁt marketing to work with a group of volunteers, very much for this approach. You cannot complete 80% of an airplane aware that this was an initiative that might fail. and then try and see if it works. We will also never ask a Once we’d gathered enough information about copywriter to ﬁnish 80% of a blog article and then post it. the ‘as is’ situation of Corporate Marketing and felt we knew enough about the agile prin- ciples, we started with just one small bet. We chose one speciﬁc project and conducted a It will work in a situation where a website is fully functional pilot, doing all the things we had learned and trying out different things along the way. And and ﬂawless on the content side, but might for instance when that project worked out, we did another one and before we knew it we became ‘ofﬁcial’. miss two non-essential pages. Or it might in a campaign Instead of a volunteer army we built a full time organization with dedicated engagement for which we have a folder, a website and a social offen- managers on staff. And then we started enabling more and more engagements, involving sive ready, but for which we are still waiting for a longer more and more business owners and marketing experts. white paper. We’ll just get them out there and add the white paper in the mix later on. In the (agile) spirit of honesty and transparency, we have to admit that it was a rocky road at ﬁrst. As we said, most people tend to get extremely uncomfortable when it comes to change. 33 Timing is everything in marketing today. You have to We are not kidding when we say it: some of our colleagues actually used to duck away when balance that ‘missing’ 20% against the window of oppor- they saw us coming in the halls. They feared we were going to tell them how to do their job. tunity, when you can make the biggest bang. Does this They thought we were going to monitor them or cause them to lose precious time. We were approach scare people? Yes. As we said, it is human nature perceived as “Red Tape”, inhibitors to getting the job done. We were not necessarily the most to try to get it ‘just right’. It’s just that it’s not always the popular folks at that point in time.
2 Ch It was a blessing that we did a pilot project ﬁrst so we could show the next ones on the list apt er tw that the agile approach worked. And thankfully we had involved everyone from the outset by o asking what their challenges were! Now we could literally ask them “Did you not say that you EMC were always held up by the other colleagues because they were never transparent about how C orpor they would not meet the deadline, and was this not solved by organizing the 3 transparent at e M meetings per week?”… People don’t like to be told what to do, because you could just be The EMC agile ark selling them hot air if you have no proof of value. You need to be able to show them what you etin did and what the results were. That is also why we always have a demonstration at the end of marketing mission g g oe each engagement meeting. So we can display what was done. s agi l e: our s One of the best things to come out of our new 1. Do fewer things better t or The treasure trove and more efﬁciently y way of marketing was the merging of great minds of collaboration working together. Innovation is not just about 2. Enables all parties to focus on the big brainstorms or the high-proﬁle innova- the activities they do best tion jams focusing on revolutionary inventions. We believe that if you have just the right 3. Allows everyone to be proactive people working together, smarter and more closely, they will automatically cross-pollinate and consultative, versus reactive each other’s ideas and innovate. It is like the cross-innovation we talked about earlier, but and passive within the perimeters of just one organization. Going agile has pushed our marketing team 4. Facilitates prioritization and allows beyond the utilitarian into innovation. It brings what Peter Drucker said to a whole new level: everyone to work on (or receive) the 34 Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, most important items as agreed upon by all the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and Peter 5. Communication and status trans- innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing Drucker parency author and is the distinguishing, unique function of the business. management 6. Accountability is king consultant
We already wrote about most of the principles stated in going to get ﬁred”. In such a safe environment all the marketing stakeholders feel comfort- our mission above, but we just want to elaborate on how able enough to tell the truth, and that is crucial in our standups or other meetings. We just we work on achieving transparency and accountability, want to take away that crippling fear of failing that is such a big obstacle for not only efﬁ- which really are two of the most essential ones of our agile ciency, but creativity and innovation as well. marketing approach. In all of the projects they are involved in, our Engagement Managers want to cultivate the feeling that “we are all in this together”. They want the stakeholders to feel that they are Zapping the not just doing their own thing but are part of a greater whole. Everyone is there on an equal playing ﬁeld. No one is more important than the next man. There is no hierarchy. There is Have you noticed corporate nod no ‘boss’ on an engagement. Just a bunch of people trying to achieve the best project they that when you ask ever did, together. A key feature for achieving this kind of responsibility is peer pressure, of people how they course. People will just try that little harder in a transparent environment where their efforts are, they always tend to answer “Fine” or “Great”, even if are permanently out in the open. As we said, the tricky part is, of course, not to slide into a they are not? We call it the corporate nod. And it’s all about Big Brother environment, governed by command and control. being afraid to say you are not going to meet a require- ment or a deadline—for whatever reason–and keeping it But the accountability of our marketing stakeholders is not merely driven by peer pressure. to yourself. It is about being ashamed to admit that you are We try to endow our colleagues with a sense of pride and joy about what they have accom- “failing”. Because whatever outcome other than the one plished together. That is why we always hold extensive demonstrations at the end of each that was projected up front is a ﬂop in our eyes. It’s natural. engagement. So everyone can see the results. Yes, we do bask together in the golden light We hit on this already in chapter 1. of the successful ones. But we remain critical as well. We have retrospectives too, where we talk about the lesser outcomes or what could have been done better. So we can learn from 35 The ‘corporate nod’ is a habit that’s very hard to break. those and get better. But we think we’ve cracked it to a large extent. One of the driving forces behind this was that our leadership team really meant it when they said “If you have an idea, try it. If it blows up or even smolders to death, that’s ok. You are not
2 Ch Some of the above has, of course, already been discussed apt er tw It’s all in Not only did we formulate a mission for our agile in depth–collaborative, transparent, ﬂexible, empow- o marketing project, we also deﬁned and documented ered, simple, fail/learn and “keep going!” (about the 80% EMC the mind(set) a mindset as a guideline for all our efforts. We try to threshold and get it out there)–so we will just focus on C orpor be social, for one. We share all of our demonstrations those that still need a little explanation. at e M and retrospectives, all of our ‘recipes’ (we, for instance, have some very elaborate roadmaps ark for the different kinds of product launches), methods, frameworks, work plans and other best Global, ﬁrst. EMC is a global company and thus needed etin practices on an online internal community. Every piece of content about every engagement to take this into consideration when going agile. It is not g g oe is 100% open to anybody. We work to ﬁnd the latest tools and communication methods and always easy to juggle collaboration and standups between s agi are committed to sharing best practices online. It’s important to have this ingrained in the stakeholders that work in Boston, California and India. l e: our sDNA of the organization. There are limited timeslots in which we can get together t or and, obviously, getting them in the same room will not y work. So we have a mix of ‘live’ standups and conference Mindset calls. But we make it work. Our Engagement Managers help make sure that every campaign is ‘global proof’. We always check–before imple- menting them on all kinds of carriers—whether certain slogans or visuals are acceptable in certain countries or Social Empowered cultures. That is, for instance, how we learned we could not 36 Collaborative Global possibly use the bullet train as an image for our ‘Back to the future’ campaign in China, where there had been a bullet Transparent Simple train accident recently with several casualties. Of course, situations like that cannot always be predicted in advance. Flexible Fail/Learn Keep Going! But through close collaboration with all the international
branches, we can try to avoid these things as proactively as possible. And when we don’t, we just react as quickly as we can to those kinds of situations, by using the agile approach. Keep We keep measuring We are dead serious reinventing about revitalizing and reinventing yourself ourselves. We keep ourselves monitoring, measuring and adjusting our efforts. After each engagement and together with all the project stakeholders, we analyze what worked, and what did not. We measure our launches–seeing that those are extra important to us and are managed in We use what we call our ‘micro-dashboards’ as a directive a very thorough manner—differently. We use a ‘fun’ infographic which documents very thor- to make sure we discuss everything in detail and never oughly the impact of our efforts. It shows the attendance at our virtual events, which were the miss a thing. We talk about how the collaboration went and most popular breakout sessions, what was the amount of downloads of collateral and which what the new insights or innovations were. We discuss if were the most popular ones, how many of our tweets were shared… All of this is, of course, there was any course correction or issue avoidance. We intended so we can quickly and clearly see what worked and what did not. So we can readjust tackle how we communicated and where the roadblocks the next time around. 37 were. We go over each step carefully together to see what we can learn and what ought to be changed. We also organized a focus group with an outside supplier. That way all the engagement stakeholders could impart, in full anonymity, what they thought about our methodology and approach. We received some very helpful insights from that and now we are looking into it to see how we can close the loop on the feedback we received.
2 Ch On top of that we now register the accomplishments of our engagement team as a whole. So innovation. So it is our job to be chameleons, to change apt er tw we built a quarterly macro-dashboard to self-examine ourselves in the most critical manner. when our environment does and come up with fresh ideas. o We tried to keep it as simple as possible, by looking at it in just 5 different dimensions. It That is exactly why we take our ‘temperature’ so much with EMC shows–among other things—that we had a 40% increase in engagements from 2012 to 2013, the retrospectives and the dashboards. That is why we are C orpor how many of those were annual, how many and what type of launches we had, how many of currently working on a ‘Chapter 2’ in our agile marketing at e M the stakeholders we reached and what kind (Corporate Marketing, sales, business sponsors, project, to deﬁne all the things we’ve learned along the ark vendors or partners…). And last, but not least, we look at all the innovations in Corporate way and what the next steps should be. We keep looking at etin Marketing, in our launches, as well as in our engagement methodology. what’s next. Being agile marketers, there is no other choice. g g oe s agi One of the best innovations in Corporate Marketing that was enabled through agile marketing So, that was our agile marketing story. We hope that you l e: our swas the prestigious Human Face of Big Data project, one of the largest-ever collaborative found it helpful. We tried to be as honest as possible and t or events in human history. Millions of people around the world were able to share and compare not leave out the hard parts. As we all know, there are no y their lives by means of a free mobile app. The project triggered a global conversation about real hero stories in business, although literature would humanity’s new ability to collect, analyze, triangulate and visualize vast amounts of data in have us believe the contrary. Mistakes are made. Thanks real time. to ’agile’, these will no longer cast a shadow on our reputa- tion, but teach us and grant us freedom from habits. We try to innovate wherever possible. Over the course of time, we began to look outside of Corporate Marketing and have brought other EMC departments into the mix. Launches are We are reminded of this quote by Thomas Edison: “I have a great example of how we step outside the box: we include our partner organizations, our not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”. communication teams and our ﬁeld teams as full participants ensuring that all key players are The words apply perfectly to the agile mindset. The irony 38 in the game from the beginning. is that there are so many versions of this quote around and 14 that only one of them is not actually a mistake. If we have Do not think, because we allow for experimentation and fast failure or focus on interaction indeed misquoted Edison, we sincerely apologize and we and collaboration, that ours is a ‘soft’ environment. Our management teams expect us to promise to get it right next time if we learn which one is the continuously reinvent ourselves. One of the core goals of our agile marketing is fostering true version. We are good with that.
To conclude: one of the things we love most about agile marketing is how human it is. Loads of methodologies or approaches start from some ideal type of character or mindset that a lot of us simply do not have. Agile is different. It takes into account all of our basic ﬂaws and bad habits and tries to act on them in a very simple, process- driven manner. It is all about taking away the complexities and making them simple. It knows that we are terriﬁed of failing and loathe change and tackles that – head on. It realizes that we like to keep things to ourselves and ﬁnds a loophole for that. Agile is smart. It knows that we are not perfect and starts from there. 39
3 40 If you want to make enemies, try to change something Woodrow Wilson
Chapter 3 The agile marketing starter’s roadmap We should be very clear about one thing here. We KNOW how difﬁcult it is to transform. The with the agile marketing concepts. It thrives in a trusting truth? Our own agile marketing team is not exactly made up of a group of ‘change-y’ type of and sharing environment. It prospers in a ﬂat management people. Just ask our colleagues. So we wanted to impart some lessons learned and some key structure that fosters collaboration, and where employees basics before we send you on off into the wilds of Agile Marketing. are empowered to do what they are best at without having to go through all the layers of the organization to receive approval. It is absolutely crucial that you have executive support for your Ensure agile marketing project. Your executives will be impacted by If your Management is intolerant of failure and demands the agile approach in more ways than one so it’s necessary to executive that everything is 100% perfect before it is released, have them on board. Moreover, their management style will be agile marketing might not be the way for you. You cannot 41 support an essential enabler (or deﬁnite roadblock, depending on the possible expect employees to experiment at will and then situation) of the agile methodology. be severely reprimanded each time they get something wrong. We cannot repeat it enough (and yes, we did already, many times…): autocratic managers operating in a unilateral, slow and competitive hierarchical environment will not match up
3 Ch If by chance you are dealing with such an environment, not ﬁt your challenges or your company’s culture. First evaluate how your organization is apt er thr you might want to have a serious conversation with your going about their tasks and document the pain points. Be thorough. Be relentless. If you want ee management team. It might seem madness to ask Manage- ‘agile’ to work for you, you ﬁrst need to unearth all the ﬂaws in your corporate culture and The agiment to change their leadership styles, just because existing processes, so you can attack them one by one. l Marketing would like to try out this new little agile trend. e m ark True enough. However, We would like to point out that we When you have found a method that will work for your type of challenges, be aware that this etin are living in a networked and increasingly ﬂattened envi- too will not be clean-cut and eternal. As your environment evolves, so will your organization g s t ar ronment in which only ultra-ﬂuid, collaborative, sharing, as a whole. Your marketing department will thus need to adjust your agile approach. You t er’s bottom-up driven organizations will thrive. As Jack Welch will need to implement all the things you learned through experimentation, failing and r o a once put it: “Change before you have to”. redirecting. Challenge yourself and your team on a permanent basis. There is no such thing dm ap as the perfect agile approach, as it needs to keep evolving all the time by its very nature and deﬁnition. Personalize There is no plug-and- it & keep play formula for the Forewarned is As Woodrow Wilson so nicely put it “If you want to agile methodology. We evolving forearmed make enemies, try to change something”. Intro- ‘marketized’ it to our own ducing agile marketing will deﬁnitely not make situation, keeping some you popular. In fact, 52% of those surveyed by things, adapting others or simply leaving them out. For VersionOne in its “7th annual state of agile development survey” gave “ability to change instance, in the agile development world the Scrum Master 42 organizational culture” as the biggest barrier to further agile adoption. 12% of them stated always has someone else lead the standup meeting every that “company philosophy or culture at odds with core agile value” was the leading cause of time. This would just have made things more complex in failed agile projects. To make it even scarier: according to the ‘2013 Change and Communica- our environment, so we never used that. tion ROI Study’, only about 55% of all change initiatives meet their original objectives. Develop your own method. Don’t just copy ours. It might
Agile marketing is not ‘just’ a methodology that you can implement in order to collaborate When you want to introduce culture better, react faster or become more innovative. It is a fundamental culture shift. According to Start changes it is essential that you Tobias Mayer, author of ‘The People’s Scrum: Agile Ideas for Revolutionary Transformation’, small start small–like we did, with a pilot Scrum is much more about changing the way we think than it is a process. project–and then carry on, step by step. In fact, this is not just one of So, as with every change management project, make sure to involve your stakeholders as the basics of change, but of ‘agile’ as well: work step by soon as you can, even before formulating the change objectives and the way to get there. In step, in short cycles and, after every deliverable, re-eval- the collaborative environment that is agile marketing, that’s how you should work anyway. Do uate and change course, if needed. not just ‘throw’ agile marketing at your marketing department. This will just make adapting it all the more harder. The good thing about that is, that you only need to really ‘convince’ the ﬁrst group of the pilot project. They will be the hardest sell. But once that project is over, and it was (more or less) a success, the next project will encounter less resistance. Because you will be able to show what you have achieved. Results speak so much louder than motiva- tional words and promises. So always catalogue your proof points and your successes for further use. Of course, there is a slight chance that your ﬁrst pilot project will fail, possibly even miserably. Be prepared for 43 that. But do not get discouraged. That too, is ‘agile’. Get back up on your feet, brush yourself off and try to ﬁnd out what exactly went wrong. Measure your mistakes, analyze their source, learn from that and try to adapt your personal agile marketing methodology to it.
3 Ch apt er thrSpread Keep communicating every step ee of the way. Show your success. The agithe word Have your management team l talk about agile marketing at e m ark internal meetings and presentations, even if it is a short etin reminder of just one of its core concepts (like the ‘fail fast g s t ar & learn’). Use an internal social platform to document all t er’s of your best practices and methodologies. Continuously r o a ‘advertising’ your agile marketing project is crucial if you dm ap want to involve and engage your entire marketing organi- zation. And our very last piece of advice: KEEP IT SIMPLE! It is one of the core components of agile marketing. What you are trying to do is to ‘simplify’ an increasingly complex envi- ronment with straightforward processes and collaborative best practices. Anything that will make your situation more complex should be avoided at all times. We repeat: KEEP IT SIMPLE! 44 Our life is frittered away by detail. Henry David Simplify, simplify. Thoreau poet and essayist
Conclusion I hope you enjoyed reading our e-book. I know my team believe it is, just like every parent in the world thinks that their child is the most beautiful, and I loved writing it, in the spirit of sharing insights and creative or brightest one in the world. (I know mine are.) But we do sincerely believe that we collaborating with peers. got it out there at the right time. And the fact that you have made it up to here proves that we are on the right track. We actually tried to apply the principles of agile marketing in writing this book. I sat down with my entire team and we Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my fellow team members for their help with decided what exactly we would add to it, enriching each this e-book as well as all of their innovative work from the inception of this agile marketing other’s perspectives and particular experiences. We tried to effort. None of this could have succeeded without you: keep it human as well and be transparent about the pitfalls and the mistakes we made, in the spirit of ‘practice what Steve Colombo, Amy Callahan, Carolyn Cerce, Jill Fitzgerald, Ellen Deutsch you preach’. Stay Agile! Is this the most perfect booklet you will ﬁnd about agile David Quinn marketing? Probably not. Although we would really like to Senior Director, Corporate Marketing at EMC Corporation 45 About David Quinn has led a variety of marketing functions for EMC in both web marketing and marketing support. In prior lives he managed the David Quinn introduction of web properties into Data General Corporation at the leading edge of the internet in the business environment including one of the ﬁrst ever business/sales oriented intranet sites. He is currently leading the Engagement Ofﬁce within EMC’s Corporate Marketing organization with a crack team that is continually working to deﬁne, deploy and reﬁne new methodologies for success within the marketing organization.
Sources 1 1. Google/Shopper Sciences, The Zero Moment of Truth Macro 1. 9. The digital universe are the digital bits created, replicated 2 Study, U.S., April 2011 and consumed in a single year. Chapter 2. Who else but Charles Darwin? 10. The digital universe in 2020: Big Data, Bigger Digital 3. The idea to apply Nate Silver’s fox & hedgehog simile to agile Shadows and Biggest Growth in the Far East, IDC Country marketing, comes from Jim Ewell’s ‘Agile Marketing’ blog. Brief, sponsored by EMC Corporation. Read it here, it’s really smart. 11. Research has revealed that intelligent people have more efﬁcient connections between their different brain areas. 12. http://www.cross-innovation.eu/practices/manifesto/ 1.1 4. “Why We’re So Afraid of Change -- And Why That Holds Businesses Back” on www.forbes.com 5. Charles Duhigg, The Power Of Habit 2 13. According to the Scrum software development framework from agile marketing, the scrum master is a buffer between 6. “The 3 Most Dangerous Psychological Barriers to Change” Chapter the team and any distracting inﬂuences on http://agilelifestyle.net/ 14. From “I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it 7. This research was never published but incorporated in wrong” (which is also attributed to Benjamin Franklin in other “The living company: Habits for survival in a turbulent business versions) to “ …I Have Just Found 10,000 Things That Do Not environment”: see the article entitled “The living company: Work” or “…I have simply found 999 ways how not to create a Habits for survival in a turbulent business environment” light bulb” and there are still slightly different variations to be on www.businessweek.com found. Feel free to let me know which the right version is. I’m 8. Why Silicon Valley Loves Failures, on http://www.inc.com/ actually quite curious.
Agile Marketing When clear and simple processes drive innovation