Summit Podcast - Agile Marketing with Stacey Ackerman

What is Agile Marketing?


Marketing teams are asked to do more with less everyday. Changing the process of how a marketing team operates might seem like a sure fire way to help your organization increase their output. This week we discuss the ins and outs of Agile Marketing with Stacey Ackerman. While it isn’t a new concept, making the switch can be more challenging than most anticipate.




Kyle Hamer: (00:02)
Welcome to the summit, the podcast where we bring you knowledge and insights from industry professionals and the leaders. No fluff, no double digit overnight growth schemes. We’re having real conversations with real answers and real people who are living it, breathing it, and doing it every day. Today’s guest and joining us on the summit is Stacey Ackerman of agility by coaching and training. And of course, as always, my name is Kyle Hamer and I’m your host. Stacy, welcome to the program.

Stacey Ackerman: (00:32)
Thanks for having me, Kyle.

Kyle Hamer: (00:34)
Now for those of you who don’t know, Stacey, you’re gonna want to know her because Stacey’s background is in agile marketing. She’s an experienced marketer who’s very passionate about this. She’s a well known speaker blogger and from my understanding she’s helped quite a few companies find a better way to work. Stacy, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Stacey Ackerman: (00:54)
Sure. I am absolutely passionate about this. I worked for 15 years as a corporate marketer myself. And I understood some of the pain that marketers experience. And then I had the opportunity to work in the software world and to learn about agile and to be a ScrumMaster and be a coach, really be hands on and see what they were doing there. And I decided that it’s time for marketers to really learn this more efficient, more effective, more customer centric way to work. And so I’ve taken the best of both worlds and combine them together to be able to help marketers become more agile.

Kyle Hamer: (01:32)
That’s awesome. Now look for most people that, that don’t know, there’s a lot of conversation today, especially as organizations evolve and they get bigger, wanting to do more with less, um, on this topic of agile marketing. So the, the conversation is really timely, but there’s so much misinformation out there. Can you help us understand at the core what is agile marketing?

Stacey Ackerman: (01:55)
Yeah, absolutely. So first of all, I’m going to define to you agile in it. So a lot of people think agile is just a process and it’s just a way to work. But Agile elements also is really a mindset and it’s a change where we’re empowering people, we’re becoming more customer centric and we’re able to inspect and adapt quickly to changes in the world around us. So that’s being agile. Ah, but being agile alone in marketing often is what I would call it chaos mentality. So being an agile marketing practitioner, we add a little bit of, you know, practical tools to your tool belt to be able to do this effectively. And so it’s really about creating small micro campaigns that you can get [inaudible] quick feedback and then you can build an iterate upon that.

Kyle Hamer: (02:47)
Now you, you mentioned defining agile first. Where did, where did this thought of agile methodology, your thought process come from? I mean, I see thousands and of books on it, but where did it really originate from?

Stacey Ackerman: (03:02)
Yeah, well it really came about from a group of software developers and they had a problem, um, becoming closer to their customers and building the right software and working collaboratively with their business partners. And so the agile manifesto came about around 20 years ago and that has sort of been the gold standard for software teams. But what we’ve realized in recent years is that an agile transformation is an entire organization. And so when marketing teams aren’t on board, um, they’re kind of lagging behind. And so you’re seeing a lot of talk these days about business agility. It means the whole company is going to have a shared mindset, um, and that is centered around core values and principles. And most of those being, um, you know, we’re going to do what’s right for the customer, we’re going to value people, um, and we’re going to try and get things out there quickly and actually get real responses and iterate from there.

Kyle Hamer: (04:05)
So, you know, you talk about the, the methodology of agility and the, and the mindset of agility being 20 plus years old and it’s now really starting to have an impact on businesses. What types of changes should a business expect as they start to explore an agile? I mean, I know eventually we’ll hear get to this conversation today of, of marketers, but it’s really interesting to me how this impacts operations or finance or even customer success or service.

Stacey Ackerman: (04:37)
Yeah, absolutely. I think a couple of things have to change organizationally, um, at the highest level for it to be really impactful for a company. And um, a lot of that comes with trusting the team, trusting that people that are doing the work and being able to eliminate a lot of the red tape process that’s slowing teams down. Um, so once they can trust the people to do the work, um, it really helps, you know, open things up quite a bit for companies. And it’s also having the mindset that we can experiment and learn instead of always being right. And that’s a really difficult change for a lot of larger organizations that we plan and we plan and we plan and we can’t fail. And so with agile, we’re learning how to do small experiments and learn from them and adapt. And so it doesn’t matter if your software or your HR, what industry you’re in. This is a company mentality that ships, when we talk about agile,

Kyle Hamer: (05:41)
you know it’s, it’s really interesting to hear you talk about experiments and small campaigns or you know, the thought process of, of having a growth mindset. I read a book by Sean Ellis called hacking growth, where their whole methodology around how they help to Dropbox grow. And I can’t remember the other one. Was it a docusign a was kind of this, this process of small, short experiments to look for ways to have major impact on the customer at the end user, at, at the core. Is that a marketing function to do it that way or is that really an engineering function that’s creeping over into marketing and enforcing them to behave differently?

Stacey Ackerman: (06:23)
I think it’s, it’s a mentality for any department that they can use us. Whether it’s marketing, you know, when we’re talking about different types of work in marketing versus software, but the mindset is the same. So the mindset come and instead of spending six months to a year to two years planning the perfect execution, we’re gonna take some small risks and we’re going to get things to customers as quickly as we can. And then we’re going to, we’re going to learn from that. We’re gonna be able to build upon an idea based on real feedback. And that is the same mentality no matter what type of industry you’re talking about. I’m in marketing, we tend to be talking about campaigns or we might be talking about content. Um, but it, it really is the same. Um, it’s expensive for organizations to spend a whole lot of time planning without actually giving anything into the hands of customers. And the problem is, as organizations, we think we’re right, but we don’t know where, right? Until it’s actually out there in the wild. So that’s the mindset shift that we’re going to trust teams, we’re going to get things out as quickly as possible, and we’re going to learn from that and build upon that.

Kyle Hamer: (07:36)
So if you think about that and you think about, okay, well if I’m an organization who really wants to have my customer’s best interest at heart and I really want to be, uh, focused on the customer with my marketing, what are, what are the reasons why companies don’t switch to agile or haven’t explored agile marketing as a, as a core concept yet? What are some of the obstacles?

Stacey Ackerman: (08:00)
Yeah, I think, um, it really comes to the way the company’s organized. That’s a big obstacle. Um, if they are still organized in a very bureaucratic way, um, it becomes very difficult. So what happens when we transition to agile marketing is it may start with a team, um, and that team may gain some ground doing this. Um, but actually the organizational culture has to shift at the same time for them to really be able to benefit fully. And so, um, it, it becomes quite a project when you think about it that way. Um, and so getting up the leaders bought in is so key to this as well to make sure that, um, they’re going to lose their parts to make sure that the teams can learn and can experiment and they’re trusted to do that.

Kyle Hamer: (08:54)
That, that, that, that’s really interesting. So for an organization to take on an agile mindset, I might have an agile development shop where there’s decentralized decision making with check in points, but for it to move and become pervasive across the organization, there has to be a mindset shift for other leaders and other, whether it’s managers, executives or otherwise.

Stacey Ackerman: (09:18)
Absolutely. Absolutely. If the organization is looking for a full on transformation to benefit throughout that we call this business agility. Yeah. It absolutely has to, um, change. And, and what happens with this is a lot of things start changing, right? We start having to look differently at how we’re compensating managers and the how, um, the organization is structured and roles often change. So it becomes, um, you know, a big, a big undertaking. And that’s why a lot of companies bring in coaches like myself to help guide them through that. Who’ve been there and done that before. Um, because it is an organizational change, um, process as well as a different way for the team to work. So one of the biggest misconceptions I think I’m seeing out there is that, um, in a couple of days we’ll send a few people and we’ll train them and you know, our whole company will be agile and that it’s a process like a waterfall process and um, they’ll gain some benefits that way. But to really become an [inaudible] agile company, um, it’s, it’s a lot of, um, mindset shift and culture change in there.

Kyle Hamer: (10:33)
If you have a bureaucratic or a top down organization, you try and make that shift. What are some of the common obstacles that [inaudible] let you know? Let’s frame it from being a marketing leader. So I’m a marketing leader, I’m a sales leader and it’s like, Hey, I feel like we’re, we’re not reaching the customer as well as we should be. W W we need, uh, we need to ramp up our experimenting. Whether that’s because our competition is, is outpacing us or we seem to have lost touch with the market or whatever we’re doing today is just not working. Whatever’s feeding that shift. What are some of the mindset challenges or obstacles if, if you make up your mind, hey, I’m going to start doing this agile thing. What are some of the challenges you’re going to see from a, like a founder led or bureaucratic or a top down approach company as you try and make this shift where, where is the pain points going to be?

Stacey Ackerman: (11:22)
Yeah, well the biggest pain points that I see tends to come in with that middle management layer. So, so the executive is, might be like, great, this is an awesome idea. And the team’s on board, but a lot of times the middle management, it feels a little bit displaced or it doesn’t know what this means for them. And, um, so that’s where we’re coaching comes into play too. Um, and so this doesn’t mean we get rid of middle managers or there no job for them. What happens is they, they don’t direct the work of their team anymore. They are going to actually be leaders, they’re going to help their team develop the right skills and, um, be the best at their skillset. But this is a big change for a lot of that middle management. And so I’m just kind of working with them to make them understand that they’re not being displaced in this. It’s just how they manage it becomes more of a leadership role versus managing work role.

Kyle Hamer: (12:19)
Yes. So talk about that, expand upon that. I mean I think that’s, that’s a really interesting perspective in, you know, having been through a transformation, I would say, you know, middle of a transformation, probably not successfully completed, but having been through that, I can, I can definitely see how there is some, some of that fear, uncertainty and doubt. Where does that come from and how does a middle manager find the transition from managing tasks and outcomes to driving leadership through, through an agile process?

Stacey Ackerman: (12:51)
Yeah, that’s a really good question. Um, I think that there just has to be some trust, right? They have to be able to kind of let go a little bit and trust that they’ve hired good, smart people and it’s a security thing too. Um, they can still show a ton of value in the organization. Um, and that’s, that is what it is all about these days. We have to be value driven, um, by really becoming leaders of that discipline. So say they, um, manage a group of web designers, they’re gonna make sure that those web designers, you know, have the top match skills and that the, the training and that they’re there for support with them and their career. So it is a really valuable role. It’s just a different one and it takes some getting used to.

Kyle Hamer: (13:40)
So, you know, you, you talk about that. So let’s say I came from, I dunno, the copywriting department and we’ve moved to an agile process. What I have the ability to lead web developers or does there need to be a similar skillset for, for providing that, um, that leadership and in the new structure?

Stacey Ackerman: (14:03)
Yeah. So how, how it works, I’m on an agile team is really what, what comes down to, I’m a single marketing owner or product owner typically is the one, um, prioritizing the work of the team. Um, although that person often is not the manager of the team and we don’t necessarily want them to be the manager of the team because there can be conflicts there, but they’re the ones who sort of own the work or driving the work and they have a team of cross functional people that are working under them. Now, each of the cross functional people on the team may have a manager that is their hiring manager, their reporting manager. Typically they’re, they’re in this similar discipline as them. So, um, well the one deriving the work is not necessarily the hiring

Kyle Hamer: (14:52)
manager. Okay. I mean, th th that makes sense. So if we take a step back though, we talk about a, you could call it best practice or the right way to, to organize your department. If you’re a, an organization who has a product managers, some programs or campaign managers, and then you have like your own in house creative and development team, what’s the best way to, it’s a structure or shuffle those so that you’re getting the, the best outcome. I think you’ve touched on it a little bit, but I’d like you to expand a little bit further cause it’s really interesting to me.

Stacey Ackerman: (15:25)
Yeah. Yeah. So, um, if you have product management, um, I’m just gonna go from that. But perspective or product and marketing, you might be touching on a whole bunch of different pieces there, right? You may need, um, a creative content writer in there. He may need a web developer, you may need like graphic designer, et Cetera, right? You might need a whole bunch of people. So the best way to execute is relief from that, uh, business perspective. Like what are the business goals, um, we’re trying to achieve. And then looking that if you were doing this in a traditional hierarchy organization, who are all the people you’d be tapping into to get that work done? Um, so that, that’s on the product manager perspective. So if they need all those different people on a team or to get their work done, um, all of those people should come together and that would be a single agile team.

Kyle Hamer: (16:21)
So how do you do conflict resolution you have in marketing departments? There are a zillion different requests coming in from different, uh, different sides of the business. The, you know, the larger the organization, the more complex, the, the matrix of not only reporting but projects. Can it get done, come into a department, a product marketer has their, their things that they need me to work on them. And I’m a, I’m a graphic designer, but I also have the sales team that has things they need me to, to work on. How do, how do you resolve those conflicts in the work that I’m doing on a daily or weekly basis or through the sprints?

Stacey Ackerman: (16:59)
Well, the awesome thing is agile really streamlines this. And if we start even getting into scrum, um, that streamlines that even more. So, um, what happened? Say you’re a graphic designer, most of the time you are going to be, um, oh, an assigned team let’s say. And you may have a product owner there or marketing owner, they’re prioritizing all the work. Um, but the team does and it’s a team goal. So everything you work on should only come from the work of that backlog and on that team, um, occasionally there’s a, you know, resource sharing that happens. It’s definitely not ideal. Um, sometimes smaller companies do need to move someone like a graphic designer do have a few teams. Um, but ideally you are working on a single team on a single piece of work and supporting that, that backlog.

Kyle Hamer: (17:52)
That’s, that’s, that’s really interesting. So I, I think we need to say that again. If, if I’m a designer, I should only be on one team and that one team should have one person handing out the work and delegating that versus having being spread across like three or four teams and trying to juggle who’s, who’s gets the highest priority this week.

Stacey Ackerman: (18:16)
That is the beauty of this. You’ve hit on it. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s how it is. Streamline so much. We have a single prioritize backlog. One person owns that. They have all the people that execute it on their team. I mean, that’s the beauty of it. So when we set it up in different ways or, or try to organize the agile teams around current organization, sometimes we run into those problems. Like you said, where you’re still being pulled in a million directions and you’ve probably experienced this. It’s not good, right? It’s not effective when you’ve got a start stop. Um, and so this is the whole point of, um, really a scrum team. We’re talking more on scrum here where we have a single, um, single owner of the work that prioritizes it. Now that’s not to mean, um, they have the same everything. They’re probably working with several stakeholders throughout this process. Um, but at the end of the day, yes, they own it. So then what happens is no work really should be coming from anywhere else. The team works on that backlog. That’s how they’re able to focus. And that’s how they’re able to quickly execute and get things out in a timely manner.

Kyle Hamer: (19:25)
So, uh, again, this is, it’s novel to me cause I think that right there, at least for a lot of organizations in transition, seems to be an area where agile marketing would fail. If I have a multiple web designers or multiple graphic designers and multiple copywriters and I want to assign them across multiple projects for multiple teams because hey, we’re resource thin and we want to be able to get all of these things done, then let’s just assign the same resource across multiple, multiple projects or multiple owners and really don’t get a better outcome. And so they’re like agile marketing failed because we didn’t really give people the opportunity to, to focus in and optimize. Is that, is that a correct assessment?

Stacey Ackerman: (20:11)
Yeah, yeah, I believe so. Um, so yeah, the very best way is, is how I describe it, right? If you can be a full time dedicated person on a single team. Um, now the other way in which you could organize this, um, if you, your team, so your team was only graphic designers, you were a shared resource, you could do some sort of Kanban approach, um, which basically just means you have a work in progress limit. Um, you kind of go through tasks, but you, um, try to optimize your flow as the graphic designer team and you try not to get too much work in progress. That is another, that is a convent like of doing it. Um, so it, depending on how your organization is structured, but if it’s a bigger company, usually they do have, you know, enough people where they can put one graphic designer on one team.

Kyle Hamer: (21:02)
So I have experienced personally, yeah, I’ve experienced working with, with a Kanban board and I find that for, for the creative specifically, so your copywriters, your, your content specialists, your videographers, and even your, your web designer, your designers, there’s a strong challenge when you take a Kanban approach. Because I may only have two pieces or three pieces on the Kanban board that are work in progress. But the second that I assign it out to somebody to do review or I take the next step in the process, I pick up another project that’s in the backlog. But I don’t really create effectiveness or efficiency against that particular a piece of designed work or writing because I’m constantly moving back and forth between these projects. Is that really only ideal for folks that are like in transition or have you, or have you had experience where folks, where they really get that well and it just takes a specific type of creative to work well in that environment, which, which is it?

Stacey Ackerman: (22:01)
What it takes is the team being able to see where their processes stuck and have the authority to change that. So if you could just keep doing what you’re doing, nothing’s going to change, right? You’re gonna have to get something out for approval. It’s gonna sit there. So what you’re seeing is you’re, you’re looking at, um, where your flow is getting stuck. And a lot of times it’s in the approval phase. So that’s where the team kind of comes in and says, how can we get this so it is on stock. Maybe, you know, approvals have to come sooner in our workflow. Maybe there’s a way that we can have approvals come within our team. So different things like that where you have to start optimizing your flow.

Kyle Hamer: (22:44)
Well it’s, it’s, it’s interesting though because I think you touched on this at the very beginning. If you don’t trust, then you’re going to become bogged down with approvals and workflows that are going to slow your, so the velocity of your projects, right? I mean you’re, you’re still technically operating in like a stage gate or a waterfall type process with too many approvals. So a lack of trust leads to a lack of agility.

Stacey Ackerman: (23:09)
I absolutely, absolutely. That is why this becomes a whole organizational agile transformation and it is a culture change. So the team, um, if they don’t have the authority over their own process or how they work, um, they are going to have huge success with it. They might have a little bit right. They usually think that they might make some marginal gains. Um, but it really has to be where the organization trusts the team. Um, we can get rid of some of those things that are clogging the process up. Right. Um, because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to optimize, um, when we’re talking Combo and you’re trying to optimize flow through the system and getting things out to customers as quickly as possible. And so the whole point of that is that the team is continuously reevaluating how they work and making changes. If you just put up a board and just keep doing things, how are you doing it? Yeah. You’re not gonna see a whole lot of change.

Kyle Hamer: (24:08)
Again, having experienced that, uh, I think somebody should just beat me with the board and not, uh, not actually put it up. No. Now look, I’ve also been part of groups that are like, Hey, look, you know, we’re going to do, we’re going to try agile. We’re going to try it on for size. We’re going to see if it works. We’re going to put a, we’re going to put a little tiger team or a small team against them, we’re going to let them go. Agile. Does that work?

Stacey Ackerman: (24:33)
I think it works if you can learn from it. Yeah. And it’s a good approach because you don’t want to just say, okay, we’re going to go agile and we’re going to completely blow up the company right away. Um, so, so I do very much recommend a small pilot team, but to do it the right way. And by that I mean, um, you know, if you’re gonna implement scrum versus Kanban, that you have a single prioritize backlog, a single owner of that back. Like you have a cross functional team that can get most of the work done. And here’s the biggest caveat. The team is 100% dedicated to the team, um, where it’s males are, we don’t really see the benefits is when they say, okay, you’re going to do your normal day job and then we’re gonna put you on a scrum team and we’re gonna test the Scrim team, but we’re not going to take away any of your other duties. And you’re going to be responsible for this backlog. That doesn’t work very well to pilot it. You really need to, to change and to do something totally different. Um, but what happens is that as successful, the rest of the organization usually gets really excited and oh my gosh, how are they kidding? I think getting stuff out there so fast. Um, and it’s really cool and awesome and the people doing the work are very empowered and they really love it.

Kyle Hamer: (25:48)
So again, there’s some, there’s a few caveats there, right? I mean, cause it all starts with trust and, and having the right people applied to it. If you don’t trust who’s working on it or the work that they’re going to produce or what they’re going to put out, then it’s not gonna matter what they’re putting out. If it’s a bunch of junk. Right. It’s, it may be just as damaging as, as good for the production capability.

Stacey Ackerman: (26:11)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean in this would be whether you’re agile or not, you should trust the people that you hired to do that.

Kyle Hamer: (26:18)
Yeah. That’s a, that’s a culture thing that sometimes I don’t think you can fix. Right?

Stacey Ackerman: (26:24)
Yeah. Well, and that is why, um, as coaches, sometimes we’re spending years with clients on an agile transformation. So it’s not typically a quick fix, especially the more bureaucratic that organization is. Um, but you know what, it also is something that small changes are the way to start and experimentation and that’s what agile is all about. And so if the company can say, you know what, I’m willing to take, you know, five or six people and I’m going to trust them and I’m gonna let them kind of work in a completely new and different way, um, and show us what they learned in three months or six months. Um, that’s, that’s awesome because then that feeds into it. What else will happen is the team can say, here are the problems we were experiencing in the organization and what culturally needs to change before we put more teams up on this. And so a lot of those things become really identified when you run a pilot.

Kyle Hamer: (27:19)
It’s a, it’s really, really interesting to hear you say that now. There is a, there is a myth out there that I believe, um, we, we really need to address because what I hear a lot today is, is the reason I want to go to agile marketing is so that I can do more with less. Is that really what’s going to happen if I go to agile marketing in and take on this agile process? Will I be able to do more with less?

Stacey Ackerman: (27:47)
Yeah. I, I do think that is a myth because what we’re not trying to do is, um, just say to our teams here, produce more, produce more, produce more. We want more output. Right? Um, we want to not do that to our team. What’s going to happen instead is you are going to get value out quicker. Um, but it doesn’t necessarily mean more. So what you’re doing is instead of, um, say you’ve done a campaign that normally take six months, you’re taking just a piece of that campaign, you might get it out in a week, um, and then you’re able to build upon that because you learned something or you figure out what you’re not gonna do. Um, as well, but what the real point is, is to get closer to your customers to really produce better marketing. Um, not necessarily more marketing.

Kyle Hamer: (28:39)
So at the end of the day, this is all about getting closer to the, to the customer, not necessarily operational efficiency. That’s a nice byproduct.

Stacey Ackerman: (28:48)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think, I think you do see operational efficiency in it. Absolutely. Um, but yeah, it is really about customer centricity and being able to get things to market that your customers want. Because what happens in traditional marketing, we sit and we’re like, we’re gonna write a five year marketing plan and we know exactly what they want. And our company goal is to make x dollars. And we tend to become so intrinsically focused that by the time the marketing gets out there, it’s either one irrelevant, the customer wanted it, it’s too slow with too late. Right. Um, and it doesn’t work. Like that’s an antiquated process. We’re in this, you know, social media world and instant messaging where we have to be quicker and we have to be able to um, learn and we have to accept that we, you can maybe spend a week or two getting marketing out there. That was, that was the greatest thing. And realize we have to pivot cause it’s wrong. But guess what, you learned that in a few weeks, not, not a few years.

Kyle Hamer: (29:49)
You know, it’s, it’s interesting cause I think one of the things you hit on that, that a lot of organizations don’t necessarily fully appreciate and I don’t want you to talk, talk about it in just a minute, but there’s a, there appears to be a difference between lean six sigma and kind of this manufacturing optimization of process versus the process of failing often failing hard, failing fast so that you can learn about what’s important to your customer and getting closer to them so that you’re more successful. [inaudible] is that a right assumption that there’s, there’s a difference there. It’s nuanced, but that there is a difference there between just being efficient for efficiency’s sake versus focusing on your customer and, and, and the things that you’re producing and how you’re getting stuff out the door.

Stacey Ackerman: (30:33)
Yeah, absolutely. Now, lean six sigma, I mean they’re, they’re lean marketing and a lot of the, the principles and values we kind of tie into agile marketing is, it’s like get rid of waste in here, in your process basically is what that says, right? Don’t do things you shouldn’t do. Um, Agile Bell, you say the same thing. Um, but, but that’s kind of like as far as that goes. Um, when we get into, you know, agile marketing, we’re really also saying let’s do what’s best for our customer and let’s be customer centric. Um, so it’s both. It’s let’s get a, let’s get rid of the crap in her who companies process so we can get stuff to customers faster and add more value.

Kyle Hamer: (31:13)
So what, what does an organization do if they say, Hey, I’m going to be agile. They launch agile and they get less out the door and they seem to be further from their customer and there’s not clarity in what their daily projects are. What, what, what should they do? How should they diagnose? How should they move forward?

Stacey Ackerman: (31:34)
So if I see a problem like that, that probably tells me there’s some misalignment in the company of strategy to begin with. And what happened sometimes when we work in agile is the problems were already there in the organization. They just become more obvious. Um, so I think it really comes back to making sure you’re aligned sort of on what is your strategy, what is your goal? Right? Um, we, we don’t just want to give a teamwork and like throw stuff out the door, right? It’s still, the team is working with some, um, higher level objectives. They should have a vision, goals roadmap that they’re going off of. So we’re not just saying throw a team and let them just, you know, throw marketing out the door. Um, so, so it would make me think that that higher level marketing strategy maybe needs to be honed in on a bit. Um, and, and also then realize like this, that takes time as well, right? It’s not, um, something that teams learn immediately. Um, it’s gonna take some time to refine and work through and become the best agile team that they can be.

Kyle Hamer: (32:47)
Hmm. Sorry, I just needed it. I needed to think about that for a minute because as I, as I, as I ponder that in the situations that we’ve been in, in the past, it really feels like agile marketing is more often than not adopted for efficiency. So, hey, we feel like we have waste in our marketing department and let’s go agile so we can do more with less. Let’s make sure that the approvals and middle management have the power that they need to ensure that the scrum or the daily projects are, are managed because they’re not feeling or they’re concerned about their value. And you know, ultimately the organization may or may not be found or led. So we’ve got to get the authority or approvals from the top down. When you think about adopting an agile marketing or an agile methodology and that type of environment, the ecosystem for success becomes a very challenging and very demotivating to, to the team members where, where our sources of truth for somebody who’s maybe stuck in that situation to find a ways to suggest to the organization how they could behave differently or ways to suggest or, or improve their process, dismiss law, not the lies, but this missed the myths that are, that are maybe being held as ah, backs inside their organization to help them get through that, that roadblock or that stop gap or the, the, the stoppage in finding the agility bliss inside their marketing organization.

Stacey Ackerman: (34:25)
Yeah, I think, um, the one thing that that’s really helpful too is if the leaders attend training with their team or, um, the attended the agile leadership class will that they realize they have a piece in this transformation as well. Um, so I think that’s one of the misconception is that the leaders want it, but they want to do everything the same and they’re going to pass it off to the team. And you guys go work in agile. Um, so it’s really important that they understand that their role may change and how they might not direct work, but they’re going to motivate the team. And also, um, making sure that there is alignment on strategy at a higher level than the team level. So a lot of times what I suggest there is a like a collaborative quarterly planning where you do some roadmap planning and you get alignment on what does this work, what are these goals we’re trying to do, but that that becomes a flexible plan. Um, that changes as you learn. But at least you have, um, kind of a road map in which you are working off of. And everybody’s aligned. Um, some of the bigger rocks that gets that managers somewhat out of the weeds of the,

Kyle Hamer: (35:38)
that’s awesome. So if I were to summarize agile marketing, agile marketing started 20 years ago when written by the agile manifesto by a bunch of engineers or software developers that has turned into a process built on organizational transformation with a foundation of trust, uh, and, and team leaning into one another when done right. The middle management will move from managing tasks and outcomes to leading folks to success and closer to their customer. Does that summarize agile marketing up pretty well?

Stacey Ackerman: (36:16)
Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s great. Now as a marketing has not been around 20 years. Agilent support has been around 20 years. Agile marketing about 10 years probably. But it’s really, it’s, I would say it’s still in its early adapter for you for sure. Um, but yes, I like how you sum that up, that uh, that’s all the nuts and bolts.

Kyle Hamer: (36:36)
That’s awesome. Well, Stacey, I really appreciate you taking time today to be on the show and share with this, uh, agile marketing. Help us debunk a few of the myths, give us an understanding of what the foundation is and what the core elements are. If somebody has questions or wants to understand agile marketing better.

Stacey Ackerman: (36:56)

Kyle Hamer: (36:56)
Tell us a little bit about what you have coming up, stuff that you’re doing with, uh, Jillify coaching and training as well as how they can get in contact with you.

Stacey Ackerman: (37:05)
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I have some certified agile marketing classes coming up. These are two day workshops and they get you everything you need to know about Agile scrum camp on how to apply it to your marketing team, the agile principles and values. Um, so that it’s coming to Raleigh, North Carolina, Minneapolis, and New York City this fall. Um, I also do those privately at companies as well. If you have a team that would like to be trained, you can find out more on my

Kyle Hamer: (37:37)
Awesome. Well, and we’ll have that posted a on our website as well as in the blog description. So if people are in a blog, the podcast description, so if people are looking for a way to get contact, you can, if, um, if they can’t find your website, they can probably find you a cruise around on linkedin. It’s, uh, Stacey Ackerman and a Jillify, a, g. I. L. I. F. Y. And if you type that in, Stacey with an e, right? That’s right. They’ll find Ya. Well, thank you again so much for being here today. It’s been our pleasure. Thanks for having me do a lot of fun. It’s a lot of fun. I’ll look forward to getting into the next, the next level, which is either a, setting up a department for success or B, how to launch a product with agile training or agile marketing. Cause I think those things, right there are where the rubber meets the is, how to set it up and how to actually get a product out the door.

Stacey Ackerman
Stacey AckermanAgile Marketing Consultant
As an agile practitioner and journalist, I get to combine two of my favorite passions—writing and agile! Watch for her bi-monthly articles on agile marketing with MarTech Today.