In this episode of the Marketing Agility Podcast Frank Days and I interview Ian Bruce, about his experience with Agile Marketing at Intralinks and previously at Avid Technologies. Ian brings a broad range of experience with Agile to the conversation having worked on a product for highly creative users (Avid) and now for one empowering business users. What connects these companies is their particular focus on facilitating collaboration for end users. Ian shares insights about how helping customers collaborate informed his approach to Agile—as a collaboration framework— within his team.
If you’ve been listening to some of these podcasts and think you could contribute to the dialogue we’d love to hear from you. Please reach out!
A/B testing is not a new topic, but this week I heard a great podcast from Planet Money on the topic that speaks to how broadly the practice is being used. In this show they discuss the A/B testing of everything from headlines to audio based podcasts but—more interesting than that— there is an example that speaks to how A/B testing is being implemented in the context of physical retail environments.
The podcast features Laura Shoe of Bucketfeet, who talks about how 6 video cameras in her store capture browsing and behavior. Though the technology being used is not mentioned, it’s probably something like Prism Skylabs. Solutions like this can help retailers test volume of traffic, how long users engage with elements of the store, and what paths they take through a retail environment.
If this is something that you have experience with or that you’ve done we’d be thrilled to have you share your story on the Marketing Agility Podcast! In the meantime, here’s the Planet Money episode:
Ok, and just cause:
Frank Days and I recorded another Marketing Agility Podcast this week, this time with Mike McKinnon. I met Mike while he was running marketing operations at ReadyTalk (fair disclosure: they are an Oracle Marketing Cloud partner) and we connected over what it takes to implement Agile in the marketing context. As it turns out, his story was so compelling and representative that I had to include it in The Agile Marketer as a case study. I’ll share an excerpt of that case study below.
The podcast follows Mike to Avaya where he continues to use the Oracle Marketing Cloud and is once again working on establishing an Agile practice. In our conversation we touch on a recent article from CMO.com entitled: Mohanbir Sawhney: Why marketers are still struggling to adopt Agile. In this piece Sawhney, the McCormick Tribune Professor of Technology at the Kellogg School of Management, talks about the unique challenges of making Agile work within the enterprise. It’s a good backdrop for this conversation because of Mike’s move from a startup to a 12,000+ person company.
Here’s our most recent podcast with Mike:
And, an excerpt from the case study in my book:
ReadyTalk started implementing Agile to address common challenges, such as poor coordination (owing to organizational silos), a lack of strategic focus (due to insufficient transparency), and a reactive posture (the result of constantly shifting priorities). Like most marketers who adopt Agile, they discover that it cannot only be interpreted for the marketing context; it must also be tailored to the organization.
As ReadyTalk has grown from 20 employees to more than 200, the company has used Agile not only to manage its marketing programs, but also to iterate on the process itself. This continuous improvement has brought ReadyTalk through more than 10 iterations of Agile methods including both Scrum and Kanban.
Like many pioneers of Agile marketing, ReadyTalk started with Scrum. Five years ago, few marketers were using Kanban, and most of the guidance from development organizations was based on Scrum. ReadyTalk discovered, however, that Scrum was too process-intensive and complex; two-week sprints were not always a good fit for their programs. So Mike led his team towards the less prescriptive end of the spectrum and tried Kanban before eventually iterating to a hybrid method known as Scrumban. This hybrid incorporates elements of Kanban, such as limits to the number of items being worked on (work-in-process), alongside elements of Scrum, such as cross-functional teams. Interestingly, after gaining experience with Kanban, Mike’s team was more able to embrace some of the more prescriptive elements of Scrum.
A big part of Mike’s success with Agile has to do with keeping the marketing Scrum aligned with the product group’s Scrum. They’ve achieved this through the physical proximity of their Scrum meetings and their Kanban boards. They’ve also embedded Scrum participants throughout the organization.
Last week I had the pleasure of joining Frank Days as the new co-host of the Marketing Agility Podcast (subscribe on iTunes). The podcast was actually started a while back but hadn’t been updated in awhile—so I reached out to Frank to see if he’d be interested in revitalizing it with my help. With my book coming out in a few months it also seemed like a great opportunity to showcase some of the marketers I interviewed for the book. In the coming months you can expect to hear from some very smart marketers on the podcast and we also plan on checking back in with some of the folks that participated in the early episodes.
My inaugural episode features Richard Delahaye, director of marketing at Intronis, about his experience implementing Agile (Intronis was recently acquired by Barracuda Networks). Richard is an example of how technically oriented practitioners are being pulled into marketing. This makes sense because marketing is increasingly technical but also because Agile is more commonly practiced in technical organizations.
Richard ss a former web developer he happily tries to embrace the idea that “you don’t know anything without data to support it.” He shares insights about how and where Agile has succeeded and failed in his group, how the acquisition if Intonis impacted his practice, and how Agile integrates with his planning practice. In the conversation, I also refer to a 2014 interview with Richard in Openview Labs which serves as a backdrop for where Richard’s practice was about a year earlier. Here’s the podcast … but I encourage you to subscribe on iTunes.
Moving forward, I’ll likely continue making short posts about episodes but you can also find brief summaries at http://www.agilemarketingblog.com/.
If you’re a regular reader you probably know by now that I’m looking forward to the release of my forthcoming book The Agile Marketer: Turning Customer Experience Into Your Competitive Advantage. It’s not out till February but you can pre-order it on Amazon today.
In the meantime, I’d recommend subscribing to The Marketing Agility Podcast. I was recently a guest on the show and I’m looking forward to joining forces with Frank Days to produce the next series of episodes. We plan on speaking with some of the marketers featured in my book but also a host of other marketing leaders who are adapting Agile for marketing. Listen to the episode now:
If you’re interested in being a guest on the show we’d be thrilled to hear from you. Comment on this post or send me a tweet.